Saturday, September 25, 2010
On his New Geography blog for Forbes, Joel Kotkin has an essay on why he thinks there will be a resurgence in the housing market starting later this decade: Why Housing Will Come Back. He begins with a historical observation:
Few icons of the American way of life have suffered more in recent years than homeownership. Since the bursting of the housing bubble, there has been a steady drumbeat from the factories of futurist punditry that the notion of owning a home will, and, more importantly, should become out of reach for most Americans.
Before jumping on this bandwagon, perhaps we would do well to understand the role that homeownership and the diffusion of property plays in a democracy. From Madison and Jefferson through Lincoln’s Homestead Act, the most enduring and radical notion of American political economy has been the diffusion of property.
Kotkin then notes that in recent years, and especially in light of the mortgage crisis, the single-family homeownership ideal has been criticized from both the right (government overpromotion) and the left (sprawl, new urbanism, environmentalism). His response:
Yet for all the problems facing the housing market, homeownership–not exclusively single-family houses–is not likely to fade dramatically for the foreseeable future. The most compelling reason has to do with continued public preference for single-family homes, suburbs and the notion of owning a “piece” of the American dream. This is why that four out of every five homes built in America over the past few decades, notes urban historian Witold Rybczynski, have less to do with government policy than “with buyers’ preferences, that is, What People Want.
Kotkin goes on to explain several reasons why he believes housing will come back, after adjusting to the market correction imposed by the economic recession. Why I find most interesting is that his prediction is based less on economics or law than on demographics:
As boomers age, the two big groups that will drive housing will be the young Millenial generation born after 1983 as well as immigrants and their offspring. Sixty million strong, the millenials are just now entering their late 20s. They are just beginning to start hunting for houses and places to establish roots. Generational chroniclers Morley Winograd and Mike Hais, describe millenials in their surveys as family-oriented young people who value homeownership even more than their boomer parents. They also are somewhat more likely to choose suburbia as their “ideal place to live” than the previous generation.
These tendencies are even more marked among immigrants and their children. Already a majority of immigrants live in suburbia, up from 40% in the 1970s. They are attracted in many cases by both jobs and the opportunity to buy a single-family home. For an immigrant from Mumbai, Hong Kong or Mexico City, the “American dream” is rarely living in high density surrounded by concret
An interesting take. For more writings on urban theory from the center-right perspective (e.g., Why we Have to Learn to Love the Subdivision--Again) see Kotkin's New Geography website.
September 25, 2010 in Density, Development, Environmentalism, Housing, Mortgage Crisis, New Urbanism, Planning, Real Estate Transactions, Sprawl, Suburbs, Urbanism | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Friday, September 24, 2010
Robert W. Adler (Utah) has posted Resilience, Restoration, and Sustainability: Revisiting the Fundamental Principles of the Clean Water Act, Washington U. Journal of Law and Policy, Vol. 32, p. 139 (2010). The abstract:
Michele Alexandre (Mississippi) has posted Navigating the Topography of Inequality Post-Disaster: A Proposal for Remedying Past Geographic Segregation During Rebuilding, a chapter from the book Law and Recovery from Disaster: Hurricane Katrina, edited by Robin Paul Malloy for the Ashgate series on Law, Property, and Society (2009). The abstract:
Thursday, September 23, 2010
The Department of Justice this week issued a report on its decade of enforcement actions since the enactment of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). From the press release:
RLUIPA protects places of worship and other religious uses of property from discrimination and unreasonably burdensome regulation in zoning and landmarking law, and also protects the religious freedom of persons confined to institutions such as prisons, mental health facilities and state-run nursing homes. RLUIPA was enacted by both houses of Congress unanimously and signed into law on Sept. 22, 2000. The law was a response to concerns that places of worship, particularly those of religious and ethnic minorities, were often discriminated against in zoning matters.
The report illustrates that in the 10 years since its enactment, RLUIPA has aided thousands of individuals and institutions from a wide range of faith traditions through Department of Justice lawsuits, private lawsuits, and successful efforts to achieve voluntary compliance.
More information can be found in the full Report on the Tenth Anniversary of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.
Daniel H. Cole (Indiana-Indianapolis, Law) and Elinor Ostrom (Indiana-Bloomington, Political Science) have posted The Variety of Property Systems and Rights in Natural Resources--An Introduction. The abstract:
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Thanks to John Bonine for the heads' up about this:
Florida A&M University (FAMU) College of Law and the FAMU Center for Environmental Equity and Justice invite you to attend "New Directions in Environmental Justice, An Environmental Law and Justice Symposium," Friday, November 12, 2010, 8:30 a.m. on the law school campus, 201 Beggs Avenue, Orlando, Florida 32801. The symposium will feature an overview of the latest international, national, state, regional and local developments in Environmental Justice. Continuing Legal Education credits (CLE) are available.Speakers
Opening Keynote: Dr. Beverly Wright, Founder and Director of Deep South Center for Environmental Justice in New Orleans
Luncheon Keynote: Mr. Quentin Pair, Esq., U.S. Department of Justice
Closing Keynote: Prof. Maxine Burkett, University of Hawaii School of Law
The cost is $50.00 for the General Public; $35.00 for FAMU Alumni and Environmental Law Attorneys. To learn more, visit http://law.famu.edu. Or, contact Professor Randall Abate, event coordinator, at Randall.firstname.lastname@example.org, or at 407-254-4044.
Jamie Baker Roskie
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Wayne Batchis has published Enabling urban sprawl: revisiting the Supreme Court's seminal zoning decision Euclis v. Ambler in the 21st century in the Virginia Journal of Social Policy & the Law. Here's the abstract:
Today, many urbanists look back at our built environment with bemusement. The outcome of over fifty years of post-war suburbanization has fundamentally reshaped America's manmade landscape. From coast to coast, amorphous urban sprawl envelops America as far as the eye can see - and scholars have just begun to struggle to understand its causes and assess its impact. In this article I examine the phenomenon of urban sprawl and its relationship to exclusionary zoning. I argue that the Supreme Court in 1926 played a key role in enabling sprawl though its permissive zoning jurisprudence in Euclid v. Ambler. Had the Court scrutinized America's early zoning laws with greater rigor, these laws could have been deemed constitutionally suspect - effectively stopping sprawl in its tracks. I conclude by exploring four significant flaws of the Euclid decision in light of the modern epidemic of sprawl.
Jamie Baker Roskie
One of the biggest losers in the spread of sprawl has been the good ole' neighborhood school. If you're like me, you might have walked or biked to elementary school with other kids from the neighborhood.
Unfortunately, the era of crossing guards and bike racks has suffered as school systems moved toward more remote school locations that were not legally and/or safely accessible by walking or biking.
A major driver in this change was the adoption of minimum school site acreage laws by numerous states. Under these laws, a new school site had to be composed of a minimum number of acres in order to be built. Oftentimes, this "minimum" was so high that smaller school sites embedded in neighborhoods were not legal as a matter of right.
Awhile back, I wrote a law review article that discussed this issue and the damaging effects it has had on student health and academic performance (among other things). Fortunately, the trend is now away from minimum site acreage requirements (though, here in Alabama, the Department of Education refuses to get on-board with this and remains stuck in the past on this important issue).
One example is in South Carolina where the abandonment of large minimum acreage standards has seen the return of a neighborhood school in at least one community.
Chad Emerson, Faulkner U.