The Two Visions of Private Land

December 12, 2006

With ballot initiatives similar to Measure 37 in Oregon sweeping the country, the idea of "protecting" private property rights from regulation is again at the forefront of public debate. Eric Freyfogle, Max L. Rowe Professor of Law at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has spoken and written widely on private property and land conservation for numerous years. Embedded in today's political debate, Freyfogle contends, are two quite different visions of land ownership — a highly individualist vision put forth clearly by the "property rights" movement and a more murky, communitarian vision that would enjoy greater support if better understood.

Attendees at this Tuesday at APA program heard all about this hot-button political conflict that threatens to challenge even long-standing land use rules.


Eric Freyfogle

Professor Eric Freyfogle received his J.D. degree summa cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School. Since 1983 he has taught property, environmental law, and land use courses at the College of Law of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of a wide-ranging inquiry into private rights in nature: The Land We Share:  Private Property and the Common Good (2003). His other books include the recently published Why Conservation is Failing and How It Can Regain Ground (Yale University Press, 2006), as well as The New Agrarianism (2001); Bounded People, Boundless Lands (1998); and Justice and the Earth (1993).