From the President

H. James Brown, Abril 1, 2004

One of the major objectives of the Lincoln Institute is to enhance discussion and debate on issues of land and tax policy. We accomplish this objective in part by sponsoring courses that bring stakeholders together at Lincoln House or other classroom locations. We believe these programs that permit face-to-face interaction can play a major role in advancing the debate and encouraging participants to share their ideas directly. But, our outreach through classroom courses can reach only a limited number of participants each year.

To supplement these programs, the Institute has developed other mechanisms for expanding our outreach and disseminating knowledge of critical land and tax policy issues. I would like to highlight some of these efforts, starting with recognizing the enthusiastic response of the readers of this publication, Land Lines. The articles published in each quarterly issue reflect the Institute’s involvement in education and research activities around the world and offer insights into our work on a wide range of matters. From the introduction of new tools and partnerships to improve planning in the U.S., to the development of value capture mechanisms in Latin America or the design of land tax programs in China and other transitional economies, Land Lines is the Institute’s primary publication for telling our story.

Other products of our publications program contribute to informing the debate as well. We publish books and policy focus reports based on research supported by the Institute, often in the form of edited volumes of papers presented at seminars or conferences. Working papers completed by Institute faculty and researchers are posted on our Web site so the results can be circulated in the public domain as quickly as possible. Currently more than 700 working papers, research reports and newsletter articles are posted, and many of them are available in Spanish or Chinese as well as in English. Each month thousands of visitors from around the world download material from our site.

The Web site also features two forms of online education. Many of our past course materials are available as complete documents that can be downloaded, and the Institute offers dynamic Internet-based courses on Lincoln Education Online (LEO), including Planning Fundamentals and Introduction to New England Forests. They provide lessons, self-assessment quizzes and additional resources for planning commissioners, citizens and other users who need information on tools and techniques.

Another effort to broaden the discussion of land and tax policy issues is the documentary film and outreach project known as Making Sense of Place. The first film, Phoenix: The Urban Desert, has been broadcast on television and shown in many community meetings throughout Arizona, and we are developing a second film about land use, growth and property tax issues confronting Cleveland, Ohio.

All of these non-classroom activities illustrate our commitment to reach out to many different audiences, to provide information and expertise that can make discussions about land and tax policy more valuable, and to help effect better decision making.