Thursday, February 3, 2011

Groundhog Day 2011

Sorry I'm a couple days late with this--blame the weather.  If you've been following the blog you know that I like to do a holiday post relating to land use.  So on Wednesday I asked my students to play a game of "what-can't-Festa-turn-into-a-land-use-issue."  Here's what they came up with:

- For a couple of years, PETA has protested the whole Groundhog Day ritual.  While they are mostly concerned with animal rights, it is likely that the legal relief they seek would have to do with regulating land use.

- Snow & winter weather.  During a week where so much of the country is snowed under, it seems weird that Punxsutawney Phil is cheerily declaring spring "just around the corner."  Regardless, lots of cities, airports, and business centers are still shut down for snowy weather.  While I grew up in the north, I understand the economics of snow removal from a southern perspective too.  Last winter I tried to suggest the economic reasons why southern and Texan cities take different approaches from the north.

- Groundhog Day the movie.  An important commentary on how we choose to live in our communities.  Bill Murray is the arrogant city slicker who looks down at the rubes in the small town, until he comes to realize the importance of the small-town community values in Punxsutawney. 

So once again my students have helped me make a land use issue out of a holiday.  But right now the larger issue is the weather, and I hope you all stay warm.

Matt Festa

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