Friday, January 15, 2010

Penalver & Katyal on Property Outlaws

Outlaws Eduardo M. Penalver (Cornell) and Sonia Katyal (Fordham) have posted on SSRN the front matter and introduction to their new book, Property Outlaws: How Squatters, Pirates, and Protesters Improve the Law of Ownership (Yale University Press, 2010).  Click on the picture for a link to the book on Amazon; here is the abstract to the SSRN posting:

Property Outlaws puts forth the intriguingly counterintuitive proposition that, in the case of both tangible and intellectual property law, disobedience can often lead to an improvement in legal regulation. The authors argue that in property law there is a tension between the competing demands of stability and dynamism, but its tendency is to become static and fall out of step with the needs of society.

The authors employ wide-ranging examples of the behaviors of “property outlaws” - the trespasser, squatter, pirate, or file-sharer-to show how specific behaviors have induced legal innovation. They also delineate the similarities between the actions of property outlaws in the spheres of tangible and intellectual property. An important conclusion of the book is that a dynamic between the activities of “property outlaws” and legal innovation should be cultivated in order to maintain this avenue of legal reform.

Matt Festa

January 15, 2010 in Books, Property, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Videos for 2009 Smart Growth Achievement Awards

From the folks at US EPA Smart Growth Program

The videos for the 2009 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement are
now available online!

These videos provide a direct look at why this year's winning
communities, from rural farmland to an urban downtown, make great places
to live, work and play. The videos include stunning shots of smart
growth in practice, as well as interviews with policy makers and local
citizens from each of the four award winners.

Congratulations again to the 2009 winners!

Overall Excellence in Smart Growth
Envision Lancaster County Comprehensive
Lancaster County Planning Commission, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Policies and Regulations
The City of Charlotte
Charlotte Department of Transportation, Charlotte, North Carolina

Built Projects
Parkside of Old Town
Chicago Housing Authority, FitzGerald Associates Architects, and Holsten
Real Estate Development Corporation, Chicago, Illinois

Smart Growth & Green Building
Tempe Transportation Center
City of Tempe and Architekton + Otak, Tempe, Arizona

Jamie Baker Roskie

January 14, 2010 in Community Design, Local Government, Planning, Smart Growth | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

UGA Conference on Human Rights and Climate Change

Here is a conference announcement from the Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law and The Dean Rusk Center

“International Human Rights and Climate Change”

 February 12, 2010,

at the University of Georgia School of Law in Athens, Georgia.

 Thomas Pogge, of Yale University, will present the keynote address: “Poverty, Climate Change, and Overpopulation,” exploring the extent to which the struggles to deal with these three phenomena are in competition with one another and/or synergistic, using a human rights standard as a common metric of assessment.

The day long conference will take the form of a moderated round table discussion, with a lunchtime keynote address.

Topics: The United Nations’ Process of Linking Human Rights and Climate Change; Potential Human Rights Effects of Proposed Climate Change Regime; Litigation— including Citizen Suits, Judicial Review, and Access to Information; Human Rights and Environmental Regulation; Climate Change Refugees.

The conference is slated to offer 5.5 MCLE Credits, including 1 Trial Practice and 1 Professionalism Credit.  

 Participants include: Prof. Peter Appel, University of Georgia; Prof. Dan Bodansky, University of Georgia; Prof. John Bonine, University of Oregon; Prof. Rebecca Bratspies, City University of New York; Prof. Harlan Cohen, University of Georgia; Prof. John Knox, Wake Forest University; Prof. Svitlana Kravchenko, University of Oregon; Ms. Elizabeth O’Sullivan, US EPA Region 4; Prof. Naomi Roht-Arriaza, University of California, Hastings College of Law; and Prof. Dinah Shelton, George Washington University.

More information can be found at:  If you have any further questions, please contact: Blake McDaniel, Executive Conference Editor, at: or (229) 522-0790.

Jamie Baker Roskie 

January 13, 2010 in Conferences, Environmental Justice, Environmental Law | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Daily Sprawl Videos...

Like most areas of the country, the Central Alabama River Region has suffered from the residential and commercial real estate problems.

To chronicle specific examples, I've begun a series of informal "windshield" tours of problem projects in our region.  The first in the series is a lifestyle center in a suburb north of Montgomery. 

This city incentivized the development (just as the crisis was hitting in 2007), in part, by adding new infrastructure.  To pay for that infrastructure, news reports indicate that the city issued bonds--to be paid back through the increased sales tax revenue that the city would realize from the new stores.

The problem?  The vast majority of the lifestyle center never found tenants.  The big question facing the city will be how do they pay back the bonds if the lifestyle center remains this dormant.

Here's the video:

--Chad Emerson, Faulkner U.

January 12, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Journal of Land, Resources, and Environmental Law

Bellemare on The Productivity Impacts of De Jure and De Facto Land Rights

Marc F. Bellemare (Duke--Pubic Policy & Economics) has posted The Productivity Impacts of De Jure and De Facto Land Rights.  The abstract:

There is an important literature on the causal relationship between the quality of institutions and macroeconomic performance. This paper studies this link at the micro level by looking at the productivity impacts of land rights. Whereas previous studies used proxies for soil quality and instruments to control for the endogeneity of land titles, the data used here include precise measures of soil quality, which allow controlling for both the heterogeneity between plots and the endogeneity of land titles. Results indicate that de jure rights (i.e., titles) have no impact on productivity and de facto rights have heterogeneous productivity impacts. Productivity is higher for plots on which landowners report having the right to plant trees, but lower for plots on which landowners report having the right to build a tomb and the right to lease out. Moreover, while the right to lease out increases both the likelihood that the landowner has the intention to seek a title for her plot and her willingness to pay to do so, whether her children will enjoy similar rights on the plot has the opposite effect.

Matt Festa

January 11, 2010 in Property Rights, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

South Carolina Counties Face-Off Over Environmental Issues...

I ran across this recent story from the local Bluffton, South Carolina paper on one of my listservs.  The inter-county nature of the issues caught my attention--especially with the state legislature apparently getting involved:

In May, Herbkersman introduced a bill to strengthen Beaufort County’s legal hand in the face of development runoff from neighboring counties.

The bill, H. 4020, was co-sponsored by Reps. Richard Chalk, R-Hilton Head, Shannon Erickson, R-Beaufort, and Curtis Brantley, a Democrat who represents Jasper County and part of Beaufort County.

The bill was sent to the Senate, where it awaits action. The legislation would allow Beaufort County to sue Jasper, Colleton and Hampton counties if their traffic and storm water runoff affect the quality of life in Beaufort County.

One interesting things about the dynamic in this matter is that, as the article discusses, Beaufort County is a fairly well-off county while most of the others are among the economically-weakest in the state.

This reminds me somewhat of a paper that one of my students wrote last semester in Land Planning and Development that discussed the law, equity, and ethical issues facing counties and cities with large landfills and other waste dumps. Apparently, in pursuit of even small amounts of revenue, some impoverished jurisdictions are more willing to accept projects that could have longer-term negative effects.

I'm not saying that this story and that issue present a perfect analogy. But, in today's tough economic times, it will be interesting to see how much a jurisdiction is willing to bend long-term goals to generate short-term results.

--Chad Emerson, Faulkner, U.

January 11, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)