The University of Wisconsin Press

Geography / Environment / Urban & Regional Planning / Law

Who Owns America?
Social Conflict over Property Rights
Edited by Harvey M. Jacobs

"I can hardly think of a topic in land use policy, or indeed in environmental policy in general, more timely and important than the one addressed in this book. Who Owns America? is an important contribution to the field."—Robert G. Healy, professor of environmental policy, Duke University

"Wisconsin, which gave us John Muir, Aldo Leopold, Jacob Beuscher, and Just v. Marinette County, is the heart of environmentalism in the United States. This volume by leading scholars in society, economy, and land use is an important new contribution to that legacy."—Rutherford H. Platt, professor of geography and planning law, University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Land ownership by individual citizens is a cornerstone of American heritage and a centerpiece of the American dream. Thomas Jefferson called it the key to our success as a democracy. Yet the question of who owns America not only remains unanswered but is central to a fundamental conflict that can pit private property rights advocates against government policymakers and environmentalists.

Land use authority Harvey M. Jacobs has gathered a provocative collection of perspectives from eighteen contributors in the fields of law, history, anthropology, economics, sociology, forestry, and environmental studies. Who Owns America? begins with the popular view of land ownership as seen though the television show Bonanza! It examines public regulation of private land; public land management; the roles culture and ethnic values play in land use; and concludes with Jacobs' title essay.

Who Owns America? is a powerful and illuminating exploration of the very terrain that makes us Americans. Its broad set of theoretical and historical perspectives will fascinate historians, environmental activists, policy makers, and all who care deeply about the land we share.

Harvey M. Jacobs is professor and chair in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning and professor in the Institute of Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He is widely published in scholarly and popular journals in the United States and Europe.

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cover of Who Owns America is white with black and red lettering and features and black and white photo of a deserted country road.

October 1998
288 pp. 8 maps
6 x 9

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Paper $24.95 x
ISBN 978-0-299-15994-8
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