The Value of Land

Land has value for each and every one of us. Fertile soil provides us with plantlife, vegetables, and grains. Forests give us timber and firewood. Rivers, lakes, and oceans nourish us with water and marine life.  We benefit from fresh air, fresh water, fresh food, and many other so-called ecosystem services that land provides us with.

In this MOOC, we will be looking at things from various perspectives. We will investigate the society's perspective: What is the value of land, not only for landowners and immediate stakeholders, but also for society as a whole?

We will examine the economist's perspective: What welfare does land provide and how do we valuate and price these gains? We'll have to keep in mind that the costs are often unpaid. Can you imagine if mother nature sent us an invoice?

But before we delve into all that, we'll have a look at land's other value: historical, social and cultural. To many of us, land is emotionally valuable as well. Perhaps we've spent our childhood playing on it, enjoying it, learning from it. We were born on this earth, and have many wonderful memories of it.

Exploring the many values that land holds will ultimately help us focus on its economic value.