Ethical Land Use: Principles of Policy and Planning

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That land is a community is the basic concept of ecology , wrote Aldo Leopold in 1933, but that land is to be loved and respected is an extension of ethics . Since then, every generation has taken up Leopold's search for a land ethic to guide decision-making which would balance economic considerations with concerns for beauty, sustainability and quality-of-life. Should a community preserve or develop the remaining wetlands within its jurisdiction? Should a local government allow low-income housing to be built in an affluent neighbourhood? Does a farmer continue farming despite surrounding urbanization or does he sell the land for a profit and allow further development? Ethical Land Use is an examination of the ethical dimensions of land use decisions and policy. Its premise is that all land use decisions - whether to build an interstate highway or maintain a suburban lawn with chemical fertilizers - invariably involve ethical choices. Historically, Beatley observes, many such decisions were made on narrow legal, technical or economic grounds rather than on a full consideration of their complex ethical and moral dimensions. Drawing on a combination of actual land use conflicts and hypothetical scenarios, Beatley offers a full description and analysis of the difficult issues faced by policymakers as well as individual citizens.