This is the online first version published on 2023-07-18. Read the most recent version.

Innovative Property for Innovative Land Policy: Four Normative Principles


  • Benjamin Davy



Land ethics, Land policy, Property , Social function, Individual rights


Innovative land policy does not yield to the pressure of short-term capital exploitation. Rather, innovative land policy establishes a fair balance between the interests of landowners and the public interest. As a keystone of land policy, property – particularly if open to innovation – plays a vital role in achieving this balance. This commentary explains four normative principles that help design innovative property. Since the four principles derive from long-standing ideas about property in land, the commentary uses a distinctly conservative approach. This approach, however, is quite innovative in the face of the reductionist view of property as a right that only serves the purposes of its owners. According to the first principle, innovative land policy must pay attention to the nexus between private and common property. Under the second principle, property in land must account for the government’s positive duty to provide for adequate land uses for all. The third principle distinguishes between property rights of natural and legal persons: personal property guarantees individual liberty, but corporate property is a social function, not a right at all. The fourth principle reminds of the inseparable bond between property in land and land ethics.


Download data is not yet available.


Bernoulli, H. (1946): Die Stadt und ihr Boden. Erlenbach-Zürich.

Davy, B. (2016): Land policy. Planning and the spatial consequences of property. London.

Davy, B. (2017): Human dignity and property in land – A human rights approach. In: Pellissery, S.; Davy, B.; Jacobs, H.M. (eds.): Land policies in India. Promises, practices and challenges. Singapore, 1–33.

Duguit, L. (1920): Les transformations générales du droit privé depuis le Code Napoléon. 2nd edition. St. Germain.

Epstein, R.A. (1985): Takings. Private property and the power of eminent domain. Cambridge.

Hartmann, T.; Jehling, M. (2019): From diversity to justice – Unraveling pluralistic rationalities in urban design. In: Cities 91, 58–63.

Leopold, A. (1966) A Sand County almanac. New York.

Marshall, T.H. (1950): Citizenship and social class, and other essays. Cambridge.

Posner, R.A. (2007): Economic analysis of law. New York.

van der Walt, A.J. (2010): Constitutional property law. Cape Town.







How to Cite

Davy B. Innovative Property for Innovative Land Policy: Four Normative Principles. RuR [Internet]. 2023 Jul. 18 [cited 2024 Jul. 19];81(6). Available from: