Document Type



This article offers a survey of federal legislation and statements of policy that have shaped and directed land use and related phenomena, including the location of population, economic growth, and the character of urban development. Part I of this article provides a historical development of land use policies and laws, as well as presents academic and scientific theories supporting a national land use policy. Part II of this article describes patterns of urban and suburban growth and their consequences, such as the decline of the viability of cities and the loss of agricultural land. Part III discusses the government's spending on infrastructure and the results of this spending as well as federal housing funding laws and their effects. Part IV discusses federal spending on urban programs, such as block grants and enterprise and empowerment zones. Part V analyzes federal laws dealing with agriculture, natural resources, and the environment. Part VI details modern federal legislation dealing with land use planning in various areas. This article concludes by advocating the need for more comprehensive federal legislation on land use. Because this article surveys a great range of legislation, the applications and effects of which have not been tested or seriously studied, the object of this article is necessarily limited. In large measure, this article strives to provide some reference to the various land use laws and policies and to prompt further study that could lead to an effort to adopt a comprehensive national plan for land use.