Lambda Alpha International

LAI logo

LAI is the international network for distinguished professionals in all fields related  to the use and development of land.

LAI is committed to promoting best practices and making a difference in our communities.

The 2,000-plus members of LAI make valuable connections locally and with peers worldwide.  LAI has a growing network of Chapters in North America, Europe, and the Middle East.

Our local Chapters offer a variety of programs with top speakers, relevant forums, and events.

Lambda Alpha International’s members represent a diverse group of professional disciplines in fields related to the ownership and use of land and buildings.  We invite new members interested in contributing their expertise and experience to our ongoing discourse and activities.  Membership is by invitation only.

How It All Began

Lambda Alpha was established as a land economics society at Northwestern University in Evanston Illinois, in the autumn of 1930. Its purposes included the encouragement of the study of land economics in universities; the promotion of a closer affiliation between its members and the professional world of land economics; and the furtherance of the highest ideals of scholarship and honesty in business and the universities.


Richard T. Ely
1854–1943

The inspiration for the society was Professor Richard T. Ely, who is commonly referred to as the “Father of Land Economics.” Professor Ely taught land economics at Northwestern University and the University of Wisconsin and was the first honorary member of Lambda Alpha. Ely was also active with Presidential economics; he was a close friend of Theodore Roosevelt, he was President Wilson’s advsor for his PhD and many of FDR’s New Deal policies were influenced by Ely.

The promotion of a closer affiliation and liaison between the students and teachers of land economics in the Universities and the individuals in the business world who utilize the principles of land economics in their business activities or profession proved to be an important and timely development. In the years that have elapsed since its founding, Lambda Alpha has evolved from a university oriented society into an honorary professional society whose members are chosen solely by invitation on the basis of an outstanding contribution to the advancement of the knowledge or practice of land economics, or on the basis of achievements in a field that is directly related to land economics. This change in the composition of membership was subsequently reflected in a change of name to Lambda Alpha International and a change of description to “an honorary land economics society.”

Lambda Alpha now has a number of chapters in various key cities in the United States, Canada, England, and Spain and members at-large in many other parts of the world.  Its membership is a virtual “Who’s Who in Land Economics” and represents an “International Hall of Fame” honoring men and women who have distinguished themselves in land economic related activities.

In 1991, Lambda Alpha returned to its roots by forming the Lambda Alpha International Student Association (LAISA).  LAISA chapters are forming at universities and colleges throughout the United States, Canada, and overseas.  This movement has stimulated new interest in the education and land economics at the university level and forged a stronger connection between students and professionals.