The paper aims to explore the possibilities to enhance the efficiency of land use, considering the evolution of land take (LT), and proposes the use of public value capture (PVC) instruments in selected differently experienced countries. This answers two fundamental questions. How is the concept of LT positioned in relation to the environmental policy of Europe? Which PVC instruments could stimulate more efficient land use? The aim of this article is to identify which tools can guide the transformations of the urban environment by promoting more efficient land use. These tools have been identified in the mechanisms for capturing value as they can pursue the goal of a more attractive net LT. For these reasons, the article initially analyzes the spread of the problem of land consumption, at a European level, showing how this phenomenon is very diversified not only between individual states, but also within each nation. In addition, the knowledge system to define the main initiatives and actions aimed at orienting urban development in the direction of reducing land consumption is highlighted. Subsequently, the theoretical framework concerning the issues relating to the capture of public value in urban planning operations is illustrated. The case studies representing the various European contexts are then introduced, and for each case the dynamics of urban development were analyzed. It has been done in relation to the evolution of the regulatory apparatus of territorial governance and its transformations. On the basis of this analysis, indicators have been defined. Their goal is to allow comparing the results that emerged from the case study analysis, which would otherwise have been inconsistent. In this way, it is possible to demonstrate how land use is more efficient in countries where PVC tools are used systemically and how these tools make it easier to guide urban transformations in line with the principles of sustainable development.