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Land Use Law

What's in this Guide

Land Use is a relatively new area of law, forming as a distinct legal field in the early 20th century. Because of this, the scope of land use is new and diverse, beginning with planning and zoning, but extending to natural resource management and water use.

This guide is primarily focused on sources for researching general land use law, with some state-specific resources, and a few subtopics within the field.

Getting Started

Before diving into a research project, it's essential to have a strategy for how you will conduct your research. At the Law Library, we've developed a research worksheet that you can use to help organize the information you've been given and develop a plan for your research. Feel free to make copies and use it as you're given research assignments.

Need to find something on the web that has been taken down? Need to find out if something was on the web at some point? Try the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine. Using the Wayback Machine you can browse cached versions of webpages from the 1990s to today.

In addition to simply typing words into Google, there are a number of advanced search strategies you can use to narrow down your search results to just those that you need. Google Advanced has a much larger list of tips, but a few of the more useful are:

  • Use quotation marks

Quotation marks in Google are used not only for phrase searching, but also to turn off Google's default inclusion of synonyms.

  • Restrict your search to a specific site or domain

Using "site:" will restrict your search to just a specific website or a specific domain type. For example, if you're interested in looking only at .gov sites, include "site:gov" in your search. If you are interested in looking just at the GSU College of Law website, include "" in your search.

  • Restrict your search to a specific file type

Many reports and documents are posted online in PDF format, so it may be helpful to restrict your search to just those documents. You can do so by using the "filetype:" search term. To restrict to PDF documents, include "filetype:pdf" in your search. You can also restrict by other file types, like .docx or .xls.

Study Aids

GSU Law Student Reminder

Disclaimer: The views and opinions of the authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the State of Georgia, and shall not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes. Georgia State University College of Law and the authors of the works contained on this website do not assume or accept any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, currentness, or comprehensiveness of the content on this website. The content on this website does not in any manner constitute the issuance of legal advice or counsel. The information on this website is intended to provide resources that may aid the research of the topics presented, and are in no way a comprehensive list of sources one should consult on the topics presented. Please note that case law, statutory law, and administrative law may be modified and/or overturned. Additionally, because the laws vary between jurisdictions, the laws referred to herein may or may not be applicable to the law within the reader’s jurisdiction.