Land Use and Society

Geography, Law, and Public Policy

  • Rutherford H. Platt

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Introduction

  3. Preliminaries: Land, Geography, and Law

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 11-11
    2. Rutherford H. Platt
      Pages 13-39
  4. From Feudalism to Federalism: The Social Organization of Land Use

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 65-65
    2. Rutherford H. Platt
      Pages 67-93
    3. Rutherford H. Platt
      Pages 95-118
    4. Rutherford H. Platt
      Pages 119-147
  5. Discordant Voices: The Land Use Decision Process

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 149-149
    2. Rutherford H. Platt
      Pages 151-172
    3. Rutherford H. Platt
      Pages 173-190
    4. Rutherford H. Platt
      Pages 191-212
    5. Rutherford H. Platt
      Pages 213-235
    6. Rutherford H. Platt
      Pages 237-263
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 265-305

About this book


The intersection between geography and law is a critical yet often overlooked element of land-use decisions, with a widespread impact on how societies use the land, water, and biodiversity around them. Land Use and Society, Third Edition is a clear and compelling guide to the role of law in shaping patterns of land use and environmental management. Originally published in 1996 and revised in 2004, this third edition has been updated with data from the 2010 U.S. Census and revised with the input of academics and professors to address the changing issues in land use, policy, and law today.

Land Use and Society, Third Edition retains the historical approach of the original text while providing a more concise and topical survey of the evolution of urban land use regulation, from Europe in the Middle Ages through the present day United States. Rutherford Platt examines the “nuts and bolts” of land use decision-making in the present day and analyzes key players, including private landowners, local and national governments, and the courts. This third edition is enhanced by a discussion of the current trends and issues in land use, from urban renewal and demographic shifts in cities to the growing influence of local governance in land use management.

Land Use and Society, Third Edition is a vital resource for any student seeking to understand the intersection between law, politics, and the natural world. While Platt examines specific rules, doctrines, and practices from an American context, an understanding of the role of law in shaping land use decisions will prove vital for students, policymakers, and land use managers around the world.


Land use management Law Policy Urban planning

Authors and affiliations

  • Rutherford H. Platt
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeosciencesUniversity of MassachusettsAmherstUSA

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