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Reviewed by:
  • Land Ownership and Land Use Development: The Integration of Past, Present, and Future in Spatial Planning and Land Management Policies by Erwin Hepperle, et al.
  • Eduardo Oliveira (bio)
Erwin Hepperle, Robert Dixon-Gough, Reinfried Mansberger, Jenny Paulsson, Józef Hernik and Thomas Kalbro. Editors. 2017. Zürich, Switzerland, vdf Hochschulverlag AG an der ETH Zürich. 371 pages. Print ISBN: 978-3-7281-3803-3, eBook ISBN: 978-3-7281-3804-0 (open access).

Land Ownership and Land Use Development promises an interdisciplinary and empirically-based approach to the husbandry use, management, modeling, and planning of land. The book brings together peer-reviewed papers presented at two symposia (2014 and 2015) of the European Academy of Land Use and Development. The open access Portable Document Format download is organized in four general themes reflecting the multidisciplinary nature of land change science: (1) key terms in land, from land governance to land use planning; (2) decision-making processes, from urban development to flood risk management; (3) land pattern changes, from data modeling to land and property rights; and (4) future evolution in land policies, from strategies for developing building land to a combination of ecological and sociocultural sustainability.

Within an environment highly characterized by land as a scarce resource, whether in urban or rural areas, the book recognizes to a significant extent that it is the responsibility of all who work in the many disciplines relating to land that this threatened resource is used in the most responsible, smart, and effective way. This is a preoccupation in line with recent literature on land change. Verburg et al. (2015), for instance, claims that land use change has been identified as a major driver of global and regional environmental change. Rounsevell et al. (2012) asserts that the studies on this topic have gradually advanced from a focus on patterns of land use and land cover change to an analysis of dynamic interactions within socioecological systems and the resulting impacts on, for example, ecosystem services and biodiversity. Bürgi et al. (2014) highlight that land change is understood to be the result of interacting political, economic, cultural, technological, natural and spatial driving forces, and the respective actors. These statements are reinforced in the book as the editors argue that governance, policy, management, administration, development, and planning are concepts related to the study of land. Turner II et al. (2013) pinpoint that the competition for land resources and the services provided by the land are increasingly studied as dynamic in response to the high demands of a growing population under a changing climate.

As it would be beyond the scope of this review to detail each paper, I have instead engaged with those papers in each part which contributes the most to land change science scholarship. The first paper, “Land Governance” (pp. 13–24), is valuable to students and researchers in the spatial and landscape planning fields as it proposes a number of short definitions of pivotal concepts in the study of land, such as land governance, land policy, land use management, and land use planning. This definitional set is valuable to guide readers throughout the rest of the book. In addition, having such definitions is paramount today as land-oriented studies are increasingly interested in designing sustainable land transformations and novel land systems to promote land governance as a facilitator of collectively constructed global sustainability solutions (Frank & Marsden, 2016).

In the first paper, land governance is defined as “the government’s complex task to guide, overlook and steer the land sector by creation of action space for promoted activities” (p. 22). The fourth paper on “Who governs?” (pp. 49–65) continues to promote the concept of land governance by exploring “how the systems dealing with nature and cultural environment conservation, on the one hand, and spatial planning, on the other, work together in Norway” (p. 49). This paper is anchored in the need “to coordinate landscape protection with spatial planning” (p. 63) while acknowledging that such coordination between multiple tiers of government is challenging in the Norwegian planning system. The paper draws...


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pp. 119-121
Launched on MUSE
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