In an economics context, land development is also sometimes advertised as land improvement or land amelioration. It refers to investments making land more usable by humans. For accounting purposes it refers to any variety of projects that increase the value of the property. Most are depreciable, but some land improvements are not able to be depreciated because a useful life cannot be determined. Home building and containment are two of the most common and the oldest types of development. In an urban context, land development furthermore includes:
Landowner or developers on any size of project will often want tomaximise profits, minimise risk and control cash flow. This "profit enhancement" means identifying and developing the best scheme for the local marketplace, whilst satisfying the local planning process. Development Analysis puts development prospects and the development process itself under the microscope, identifying where enhancements and improvements can be introduced. These improvements aim to align with best design practice, political sensitivities, and the inevitable social requirements of a project, with the overarching objective of increasing land values and profit margins on behalf of the landowner or developer. Development analysis can add significantly to the value of land and development, and as such is a crucial tool for landowners and developers. It is an essential step in Kevin A. Lynch's 1960 book The Image of the City, and is considered to be essential to realizing the value potential of land. The landowner can share in additional planning gain via an awareness of the land's development potential. This is done via a residual development appraisal or residual valuation. The residual appraisal calculates the sale value of the end product, and hypothetically deducts costs, including planning and construction costs, finance costs and developer's profit. The "residue", or leftover proportion, represents the land value. Therefore, in maximising the GDV, land value is concurrently enhanced. Land value is highly sensitive to supply and demand, build costs, planning and affordable housing contributions, and so on. Understanding the intricacies of the development system and the effect of "value drivers" can result in massive differences in the landowner's sale value.
New creation of farmland will rely on the conversion and development of previous forests, savannas or grassland. Recreation of farmland from wasteland, deserts or previous impervious surfaces is considerably less frequent because of the degraded or missing fertile soil in the latter. Starting from forests, land is made arable by assarting or slash-and-burn. Agricultural development furthermore includes:
While deleterious effects can be particularly visible when land is developed for industrial or mining usage, agro-industrial and settlement use can also have a massive and sometimes irreversible impact on the affected ecosystem. Examples of land restoration/land rehabilitation counted as land development in the strict sense are still rare. However, renaturation, reforestation, stream restoration may all contribute to a healthier environment and quality of life, especially in densely populated regions. The same is true for planned vegetation like parks and gardens, but restoration plays a particular role, because it reverses previous conversions to built and agricultural areas.
The environmental impact of land use and development is a substantial consideration for land development projects. On the local level an environmental impact report may be necessary. In the United States, federally funded projects typically require preparation of an environmental impact statement. The concerns of private citizens or political action committees can influence the scope, or even cancel, a project based on concerns like the loss of an endangered species’ habitat. In most cases, the land development project will be allowed to proceed if mitigation requirements are met. Mitigation banking is the most prevalent example, and necessitates that the habitat will have to be replaced at a greater rate than it is removed. This increase in total area helps to establish the new ecosystem, though it will require time to reach maturity.