Harvey M. Jacobs

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Office: 201 Music Hall

Office Hours: Tuesdays, 11 am-1pm, and by appointment.

Phone: (608) 262-0552

Email: hmjacobs@wisc.edu

Professor Jacobs's research and teaching program focuses on public policy, theory and philosophy for land use and environmental management. Since the early 1990s he has focused his domestic research on the rise and impact of the private property rights (the so-called "wise use") movement, and increasing social conflict over regulatory takings. Internationally, he has addressed issues related to the definition of private property rights, devolution/decentralization of administrative authority for land use planning and policy, and peri-urban land management (the containment of urban sprawl) by national ministries and new local governments in eastern Europe and Africa. Prof. Jacobs has worked and lectured on these topics in Albania, Canada, France, Italy, Kenya, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan, Trinidad, Tunisia and Zimbabwe. His newest work focuses on the transformation of private property as a social and legal institution in western Europe.

In 1998 Professor Jacobs edited Who Owns America? Social Conflict Over Property Rights (University of Wisconsin Press); in 2004, in collaboration with the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy he prepared the edited volume Private Property in the 21st Century: Globalization of an American Ideal? (Edward Elgar). He is the editor or co-author of three books and author or co-author of 100 articles and essays published in academic and professional journals in the U.S. and western Europe, of which over 30 focus specifically on the social and legal aspects of property rights.

Generally Professor Jacobs is interested in how societies define property, and the institutions they develop to manage the relationship between private and public rights in property. In his work he argues that these institutions are often a stage in which we act out social debate about more fundamental social values (such as liberty, democracy, citizenship and empowerment).

Professor Jacobs received his graduate degrees from Cornell University (Ph.D., 1984). He has won awards and recognition for his research and teaching from Cornell University (in 1980 and 1982), the Journal of the American Planning Association (in 1988 and 2000), the Wisconsin Student Association (1991 and 1992), and the University of Wisconsin Teaching Academy (1994). In 1998 he served as the Chester Dean Visiting Professor at the School of Architecture and Urban Design, University of Kansas. As part of a new initiative by the Fulbright Scholar Program, in 2002 he was selected as a Fulbright Senior Specialist. In 2005 he was selected to serve as a Planning and Development Fellow of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy for his research on private property and planning issues in western Europe. In the spring of 2006 he was recipient of an Individual Residency from the Rockefeller Foundation at their Bellagio (Italy) Study Center for continued work on this research. In 2008 Prof. Jacobs was knighted by the French government; he was honored with the receipt of an L’Ordre des Palmes Académiques (Order of the Academic Palms), rank Chevalier (Knight). In recognition of his overall body of work, Prof. Jacobs was been selected to be included in the 64th (2010) edition of Who’s Who in America.

Since 2009, Prof. Jacobs has been invited to deliver keynote addresses in Tunisia (to the 2009 international training conference “Gouvernance Foncière et Usages des Ressources Naturelles,”); Germany (to the 2010 annual meeting of the International Academic Association on Planning, Law and Property Rights); at the University of Florida (to the 2010 annual Research Showcase of the College of Design, Construction and Planning); and at University of Windsor (Ontario), Canada (to the first inaugural, national conference on “Private Property, Planning and the Public Interest,” sponsored by the Faculty of Law in 2010).

In 2011 and 2012 Prof. Jacobs served as an invited Fellow at ZiF – Zentrum für interdisziplinäre Forschung (Center for Interdisciplinary Research), at the University of Bielefeld, Germany as part of a project on human rights and global social citizenship; he was the only north American invited to be part of the seven person international group. Also in 2011 Prof. Jacobs served as the John Bousfield Distinguished Visitor at the Program in Planning at the University of Toronto.  For the three year period 2012-2015 Prof.  Jacobs has been appointed as a Visiting Professor at the Institute for Management Research (Department of Geography, Planning and Environmental Studies) at Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Throughout each academic year he will participate in the instructional program through short visits that will allow him to undertake guest teaching, student supervision, and advising on curriculum and research programs; he will also develop collaborative research with colleagues. 

Professor Jacobs holds a joint appointment as Professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning and the Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. At UW-Madison since 1984, he has served as Chair of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning (1995-1998) and director of the University's Land Tenure Center (1999-2002), a cross college research, technical assistance and training institute that has worked in more 75 countries over a 45 year period on issues relating land ownership and use to social structure, economic development, political organization, and environmental sustainability.

Printable Biography (PDF)