In the autumn of 1930, Lambda Alpha was established at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois to help foster the study of land economics. The inspiration for Lambda Alpha was Professor Richard T. Ely (1854-1943), commonly called the “Father of Land Economics.”
The membership of Lambda Alpha includes outstanding individuals from many parts of the world who have distinguished themselves in all of the various disciplines and activities that relate to the use and re-use of land. These individuals include not only those who are involved in the ownership, management, regulation and conservation of land, but also those who are involved in its development, redevelopment and preservation.
The membership includes architects, engineers, real estate developers, planners, government officials, professors, bankers, attorneys, real estate consultants, and officials of organizations and national and international associations. The diversity of this membership provides an unusual reservoir of talent, knowledge and expertise to draw upon for educational programs and discussions. This reservoir in turn attracts others with talent, knowledge, and expertise to the educational activities of Lambda Alpha at both the international and Chapter level.
Lambda Alpha International (LAI) has designated five major purposes:
- To recognize and honor men and women in all parts of the world whose achievements have contributed, directly or indirectly, to the advancement of the science of land economics, to a better understanding of the principles of land economics, or to the practical application of such principles in the preservation, development or better utilization of the world's resources;
- To encourage and support the study of land economics and support the highest ideals of scholarship and integrity for all fields -- professional, business, governmental and academic -- in which land economics is studied or practiced;
- To expand the world's knowledge and understanding of the principles of land economics and encourage and support the application of such principles to both public policy and private endeavor;
- To take those actions and support those ideas, individually and collectively, which contribute to the enrichment of our urban and rural environment and benefit the quality of human life; and
- to advance a close working bond and mutual understanding among men and women engaged in all disciplines and activities related to land economics.
Lambda Alpha International has chapters in many key cities in the United States, Canada, England, and Madrid with members-at-large in many other parts of the world. Its membership is a “Who’s Who in Land Economics” honoring men and women who have distinguished themselves in land economics-related activities.
Local chapters regularly conduct professional programs for both their members and their local communities. International, in coordination with local chapters sponsor twice-annual “Weekend Experiences” giving all members an opportunity to meet and learn about land economic issues in other cities throughout the world. Lambda Alpha International publishes a quarterly newsletter, KeyNotes and maintains an expanding web site where members network and share information internationally. Through the Land Economics Foundation, LAI supports annual scholarships and funds other educational pursuits.
Membership in Lambda Alpha International is an honor. At the cornerstone of this honor is Ely’s maxim, “the law of society is service” – an obligation to provide service to the community by working to find ways to contribute professionally to the enrichment of our planned environment.