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Taking Land Around the World

International Trends in the Use of Eminent Domain
Antonio Azuela, July 1, 2007

Compulsory purchase, expropriation, eminent domain, or simply “taking” are different names for the legal institution that allows governments to acquire property against the will of its owner in order to fulfill some public purpose. This tool has been used for a long time as a major instrument of land policy, but now it is subject to a number of criticisms and mounting social resistance in many parts of the world. Campaigns for housing rights, movements for the defense of property rights, and legislative and judiciary activism are among the factors changing the conditions under which governments exercise their power of eminent domain.