Land Use Planning Topics
References that have links are freely available on the internet.
Foley, J. A., DeFries, R., Asner, G. P., Barford, C., Bonan, G., Carpenter, S. R., ... & Helkowski, J. H. (2005). Global consequences of land use. Science, 309(5734), 570-574.
Land use has generally been considered a local environmental issue, but it is becoming a force of global importance. Worldwide changes to forests, farmlands, waterways, and air are being driven by the need to provide food, fiber, water, and shelter to more than six billion people. Global croplands, pastures, plantations, and urban areas have expanded in recent decades, accompanied by large increases in energy, water, and fertilizer consumption, along with considerable losses of biodiversity. Such changes in land use have enabled humans to appropriate an increasing share of the planet's resources, but they also potentially undermine the capacity of ecosystems to sustain food production, maintain freshwater and forest resources, regulate climate and air quality, and ameliorate infectious diseases. We face the challenge of managing trade-offs between immediate human needs and maintaining the capacity of the biosphere to provide goods and services in the long term.
Giampietro, M., Aspinall, R. J., Ramos-Martin, J., & Bukkens, S. G. (Eds.). (2014). Resource accounting for sustainability assessment: The nexus between energy, food, water and land use. Routledge.
Goldstein, J. H., Caldarone, G., Duarte, T. K., Ennaanay, D., Hannahs, N., Mendoza, G., ... & Daily, G. C. (2012). Integrating ecosystem-service tradeoffs into land-use decisions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109(19), 7565-7570.
Recent high-profile efforts have called for integrating ecosystem-service values into important societal decisions, but there are few demonstrations of this approach in practice. We quantified ecosystem-service values to help the largest private landowner in Hawaii, Kamehameha Schools, design a land-use development plan that balances multiple private and public values on its North Shore land holdings (Island of O’ahu) of ∼10,600 ha. We used the InVEST software tool to evaluate the environmental and financial implications of seven planning scenarios encompassing contrasting land-use combinations including biofuel feedstocks, food crops, forestry, livestock, and residential development. All scenarios had positive financial return relative to the status quo of negative return. However, tradeoffs existed between carbon storage and water quality as well as between environmental improvement and financial return. Based on this analysis and community input, Kamehameha Schools is implementing a plan to support diversified agriculture and forestry. This plan generates a positive financial return ($10.9 million) and improved carbon storage (0.5% increase relative to status quo) with negative relative effects on water quality (15.4% increase in potential nitrogen export relative to status quo). The effects on water quality could be mitigated partially (reduced to a 4.9% increase in potential nitrogen export) by establishing vegetation buffers on agricultural fields. This plan contributes to policy goals for climate change mitigation, food security, and diversifying rural economic opportunities. More broadly, our approach illustrates how information can help guide local land-use decisions that involve tradeoffs between private and public interests.
Hernandez, R.R., Hoffacker, M.K., & Field, C.B. (2015). Efficient use of land to meet sustainable energy needs. Nature Climate Change, 5, 353-358.
The deployment of renewable energy systems, such as solar energy, to achieve universal access to electricity, heat and transportation, and to mitigate climate change is arguably the most exigent challenge facing humans todal. However, the goal of rapidly developing solar energy systems is complicated by land and environmental constraints, increasing uncertainty about the future of the global energy landscape. Here, we test the hypothesis that land, energy and environmental compatibility can be achieved with small- and utility-scale solar energy within existing developed areas in the state of California (USA), a global solar energy hotspot. We found that the quantity of accessible energy potentially produced from photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP) within the built environment (‘compatible’) exceeds current statewide demand. We identify additional sites beyond the built environment (‘potentially compatible’) that further augment this potential. Areas for small- and utility-scale solar energy development within the built environment comprise 11,000–15,000 and 6,000 TWh yr−1 of PV and CSP generation-based potential, respectively, and could meet the state of California’s energy consumptive demand three to five times over. Solar energy within the built environment may be an overlooked opportunity for meeting sustainable energy needs in places with land and environmental constraints.
Lambin, E. F., & Meyfroidt, P. (2011). Global land use change, economic globalization, and the looming land scarcity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(9), 3465-3472.
A central challenge for sustainability is how to preserve forest ecosystems and the services that they provide us while enhancing food production. This challenge for developing countries confronts the force of economic globalization, which seeks cropland that is shrinking in availability and triggers deforestation. Four mechanisms—the displacement, rebound, cascade, and remittance effects—that are amplified by economic globalization accelerate land conversion. A few developing countries have managed a land use transition over the recent decades that simultaneously increased their forest cover and agricultural production. These countries have relied on various mixes of agricultural intensification, land use zoning, forest protection, increased reliance on imported food and wood products, the creation of off-farm jobs, foreign capital investments, and remittances. Sound policies and innovations can therefore reconcile forest preservation with food production. Globalization can be harnessed to increase land use efficiency rather than leading to uncontrolled land use expansion. To do so, land systems should be understood and modeled as open systems with large flows of goods, people, and capital that connect local land use with global-scale factors.
Lovell, S. T. (2010). Multifunctional urban agriculture for sustainable land use planning in the United States. Sustainability, 2(8), 2499-2522.
Urban agriculture offers an alternative land use for integrating multiple functions in densely populated areas. While urban agriculture has historically been an important element of cities in many developing countries, recent concerns about economic and food security have resulted in a growing movement to produce food in cities of developed countries including the United States. In these regions, urban agriculture offers a new frontier for land use planners and landscape designers to become involved in the development and transformation of cities to support community farms, allotment gardens, rooftop gardening, edible landscaping, urban forests, and other productive features of the urban environment. Despite the growing interest in urban agriculture, urban planners and landscape designers are often ill-equipped to integrate food-systems thinking into future plans for cities. The challenge (and opportunity) is to design urban agriculture spaces to be multifunctional, matching the specific needs and preferences of local residents, while also protecting the environment. This paper provides a review of the literature on urban agriculture as it applies to land use planning in the United States. The background includes a brief historical perspective of urban agriculture around the world, as well as more recent examples in the United States. Land use applications are considered for multiple scales, from efforts that consider an entire city, to those that impact a single building or garden. Barriers and constraints to urban agriculture are discussed, followed by research opportunities and methodological approaches that might be used to address them. This work has implications for urban planners, landscape designers, and extension agents, as opportunities to integrate urban agriculture into the fabric of our cities expand.
Meyfroidt, P., Lambin, E. F., Erb, K. H., & Hertel, T. W. (2013). Globalization of land use: distant drivers of land change and geographic displacement of land use. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 5(5), 438-444.
Several streams of research have recently converged to identify the growing importance of distant drivers of land change, interconnections between social-ecological systems that are separated geographically, and the indirect consequences of land use changes. Local to national-scale interventions to promote sustainable land use may have unintended effects owing to a displacement of land use within and across countries. Such leakage or ‘indirect land use change’ critically depends on international geographies of trade. Computing various material flows and environmental indicators embodied in international trade highlights the differences between producer and consumer-based biophysical accounting. Causal attribution of the links between material and monetary flows across countries, and actual land changes and environmental impacts at local level requires a combination of economic simulation models, statistical studies, place-based empirical studies, value chain analyses, and biophysical accounting.
Pérez-Soba, M., Petit, S., Jones, L., Bertrand, N., Briquel, V., Omodei-Zorini, L., ... & Wascher, D. (2008). Land use functions—a multifunctionality approach to assess the impact of land use changes on land use sustainability. In Sustainability Impact Assessment of Land Use Changes (pp. 375-404). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
The dramatic changes in land use observed in Europe in the last fifty years have generally resulted in improvement of human welfare and economic development. On the other hand, they have caused serious environmental problems. There is therefore a need for approaches that help to understand in an integrative way the economic, environmental and societal impacts that land use changes have on sustainability. Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA), which assesses the impact of policies on sustainability, addresses this challenge. SIA partly builds on the concept of the multifunctionality of land which helps to deal with the complexity of interactions between different land uses, their temporal and spatial changes, and finally how policies might steer those changes towards sustainability. Following this need for true integration of economic, environmental and societal issues across policy areas at a meaningful spatial scale, an interdisciplinary team in the SENSOR project has developed an innovative conceptual framework to assess the impact of policies on land sustainability at various levels of spatial aggregation i.e. the Land Use Functions (LUFs) framework. LUFs are the goods and services provided by the different land uses that summarise the most relevant economic, environmental and societal issues of a region. The LUFs framework integrates the changes observed in a large set of impact indicators into nine Land Use Functions (LUFs), which are balanced among the three pillars of sustainability. The LUFs framework makes it possible for policy makers, scientists and stakeholders to identify at a glance those functions of the land which are hindered or enhanced under various scenarios of land use change, and makes it possible to explore the trade-offs between them. The LUFs framework allows therefore the building of assessment across disciplines, sectors and the three sustainability dimensions. It has proved to be very helpful for the systematisation of relevant sustainability indicators within SENSOR and is intended to be further used in other projects as a tool for Sustainability Impact Assessment. The rationale leading to the LUFs concept, its definition and the conceptual framework is described in this chapter. We conclude that the concept of LUFs allows users to make explicit the analytical links between multifunctional land use and sustainable development, and therefore to look at multifunctionality as a way towards sustainability.
Renetzeder, C., Schindler, S., Peterseil, J., Prinz, M. A., Mücher, S., & Wrbka, T. (2010). Can we measure ecological sustainability? Landscape pattern as an indicator for naturalness and land use intensity at regional, national and European level. Ecological Indicators, 10(1), 39-48.
European landscapes have been shaped over the centuries by processes related to human land use, which are reflected in regionally distinct landscape patterns. Since landscape pattern has been linked to biodiversity and other ecological values of the landscapes, this paper explores landscape pattern as a tool for ecological sustainability assessments at the regional (Austrian Cultural Landscapes), national (Austria) and European (European Union + Norway, Switzerland) level with focus on agricultural landscapes. A set of landscape metrics served as a basis to assess naturalness and geometrisation of Austrian and European landscapes as a proxy for their sustainability. To achieve an accurate spatially explicit assessment, we applied a spatial reference framework consisting in units that are homogeneous in biophysical and socio-economic contexts, adapted the regional approach for its application at European level, and developed relative sustainability thresholds for the landscape metrics. The analyses revealed that several landscape metrics, particularly the “Number of Shape Characterising Points” showed a high correlation with the degree of naturalness. The sustainability map of Austria based on an ordinal regression model revealed well-known problem regions of ecological sustainability. At the European level, the relative deviation from the average pattern showed clearly the simplification processes in the landscapes. However, a better spatial resolution of land cover data would add to the refinement of pattern analysis in regions and therefore the assessment of sustainability. We recommend the combination of information of different scales for the formulation and implementation of sustainability policies.
Robinson, J., Burch, S., Talwar, S., O'Shea, M., & Walsh, M. (2011). Envisioning sustainability: recent progress in the use of participatory backcasting approaches for sustainability research. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 78(5), 756-768.
This paper describes recent progress in the utilization of participatory scenario-based backcasting approaches to sustainability research that blend quantitative and qualitative analyses in order to explore alternative climate change futures, as undertaken in a range of academic, government, and private sector projects in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada. These projects reveal that buy-in to policy proposals may be enhanced by participation, but there is a risk of participants being overwhelmed by the complexity of the choices they are being asked to make. Furthermore, tools are grounded in a process, which must itself be the explicit focus of attention in designing successful backcasting projects and combining participatory backcasting techniques with more interactive processes that can enhance our ability to explore highly complex and uncertain, value-laden issues. These approaches can be used to drive action and support decision-making, but for a truly consultative and consensus-oriented process to occur, it is important that a broad sample of the community be engaged in the discussion that are equipped with technical knowledge or understanding of the goals of the process in order to participate in an equitable and effective fashion.
Silberstein, J. & Maser, C. (2013). Land-use planning for sustainable development, 2nd ed. CRC Press.
Turner, B. L., Lambin, E. F., & Reenberg, A. (2007). The emergence of land change science for global environmental change and sustainability. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(52), 20666-20671.
Land change science has emerged as a fundamental component of global environmental change and sustainability research. This interdisciplinary field seeks to understand the dynamics of land cover and land use as a coupled human–environment system to address theory, concepts, models, and applications relevant to environmental and societal problems, including the intersection of the two. The major components and advances in land change are addressed: observation and monitoring; understanding the coupled system—causes, impacts, and consequences; modeling; and synthesis issues. The six articles of the special feature are introduced and situated within these components of study.
van Dam, J., Junginger, M., & Faaij, A. P. (2010). From the global efforts on certification of bioenergy towards an integrated approach based on sustainable land use planning. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 14(9), 2445-2472.
This paper presents an overview of 67 ongoing certification initiatives to safeguard the sustainability of bioenergy. Most recent initiatives are focused on the sustainability of liquid biofuels. Content-wise, most of these initiatives have mainly included environmental principles. Despite serious concerns in various parts of the world on the socio-economic impacts of bioenergy production, these are generally not included in existing bioenergy initiatives. At the same time, the overview shows a strong proliferation of standards. The overview shows that certification has the potential to influence direct, local impacts related to environmental and social effects of direct bioenergy production. Key recommendations to come to an efficient certification system include the need for further harmonization, availability of reliable data and linking indicators on a micro, meso and macro levels. Considering the multiple spatial scales, certification should be combined with additional measurements and tools on a regional, national and international level. The role of bioenergy production on indirect land use change (ILUC) is still very uncertain and current initiatives have rarely captured impacts from ILUC in their standards. Addressing unwanted LUC requires first of all sustainable land use production and good governance, regardless of the end-use of the product. It is therefore recommended to extend measures to mitigate impacts from LUC to other lands and feedstock.
Yigitcanlar, T., & Dur, F. (2010). Developing a sustainability assessment model: the sustainable infrastructure, land-use, environment and transport model. Sustainability, 2(1), 321-340.
Measuring the comparative sustainability levels of cities, regions, institutions and projects is an essential procedure in creating sustainable urban futures. This paper introduces a new urban sustainability assessment model: “The Sustainable Infrastructure, Land-use, Environment and Transport Model (SILENT)”. The SILENT Model is an advanced geographic information system and indicator-based comparative urban sustainability indexing model. The model aims to assist planners and policy makers in their daily tasks in sustainable urban planning and development by providing an integrated sustainability assessment framework. The paper gives an overview of the conceptual framework and components of the model and discusses the theoretical constructs, methodological procedures, and future development of this promising urban sustainability assessment model.