Zoning, building codes, subdivision ordinances, and neighborhood
association rules are the most pervasive institutions affecting land use
in the USA, yet their impact on land use change and ecosystem services
and the distribution of these environmental goods and “bads” is highly
variable and not well understood[1]. The purpose of this working group
is to coordinate ongoing research on land use institutions within the
LTER network to enable cross-site comparison and development of a better
empirical and theoretical understanding of the interrelationships
amongst land use institutions, land use change, and ecosystem services. A
core group of interested participants representing BES, FCE, CAP, and
PIE began coordination of comparative land use institutions research at a
workshop at Arizona State University in the fall 2011 (Table 1). We
will expand the working group to other interested LTER scientists
through a workshop at the ASM.  Using a multi-scale analysis at the
parcel, neighborhood, and local government levels, we will assess land
use institution changes at selected sites using a framework of
sustainability and environmental justice.  We will address three primary
questions: 1) Policy change-How has the rationale of
zoning and planning changed over time for each of the sites?  How have
sustainability and other social-ecological concerns been incorporated?
2) Institutional change and land use change-How does
the implementation of land use institutions evolve and impact LUCC and
ecosystem services over time?  What social and ecological factors affect
the patterns observed? 3) Environmental goods and bads-Do
frequent instances of rezoning/variances produce significant
environmental disamenities (loss of canopy cover, urban heat island,
higher energy and water use, location of hazards)? Do neighborhoods with
less rezoning/fewer variances experience environmental amenities? Do
local land use institutions favor certain demographics, i.e. high-income
white communities?