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Land Use and Abuse in America is a call to action. It is intended to inspire everyone involved in land transformation from rural to city center -- residents, business leaders, community officials and professionals -- determined to make a difference.In the past, all across America, at every level of geography and at every scale of community, the natural land has been treated harshly and unwisely with adverse consequences. Facing the inevitability of change and growth, and aware of past mishaps, there is urgent need for more insightful planning. As detailed in this book, a vast opportunity exists to do it well going forward. America shows distinct signs of relinquishing its world hegemony in military power, diplomatic influence, and economic solidity. As these transitions occur, we must utilize precious capital and time to improve our approach to new settlement, to upgrading our existing communities and infrastructure, and to the preservation and conservation of natural and built resources. There are promising signs. A new generation is becoming aware that the old systems of land use and abuse will not provide a sustainably desirable future. A shift in emphasis is detectable as responsible residents, business leaders and elected officials abandon long held assumptions that resource will never give out, that there is always another unspoiled place to settle, that everything will last forever. In this first decade of the twenty-first century, a half century after the environmental consciousness-raising years of the 1960s, a more aware generation is ascending to community, corporate and government leadership. Professionals in the land use arena have the opportunity to inform and to assist these more enlightened stakeholders. Well trained and well intentioned experts are in a better position than ever before to revise out-dated practices. Cities, towns, suburbs, and exurban development currently consumes only 7% of the U.S. land area. As the population expands and economies evolve, much more land will be transformed, and built-up areas will be reconfigured. Everyone working in the domain of land use transformation is at the center of a long-run epic. Whatever happens in the physical world affects land use, and land use affects everything that happens in the natural world, often over a very long time span. It is my view that enlightened land use planning and building induces a positive measurable ripple effect far beyond the appearance of the physical world. As the resources available to the nation become recognized as finite, there is no better way than through wise, bold, creative and fresh land use initiatives to enhance the social, economic, environmental and humanistic encounters that collectively compose our daily experience. Each community is like a distinct, complex corporation. It has vast assets -- all of the real property in town, and all of the human energy and good-will of its residents. Ideally, each resident comes to understand that he or she is a stakeholder in the quality of the overall physical place, way beyond next door and the neighborhood -- a shareholder in the total enterprise. Barriers to comprehensive and innovative land use planning have been weakened by long delayed public alarm about our degrading physical environment and our simultaneous looming shortage of capital, credit, energy, and natural resources. While these matters now roil financial markets, stir scientific inquiry, and engender political debate, they underscore the imperative for wiser use, and diminished abuse, of the land.