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Message from the President

H. James Brown, Janeiro 1, 2002

We are inaugurating our fourteenth volume year of Land Lines with a new look and feel—more color, more articles, more news about our faculty, and more announcements about our courses, publications and special projects.

In the past five years our educational programs have expanded to reach policy makers and practitioners in federal, state and local government throughout the United States and in many countries of Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia. Our faculty has developed a broad range of introductory and advanced professional development courses that explore both the theory and practice of land and tax policy.

The Institute’s Department of Valuation and Taxation, chaired by Joan Youngman, has three major goals: improving public and scholarly debate on the taxation of land value; addressing the economic impact, feasibility, political acceptability, and appropriate use of value-based taxes; and contributing to a better understanding of the valuation process for tax purposes. The local property tax, as the primary value-based tax in the United States, is a major focus of the Institute’s work, but we analyze a variety of revenue instruments, particularly with regard to their treatment of land value increments attributable to public investment.

The Department of Planning and Development, cochaired by Rosalind Greenstein and Armando Carbonell, links interests in the theory and practice of planning with an understanding of how land markets operate. Our concerns focus on urban and regional planning and design, land conservation, urban redevelopment, and the behavior of land markets. We are particularly interested in the integration of urban and environmental systems; the planning process and its outcomes; the interplay of public and private roles in decisions involving land policy and land use; the effect of land markets and the institutions that support them on the city and its residents; and the role of land and real estate in the larger economy and in poverty alleviation.

Building on our experiences in Latin America since 1993, Martim Smolka directs the Institute’s Program on Latin America and the Caribbean in developing activities oriented toward both scholars and practitioners, including legislative and executive policy officials and upper-level technical staff. Programs focus on five priority topics: value capture policies and implementation of instruments to mobilize land value increments; property taxation systems that can meet the needs of rapid urbanization; regulatory environments supporting large-scale urban intervention; security of tenure, regularization and urban upgrading programs; and urban land market forces, including spatial and social segregation, speculation, vacant land and related issues.

Each issue of Land Lines will continue to feature articles by faculty who share the ideas discussed and lessons learned in Institute-sponsored courses. In addition, we will announce upcoming courses, lectures and other programs that are open to a general audience, and we will keep you informed about new publications, web-based programs and other resources that address our work in land and tax policy.