Amy A. Cotter

Director of Climate Strategies


Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

Now at our 75th Anniversary, the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy seeks to improve quality of life through the effective use, taxation, and stewardship of land. A non-profit private operating foundation, the Lincoln Institute researches and recommends creative approaches to land as a solution to economic, social, and environmental challenges. Through education, training, publications, and events, we integrate theory and practice to inform public policy decisions worldwide.

  • The six goals that motivate our work are:

  • reduced poverty and spatial inequality

  • functional land markets and reduced informality

  • low-carbon, climate-resilient communities and regions

  • sustainably managed land and water resources

  • efficient and equitable tax systems

  • fiscally healthy communities and regions

The Lincoln Foundation was founded in 1946 by John C. Lincoln, inventor and creator of Lincoln Electric Company. Lincoln was inspired by Henry George, who understood that land gets its value from the community—from railroads, streets, and other public goods. George and Lincoln believed that when people hold land idle for profit, it drains the economy of life and prevents people and businesses from achieving their potential. They believed that a land tax encourages people to put land to good use—for housing, farming, or business—or to sell it to someone else who will. David C. Lincoln took over after his father died in 1959, ultimately creating the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and expanding from grant making to teaching and research in 1974. We still work to improve and promote the property tax—a link to our roots. But to realize our mission we expanded into other practices that improve land use—city and regional planning, municipal finance, and land and water conservation. And we’re still firmly rooted in our founding ideas. Land is for shelter, food, transportation, public spaces, commerce, and nature. Land is too scarce to be used as a vehicle for idle investment.

The Lincoln Institute conducts research, training and technical assistance to help cities and regions prepare for climate change. We engage with a growing network of researchers and practitioners working with cities across the world to adopt new land policy approaches to adapt to or mitigate climate change.

For several years, the Lincoln Institute has commissioned research on a range of issues that sit at the intersection of climate change, land policy and finance in Latin America. A central theme in these research projects has been the effect of adaptation and conservation measures on the value of land and ways those changes in price could be used to finance additional climate resilience measures. Most recently, Lincoln commissions produced working papers on land-based financing approaches for green Infrastructure in Cali, Colombia, and Buenos Aires, Argentina. In the recent past, the Institute commissioned a two-part study (part 1 and part 2) on land policies, law, and climate change that explored legal frameworks and the application of land-based taxation toward building climate-resilient infrastructure in communities from Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia.

We currently are broadening this work through a global literature review of existing quantitative research on the effect climate change adaptations measures have on property values. Informed by this, we contemplate an additional RFP for original research that examines the intersection of climate change adaptation with other institute goals.

Visit, explore our publications and resources, and sign up to receive periodic communications in your areas of interest. We are eager to expand our networks and collaborations, please contact me directly to explore opportunities.

Our networks and communities of practice expose us to experts and innovations from different angles on city-level climate finance including city and scenario planning, climate science, land conservation, municipal finance, and urban economics.

Access to additional global networks with whom we can integrate our work—complementing or fortifying our work and theirs.

The Lincoln Institute can offer a thriving network of municipal finance experts delivering original research and training others in innovative aspects of municipal finance; a library of research and case studies.