Rights to uncultivated land and social change (completed)

Illustrasjon: Colourbox.dk

About the project

This project is concerned with developments that challenge traditional Norwegian property law, prompting new thinking and necessitating both critical analytical and constructive research. The project comprises three elements constituting a unified whole:

  • Development of theory regarding rights in and regulation of real property
  • Management of uncultivated land: rights, duties, planning and allocation (Post doc/PhD project).
  • Studies of limited topics related to the management of land resources in rural and coastal areas.

The project seeks to expand the traditional property law perspective by conducting research across the borderline between private law and public law. It is carried out jointly by researchers in the Natural Resources Group. The main element is two PhD projects looking at private law regulation and organisation for small scale hydropower development and public law regulation of activities in uncultivated land more in general, respectively. Three international partners have been involved from the outset, and broader cooperation with international researchers and research institutions has been developed over time.


The objective of the project is to describe and analyse issues of rights relating to uncultivated land in rural areas in Norway, including coastal areas, in the light of current social and economic changes and development needs in these areas. The main emphasis is on different types of rights and organisation of rights, and the relationship between private rights in land and public regulation, in particular land use planning regulation.

The applied aspect of the project will shed light on the way established rights constructions, originating in a pattern of utilisation that is now obsolete, function in the face of new commercial and industrial activity and public regulation, and how new organisational forms are being developed and can be further improved.

The theoretical aspect of the project will focus particularly on the development of theory - nationally and not least internationally - relating to the content and role of various forms of the right of ownership.

Another aim of the project is to develop and extend the network of international contacts in the field of property rights and private and public management of natural resources.


The factual background of the project is that outlying regions in Norway are experiencing marked changes in social and industrial structure. On the one hand, traditional agriculture is undergoing a process of restructuring and, to a certain extent, downscaling that is entailing major changes in the use of agricultural land and, in particular, uncultivated land. At the same time, there is a growing desire for and need to utilise land resources in new ways.

The development of new industries in connection with agriculture, increased tourism, widespread construction of recreational homes, commercialisation of open-air activities with bigger facilities and heavier traffic, road construction and use of uncultivated land for windfarms and small power plants are some of the most important trends.

The market value of uncultivated land resources is increasing. This trend is encountering complex and, to some extent, unclear legal situations, that date back to bygone days.



The project is funded by the Research Council of Norway, through its two programmes Strategic strengthening of legal research (JUSISP) and AREAL.


The project has cooperation with several international scholars. In particular we should mention Professor Carol Rose, Yale Law School and the University of Arizona, USA, Professor Nigel Bankes, Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law Research Group at the University of Calgary, Canada, and Professor Erkki Hollo of the University of Helsinki.

Published June 25, 2012 3:40 PM - Last modified May 7, 2021 11:24 AM


Professor Endre Stavang, Department of private law