The Potential for Urban Land Reform in Scotland

Professor David Adams, University of Glasgow argues there is an urgent need for urban land reform, and specifically reform to tackle those ownership and valuation constraints that keep urban land vacant by impeding its redevelopment for productive use.

Drawing on the property rights literature, Adams argues for innovative and radical responses to Scotland’s urban land problems, involving legislation to introduce a ‘Community Right of Sale’ (CRS), ‘Majority Land Assembly’ (MLA) and ‘Urban Partnership Zone’ (UPZs). Scottish land reform has been a focus of concerted campaigning for well over a century.

The latest legislative measure, the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, has made only modest progress and is now under review. Up to now, land reform has been seen primarily as a rural issue and there remains plenty of scope to address the Scottish land question in a rural context. Professor Adams in one of eleven expert advisors appointed to the Land reform Review group set up by the Scottish Government.

The views expressed in this paper are those of the author alone and should not be taken to represent those of the Land reform Review Group or the Scottish Government.

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