Land Value As Community Resource

Finances , Government

by Jeffery Smith | March 2, 2018
Redirect land value to drive smart land use and spread prosperity and equality. Wherever tried, it has worked to help people and planet.

Presently society's stream of payments for land rewards speculation, inefficient land use, and enriches an insider clique whose interests do not always coincide with the rest of society. Ironically, land does not require the labor or capital of anyone, while its value is a result of the presence of everyone, of the populace settled in a region. As realtors say, location, location, location, made desireable by society (i.e., useful infrastructure) and nature (i.e., a lovely view). Some jurisdictions have recovered socially-generated land "rents" (the technical term) via a tax, fee, lease, dues, whatever. Some have used to revenue to pay residents a dividend directly or to bring down the cost of housing (which is mainly the cost of location; see Silicon Valley). When owners pay such dues, they put their land to best use. That infills cities, creates jobs, raises wages, expands the middle class, empowers more citizens to participate in government, allows residents to shorten their workweek, reduces the gaps in income and wealth (based on mortgages), etc. On efficient land use, residents can switch from driving to walking, cycling, riding buses, etc, which drastically cuts pollution. Receiving a fair share of "rents" raises one's self-esteem and strengthens one's belonging to community.