Land Use Regulation in an Age of Limits: A suggested alternative to current path-dependent policy approaches

Dr Paul McFarland1

1University Of New England, Armidale, Australia


Land is a finite resource. All land does not contain the same intrinsic qualities. The supply of high quality productive land with reliable supplies of natural resources is severely limited. The Age of Limits is characterised by limits to resource consumption and unsustainable resource consumption and resultant emissions. Neo-classical economics views land much differently. Modern economies continue to consider ecosystem services and land as dependent on human wants and activities. Generally, the uses of land are regulated by laws that describe the manner in which land can be used. The evolution of general landuse policy and practice has developed from a series of decisions occurring with different levels of knowledge and within varying social and political perspectives, norms and agendas. Contemporary approaches to land use largely ignore externalities in land use change. The analysis of contemporary land use planning in Australia, for example, demonstrates the manner in which land use planning has been subsumed into the political and economic process. This paper suggests a transformative process for land use planning policy whereby social and environmental aspects are re-balanced.


Paul McFarland PhD(UNE), Grad Cert(Higher Ed)(UNE), BMgt(Farm Bus)(Hons)(Syd), BAppSc(Env Plg)(CSU), RPIA(Fellow), MIAG is a lecturer in and Course Co-ordinator of the Urban & Regional Planning programmes at the University of New England. His teaching and research interests are in regulatory planning, with particular focus on peri-urban land use. Paul is currently Honorary treasurer of the IAG and a member of the NSW Planning Institute of Australia Committee.

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