Public good

First of all, the attempted request must be performed for the public good. The government initiating eminent domain must show that the "taking" is being done to serve the community's best interest. If the property owner is adamant on blocking any taking, he or she must effectively argue this element. If the government or entity shows that it meets this criterion, the other two normally follow quickly.

The most visible application of eminent domain is the taking of land to build transportation infrastructure, such as roads, highways and interstates. Such improvements often entail the taking and demolition of homes and buildings in the path of the thoroughfare. In 2001, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley announced an expansion of O'Hare airport that would require the taking and removal of several homes, stores and industrial facilities in a neighboring suburb.

Previously, the suburban governments surrounding the airport were able to use the state's police powers to limit the flights and possible expansion at O'Hare. With the growing demand and strain on air transportation, the trend has moved toward expansion as serving the greater good.

In some cases, the government can also take land to give it to private developers. This is often justified in that the intended development will help improve a neighborhood or community. For example, a city may take property from homeowners and absentee landlords in a blighted area and give it (or sell it at a major discount) to a developer, who is promising major improvements such as new housing to retail businesses.

Nevertheless, this can be controversial and has been successfully fought by property owners, especially when the government fails to demonstrate the public good being served.

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