Friday, February 05, 2021

1889 Institute: Guide to governments regulation of land use

The 1889 Institute counts the ways government impacts property rights.

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (February 3, 2021) – The 1889 Institute has published “Land and Prosperity: A Primer on Land Use Law and Policy,” which describes the many ways state and local governments regulate the use and disposition of private property. The publication first discusses the need to establish order among individuals whose actions impact others, then describes the benefits of private property, and then describes the many ways government interferes, justifiably or not, with property owners’ decisions in how property is used and developed.

“The study is a description of the many ways government inserts itself into the decisions property owners make about the use of their property,” said 1889’s Land Use Fellow, Brad Galbraith, the study’s author and relatively recent addition to the 1889 Institute’s staff. “It’s important to fully understand how government impacts prosperity through its influence on property rights, under which the rights to life and liberty are subsumed,” he said.

The new study makes few value judgments or arguments regarding the various types of land use regulation on government’s part, whether the subject is the common law of nuisance or zoning, or comprehensive planning.

“My aim in writing this study was to simply catalog and describe the many tools available to government to influence or even determine the disposition of real property,” said Galbraith. “In the future, each of these tools will be reviewed for how they are used and the degree to which they add or subtract from our enjoyment and prosperity,” he said.

Galbraith pointed out that while the current study on land use regulation makes no policy recommendations, more detailed work in the future will likely see recommendations for how state law might change to improve outcomes, not just for landowners, but society in general. Local governments especially have a tendency to overstep, so Galbraith hopes to develop state policies that better balance private property right with the true interests of the wider community.

About the 1889 Institute

The 1889 Institute is an Oklahoma think tank committed to independent, principled state policy fostering limited and responsible government, free enterprise and a robust civil society. The publication, “Land and Prosperity: A Primer on Land Use Law and Policy” and other reports can be found on the nonprofit’s website at


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