Common Tragedies

Thoughts on Environmental Economics

This land is my land

Posted by Daniel Hall on October 16, 2007

I think this statement is a powerful insight into the American psyche:

For reasons good or ill, owning land is the most effective way in which people keep their distance from others.  Land is the ultimate means of exclusion.

This is from Boyd Gibbons’ 1979 book Wye Island: Insiders, Outsiders, and Change in a Chesapeake Community, reprinted in a new edition recently.  It’s a fascinating read, a document of a bygone era.  It’s also a somber reminder of how long ideas about smart growth have been with us, and a case study in why achieving smart growth has proved so difficult.

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