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Definition of "Undeveloped Land"

By Matt Petryni ; Updated July 21, 2017
Forests, rangelands and wilderness preserves are often less affected by human development than urban areas.
forest image by DOLPHIN from Fotolia.com

Undeveloped land is usually an area that lacks the infrastructure, services and buildings that are often characterized as urban development. Often, undeveloped land is improved in the sense that buildings and infrastructure have altered its wild state. More rigorous definitions of undeveloped land may exclude working farms, ranges and forests, and include only wilderness preserves and natural areas.

Farm Land

Farm land is not developed for urban uses.
farm image by Richard McGuirk from Fotolia.com

Farm land is often included in the definition of undeveloped land. Under this definition, land is developed for urban uses like houses, businesses and industrial facilities. Urban development usually requires services like municipal water and sewer systems in order to support larger populations. Farm land isn't usually equipped with urban services, largely because fewer people live there.

Forest and Range Land

A considerable amount of undeveloped land is held by the government. This land is not equipped with the urban services needed to support houses and businesses. The government--through agencies like the Bureau of Land Management--conserves this land for the economic value of timber and pasture.

Preserves and Wilderness Areas

Other undeveloped land is set aside in its natural state. A stricter definition of undeveloped land may include only these areas. This land is managed to conserve recreational and ecological value, but is not usually used for its natural resources. Legislation like the Wilderness Act and National Park Service Organic Act sets aside this land for perpetual protection.


About the Author


Matt Petryni has been writing since 2007. He was the environmental issues columnist at the "Oregon Daily Emerald" and has experience in environmental and land-use planning. Petryni holds a Bachelor of Science of planning, public policy and management from the University of Oregon.