Research Priorities

January 1, 2021 Posting and Release

 Land Economics Foundation

Grant Announcement:

The Land Economics Foundation (LEF) of Lambda Alpha International (LAI) is seeking grant proposals that advance the field of land economics from qualified individuals, academic programs, non-profit organizations, and LAI chapters.
LEF is a not-for-profit foundation created in 1965 to administer a grant-making investment fund on behalf of the members of LAI, the global, multidisciplinary honorary society dedicated to:

Connecting professionals.   Sharing knowledge.   Advancing best practices.

LAI was founded in 1930 by students of Professor Richard T. Ely at Northwestern University:    It has a commitment to education for the next generation of leaders and encourages projects that expand teacher-student interest in planning and economics at all levels: high school, college, university, and institute. 

LEF also supports academic research in areas such as urban history, land use law, sustainable development, construction management, architectural design, planning, and market analysis.  

LEF seeks collaboration (and shared funding) with non-profit groups such as the American Real Estate Society (ARES), American Planning Association (APA), Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP), Urban Land Institute (ULI), and Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

The LEF Board of Trustees meets several times per year to consider approve grant applications and to review projects and research underway.  LEF typically approves several grants each year.  These grants can be utilized for planning projects, academic research, books, conferences, historical archiving, educational initiatives, redevelopment strategies, and public initiatives applying the principles of land economics.  

 Grantees are expected to provide final reports or “case study” results and are encouraged to seek publication in peer journals with credit cited for LEF funding and support.  Articles summarizing the project or research and grantee presentation are often featured in LAI  Keynotes:

Grantees are also often invited to present their completed projects via webinar to the LAI members –  these presentations may also be video recorded and posted to the LAI website.

Grant amounts typically range from $5,000 to $20,000, with preference for proposals with matching funding sources and collaborations that can leverage the LEF grant and to those which include the participation of a local LAI Chapter:

For guidance regarding projects and research, grant amounts, and grantees please see Funded Research for 2006-2020 projects on the LAI website:

The LEF Board of Trustees meets periodically to review applications.  However, proposals may be submitted on-line at any time:

2021 Research Priorities:  

The LEF Board is focused on these key research priorities for 2021 to guide its grant review process, although innovative research and projects in land economics on other topics and subject areas will also be eligible for funding and will be fully considered.

Renewal and Resiliency of Urban and Rural Areas in Face of Climate Change  
LEF believes that the study of declining or challenged areas can lead to policies and programs for revitalization; subsequently it is interested in funding activities and research that:

  • Focuses on causal forces for declining corridors or areas and policies as well as best practices and programs targeted at reversing decline and encouraging growth.
  • Examines emerging urban and rural farming practices, the growth of urban agriculture, and related impacts on employment, climate change, and renewal of buildings and sites.
  • Identifies the roles that cities, suburban and rural areas respectively can play to support policies and programs that reduce green house gas emissions.
  • Explores infrastructure renewal and related practices to increase the resiliency of urban and rural areas in the face of ever more frequent and severe weather-related catastrophes.

Changing Work and Commuting Patterns and Impact on Workplaces and Transit
Covid-19 has imposed drastic changes on people’s daily activities around the world.  Along with these changes, new technologies are affecting where work occurs, and shared ride services and electric vehicles are impacting office and transit usage.  LEF is seeking research that:

  • Documents the extent and impacts of work-from-home technology on the office sector.
  • Explores the impact of health measures on office design and utilization.
  • Reviews changes in car ownership/usage and impact on parking demand and ratios
  • Analyzes public transit ridership trends and emerging responses to structural changes.
  • Illuminates public role in supporting EV usage – charging stations, etc.

The International Economy and Its Impact on Cities and Industrial Development
LEF has seen the major role of international trade and intermodal shipping in industrial development including the growth of fulfillment centers. LEF is interested in research that:

  • Provides understanding of the trade flows and the ports and cities impacted. 
  • Helps communities plan for and accommodate intermodal and distribution growth. 
  • Examines technology and consumer impacts on industrial land use and development. 
  • Documents the growth of package delivery and impacts on roadway congestion.

Equity and Inclusion, the Legacy of Racism, and Increasing Diversity 
LEF recognizes the persistent historic racial/ethnic inequality in underwriting and land use practices as well as employment and education. LEF supports initiatives and research that:

  • Reviews the history of LAI and sister organizations and the roles they have played. 
  • Helps institutions and organizations and public bodies build diversity for the future.
  • Creates tools to address historic discriminatory land use and development practices.
  • Engages educational curriculums, research, and recruitment in corrective practices. 

Land Entitlements, Planning Approvals, Housing Legislation and Cost Impacts.
LEF has noted the increasing costs of approval delays, energy standards, and affordable housing rules on development. We are interested in identifying best practices and solutions that:

  • Recognize the role of social media in development and land use approvals. 
  • Identify new building and density practices to contain costs – particularly for housing. 
  • Document community efforts to incentivize innovative land use and development. 

We Welcome Your Interest and Support

We welcome your interest in the work of the Land Economics Foundation.  Our grants are supported by a voluntary annual $50 contribution from members – we encourage all LAI members to donate.  Grants, bequests, and sponsorships from individuals, foundations and firms are also sought to support this important work.   All U.S.A. donations are tax deductible.  

Please direct your questions related to the LEF grant process and purposes to:
Jon B. DeVries, AICP, MLAI
Vice-President of Research
Land Economics Foundation of Lambda Alpha International or 312-919-2969