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University of Wisconsin–Madison
Harvey Jacobs

Harvey Jacobs

Expert on private property rights, social conflict over public regulation of property, public policy for private property (e.g. zoning)

Professor, urban and regional planning; professor, Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies Work: 608-262-0552 Home page


  • Land ownership as a human rights issue, especially in developing countries and in slums in mega-cities
  • Similarities and differences between European and American approaches to land use and environmental management
  • Rise and impact of the private property rights (anti-environmental) movement
  • Policy alternatives for managing privately owned land (e.g. zoning, transfer of development rights, conservation easements)
  • Managing urban sprawl (public policy options; reasons for social conflict over)


  • Knighted by French government in 2008; awarded L’Ordre des Palmes Académiques, rank Chevalier (Knight)
  • Fellowships from Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and The Rockefeller Foundation for research on “The “Taking” of Europe," 2005-06
  • Editor, "Private Property in the 21st Century" (Edward Elgar, 2004) and "Who Owns America?" (University of Wisconsin Press, 1998)
  • Worked and lectured in Albania, Canada, France, Italy, Kenya, Norway, The Netherlands, Poland, Spain, South Africa, Taiwan and Zimbabwe
  • Outstanding teaching awards from the Wisconsin Student Association and the University of Wisconsin Teaching Academy