External Costs as Driving Forces of Land Use Changes
Land conversion is often not carried out in a sustainable way. The loss of arable land and biodiversity, concern about food security and rising costs of infrastructure due to urban sprawl are just some of the problems under discussion. This paper compares Germany, China and Cambodia. The article points out that, despite huge differences in institutions and governance, unsustainable land use changes mostly have some patterns in common: The beneficiaries of land conversion are often well-organized actors, whereas the costs of land conversion are often shifted to poorly organized groups and to society as a whole. A sustainable land use policy has to look for a better coupling of benefits and costs of land use changes. In order to achieve this goal, the article suggests completing the planning law with a suitable economic framework.
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