Rethinking Global Land Use in an Urban Era

From Strüngmann Forum Reports

Rethinking Global Land Use in an Urban Era

Edited by Karen C. Seto and Anette Reenberg

International experts examine the effects of urbanization and economic globalization on land use and offer new insights to advance understanding and sustainable practice.





International experts examine the effects of urbanization and economic globalization on land use and offer new insights to advance understanding and sustainable practice.

Today, global land use is affected by a variety of factors, including urbanization and the growing interconnectedness of economies and markets. This book examines the challenges and opportunities we face in achieving sustainable land use in the twenty-first century. While land resources remain finite, the global population is projected to reach ten billion by the end of the century, bringing issues of ethics and fairness to center stage. Who should decide how land is used? Where does competition for land occur, and why? Moreover, accelerating globalization, increasing demand for animal protein in our diets, the need for new sources of energy, and the global scarcity of land have led to a decoupling of land use and local control, which raises issues of governance. The contributors, from a range of disciplines and countries, present new analytical perspectives and tools for understanding key issues in global land use.

The chapters consider such topics as food production and land use; case studies of urbanization and agriculture in Brazil and China; telecoupling and connections to distant places; emerging institutions of land-use governance; public and private regulation of land use; uniquely urban issues of land use; and future steps to sustainability.

ContributorsGraeme Auld, Anthony J. Bebbington, Tor A. Benjaminsen, Hilda Blanco, Christopher G. Boone, Saturnino M. Borras, Jr., Wang Chunyu, Ruth DeFries, Xiangzheng Deng, Hallie Eakin, Jennifer C. Franco, Bradford S. Gentry, Peter J. Gregory, Dagmar Haase, Helmut Haberl, Vanessa Hull, Carol A. Hunsberger, John S. I. Ingram, Elena G. Irwin, Anne-Marie Izac, Suzi Kerr, Jennifer Koch, Tobias Kuemmerle, Eric F. Lambin, Yingzhi Lin, Jianguo Liu, Shuaib Lwasa, Peter J. Marcotullio, Matias E. Margulis, Cheikh Mbow, Ole Mertz, Peter Messerli, Patrick Meyfroidt, Emilio Moran, Harini Nagendra, Stephan Pauleit, Steward T. A. Pickett, Tobias Plieninger, Charles L. Redman, Anette Reenberg, Ximena Rueda, Heike Schroeder, Karen C. Seto, Thomas Sikor, Simon R. Swaffield, Billie Lee Turner II, Caroline Upton, Birka Wicke, Makoto Yokohari, Karl Zimmerer


$45.00 X ISBN: 9780262026901 408 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 27 figures


Karen C. Seto

Karen C. Seto is Professor in the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University.

Anette Reenberg

Anette Reenberg is Professor of Geography with the Environment and Society Research Group in the Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management at the University of Copenhagen.


  • This book provides a much-needed and sometimes startling exploration of global land dynamics as they are playing out in the twenty-first century. The world is a dramatically different place than it was when land change science emerged several decades ago. As the world urbanizes to meet the needs of ten billion people by the end of the century, critical new dimensions of land change are becoming evident. This book explores emerging issues and challenges related to competition for land, teleconnections that link social-environmental systems across space and time, and the increasingly critical role of emerging economies and markets in changing the face of land systems worldwide. This is a great book, a great contribution!

    Pam Matson

    School of Earth Sciences, Stanford University

  • The increasing competition for the planet's land resources can produce undesirable outcomes, as when biofuel production intended for climate change mitigation prompts deforestation and carbon emissions elsewhere in the world. The complex economic, social, and environmental trade-offs involved in global land use management call for new, holistic ways to analyze sustainable land use. The authors of this book–experts from various fields–take up the gauntlet by uniting in an important effort to address land use issues in new ways, thereby also inspiring new approaches to global governance within this arena.

    Martin Lidegaard

    Minister for Climate, Energy and Building, Denmark

  • Rethinking Global Land Use in an Urban Era, written by well-known scholars in the field, is a major contribution on sustainable global land use and tackles many challenging issues: What does sustainable land use mean? How is it conceptualized? How can it be achieved? What are the normative and fairness issues? In a time when many countries such as China are rapidly urbanizing, this book provides fresh reconceptualizations of sustainable global land use and presents novel ideas that will be of great interest to researchers and policymakers working on sustainable land use issues.

    Jiyuan Liu

    Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences