The Earth has a limited amount of land (unlike human population which is expanding quickly). Land is quite usually considered a valuable asset. In modern societies land is considered to be owned, though this concept did not exist in many indigenous and traditional societies. When someone owns land, they are able to exercise a good deal of power in choosing how the land is used. However, the legal rights which a land owner can exercise varies by jurisdiction. In countries where land-owners have more protections there is a greater incentive to invest in and develop the land. In medieval Europe and in some modern socialist countries, land has been held in common, that is owned by a community at large rather than an individual or single legal entity.

Land can be put to many uses, such as supporting buildings like houses or factories, supporting business, green spaces, and farming. The particular uses available for a certain parcel of land, in a certain jurisdiction will be subject to certain regulations such as building codes and zoning laws.

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