Saturday, January 8, 2011

Two New Planning/Design Competitions...

For those interested in land and building development award competitions, here is a new one from the Delaware Valley Green Building Council and another one from the International Living Building Institute.

Both appear to emphasize the importance of building and development that embraces sustainable practices.

Good luck and let us know if you win the prize!

Chad Emerson, Faulkner

January 8, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Housing and Community Development, 4th ed.

Carolina Academic Press has just released the 4th edition of Housing and Community Development: Cases and Materials (Amazon has a substantial preview). Barbara Bezdek (Maryland) has joined the already prominent list of eight community development and law professor editors.  The first revision in more than eleven years clearly bears the imprint of Barbara’s hard work.  New excerpted material puts the very timely topic of revitalization front and center and includes post-Kelo redevelopment, vacant building receivership (full disclosure, this one’s mine), tenants of foreclosure propertiesPeñalver and Katyal on Property Outlaws.   

 Jim K.

January 8, 2011 in Affordable Housing, Books, Community Economic Development, Development, Economic Development, Eminent Domain, Federal Government, Financial Crisis, Housing, Planning, Property, Property Rights, Race, Redevelopment, Sustainability, Takings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Van Erp on European Property Law

Sjef J. H. M. Van Erp (Maastricht University) has posted European Property Law: A Methodology for the Future, from EUROPEAN PRIVATE LAW - CURRENT STATUS AND PERSPECTIVES, Schulze/Schulte-Nölke, eds., Sellier European Law Publishers, Munich, Forthcoming.  The abstract:

In this contribution to a collection of essays it is attempted to answer the question what the future of European property law could be. Based upon a more general analysis of the foundations of the property law traditions in Europe some examples are given to show that, although at a fairly abstract level the various traditions indeed share a common foundation, the laws of the Member States nevertheless differ considerably on a more concrete, technical level. A further problem are developments such as the creation of "virtual" property, which force us to critcially rethink traditional property law.The final conclusion is that there is a future for European property law, especially if we follow a functionalist-pragmatic approach as can be seen in ECJ case law, but that we should move with great care and take our time for reflection. We should avoid that European model law, such as the DCFR, becomes an initiative that practising lawyers do not really care about.

Matt Festa

January 8, 2011 in Books, Comparative Land Use, Property, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Groves Award Nominations...

As I mentioned before, Ken Groves, Montgomery's former planning director (a close friend to many of us and a visionary leader), passed away last fall after a brief illness.

The Congress for the New Urbanism and the Transect Codes Council is accepting nominations for the inaugural "Groves Award" through January 15th.  The award is designed to recognize excellence in sustainable development and planning.  I am one of the jurors this year and will present the award with Ken's wife at this year's Congress for the New Urbanism gathering in Madison, Wisconsin.

Here's a short article describing the award along with a link to the nomination form:

The Transect Codes Council has established a new award in honor of the late Ken Groves, who did path-breaking work on codes in Montgomery, Alabama, during his tenure as the city's planning director. The Groves Award will be given to a public official in recognition of superior effort "in furthering the principles of transect-based policy and planning, providing exemplary leadership and vision."

The inaugural Groves Award will be presented by the Council and the Congress for the New Urbanism during CNU 19 in Madison, Wisconsin, in June 2011. Groves died Sept. 28, as reported here in New Urban News.

Award nominations must be submitted by January 15. The nomination form is available here.

If you know of a good candidate, please nominate them for this new annual award.

Chad Emerson, Faulkner

January 7, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Teaching Property and Pre-Columbian Land Use

I’m getting ready to start teaching Johnson v. M’Intosh in Property on Monday.  I like the choice by the Dukeminier book website to look at the Iroquois three-crop agrarian culture to challenge the hunter-gatherer generalization about Native American land use; but, I think the point about the variety of Native relationships to land could be strengthened by showing just how closely some indigenous land tenure systems resembled European feudalism. 


My own law-school-days study of Aztec land ownership showed me a complex scheme of plot allotments to small family groups with other parcels set aside for the economic benefit of aristocratic, military and clerical castes.  Iroquois and Huron farming economies also depended on allotment to female clan members.  The historical record strongly controverts Locke’s defense of acquisition by discovery/conquest. 


I would love to hear about anyone bringing Pre-Columbian land use patterns into their teaching or writing.  I think it offers many possibilities for teaching on sustainability, female land tenure and the fundamental connection between how we get our food and how we relate to land.


Jim K.


January 7, 2011 in Agriculture, Comparative Land Use, Food, Property Rights, Property Theory, Sustainability | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Land Bank Conference

'Tis the season for session proposal deadlines.  My friends at the Center for Community Progress  (f/k/a the National Vacant Properties Campaign) have sent me this reminder about the upcoming Land Bank Conference in Detroit, MI from June 5-7, 2011.

The submission deadline for session proposals for the 2011 Land Bank Conference is January 15, 2011.  Do not miss this opportunity to present your successes, ideas, and expertise to key stakeholders from across the country as we move the land banking initiative forward. 

The 2011 Land Bank Conference is June 5-7, 2011 at the Motor City Casino Hotel in Detroit, Michigan. 


Key Dates

Submissions Due 
January 15, 2011

Acceptance Notification
February 28, 2011
For additional information regarding session proposals please contact our office at (877) 542-4842 ext. 20 or by email at
Jim K.

James J. Kelly, Jr.
Asst. Prof. of Law
University of Baltimore
Visiting Professor of Law
Washington & Lee

January 7, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Creative Participation

Here in the UK I'm currently finalising a research projects with colleagues who are experts in creative participation and community development. It will take some time to discover whether or not we're awarded the grant  but in the process of writing the application I've re-discovered some familiar favourites. 

The first is a project by CABE, the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, which is about to lose its funding due to the new Government's austerity measures and the 'bonfire of the quangos'. CABE is highly rated by those in the built environment and has carried out some ground breaking working engaging local communities in thinking about and contributing to their own local built environments.

One notable project is a short film about Beauty where residents of Sheffield (a city in the North of England with a longstanding industrial heritage and a vibrant and diverse local community) were asked what they considered to be beautiful in their local environment. One memorable part of the film considers the beauty of a mosque as seen from a hill, looking down on the historic centre of Sheffield below.

A second and extremely lighthearted attempt to engage particularly young people in planning and land use processes was this short video performed by a local Councillor who was once a member of the Monster Raving Looney Party (who regularly field candidates in elections) and is also a local radio DJ. The video is a spoof of a familiar car commercial that was cheap to produce and reached a wide audience. As the youtube comments after the video show, this is a much less formal way to engage and can involve residents who otherwise have little interest in writing letters or attending meetings through formal participatory processes.

Are there any other examples of creative participation out there?

Antonia Layard

January 7, 2011 in Aesthetic Regulation, Humorous, Local Government, Planning, Urbanism | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Mixon & McGlynn on Zoning, Planning, Chaos, & Complexity Theory

John Mixon (Houston) and Kathleen McGlynn (Germer Gartz) have posted A New Zoning and Planning Metaphor: Chaos and Complexity Theory, Houston Law Review, Vol. 42, p. 1221 (2006).  The abstract:

The Standard Zoning Enabling Act (SZEA) empowers municipalities to adopt zoning regulations “in accordance with a comprehensive plan,” This Article argues that, contrary to the assumptions underlying the enabling act, planners and local governments are philosophically incapable of creating an ideal, preplanned urban environment. Land use is a nonlinear, complex, adaptive, dynamical system that cannot be analyzed, predicted, and controlled by a linear cause-and-effect formula, such as “plan, then zone.” As a complex system, land use exhibits characteristics of chaos, emergence, and catastrophe, with the result that actual development patterns cannot be quantified, calculated, or predicted. Complex systems, though not predictable, can be managed. The article proposes creation and maintenance of an accessible public display of actual land uses to allow planners and non-planners alike to find and project patterns of development and decay, and to make management and development decisions on the basis of information, not abstract goal statements, maps, and adopted plans.

Matt Festa

January 7, 2011 in Development, Local Government, Planning, Property Theory, Scholarship, Zoning | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Mulvaney on The New Judicial Takings Construct

Timothy M. Mulvaney (Texas Wesleyan) has posted The New Judicial Takings Construct, forthcoming on the Yale Law Journal Online.  The abstract:

In Stop the Beach Renourishment, Inc. v. Florida Department of Environmental Protection, a four-Justice plurality endorsed a novel theory that would make the Takings Clause applicable to a wide collection of state court interpretations of state property law. Writing for the plurality, Justice Scalia declared that a state court’s opinion finding that an "established" property right "no longer exists" may amount to an unconstitutional taking. The opinion draws on two fundamental threads of Justice Scalia’s property jurisprudence: the first is the notion of property as a pre-political, immutable partition between individual interests and permissible government action; the second is a general distrust for the state courts that are tasked with declaring these individual property rights.

This Article has two primary purposes. First, it compares the judicial takings standard established by the plurality to previous discussions of federal constitutional review of state court property declarations, both in prior judicial decisions and in the academic literature. Second, it considers whether the plurality’s standard could be interpreted as applicable not only to state court decisions that allegedly result in a private-to-public reassignment of property, as the petitioners in Stop the Beach Renourishment claimed, but also to two additional instances: (i) adjudications of property disputes between two private parties or (ii) any allegedly improper judicial change in non-property areas of law where damages would serve as the remedy. The Article concludes that the plurality’s judicial takings standard arguably is inclusive of more state court rulings than any standard presented by earlier courts and commentators. Depending upon the breadth of its reach, this standard could serve to chill the ordinary operation of the common law system as responsive to changing conditions.

An excellent contribution to the discussion of property theory after Stop the Beach.

Matt Festa

January 6, 2011 in Beaches, Caselaw, Coastal Regulation, Constitutional Law, Property Rights, Property Theory, Scholarship, State Government, Takings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Women Only Public Transportation

Here's a really interesting article about public transportation segregated by sex.  This concept had never crossed my mind before I read this piece, but in many cases around the world women-only transport is saving women from sexual assault and helping them maintain gainful employment and educational access.  As the article points out, the bigger issue is keeping women safe in the entire public realm.  Still, it's an innovative idea that works in our still imperfect world.

Jamie Baker Roskie

January 6, 2011 in Transportation | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


I've been moonlighting since our planning director suddenly passed away this fall (he was a close friend to many of us including the law school).

While teaching remains my first love, it has been a fascinating experience.

Chad Emerson

January 6, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Municipal Bike Sharing Programs...

With gas prices creeping back past $3.00 per gallon, individual travel by individual car is increasingly expensive.

If this costly gas trend continues, then it wouldn't be a surprise to see bike-sharing programs like this new one in Miami increase in number:

Starting in February, users will be able to check out a bike with the swipe of a membership or credit card at any location and return it to any other station. By the time build-out is finished this spring, the city will be dotted with closely spaced stations consisting of a rack of self-locking silver-and-blue bikes and a bright green, solar-powered kiosk. On South Beach, stations will be available within roughly a couple of blocks of any spot.

Officials with the city and DecoBike -- as the program has been dubbed -- describe it as a low-cost, emission-free transit system that will make it a cinch for residents and tourists to get around the Beach without a car.

``It's green transit,'' said DecoBike partner Colby Reese. ``You don't have to drive four blocks to lunch. It's a lifestyle.''

DecoBike will run the system and is footing the start-up cost of $4 million, Reese said. The city, which is providing sidewalk and street space for the stations, will share in the profits, which would come from memberships, rentals and some limited advertising on bike baskets.


Bike-sharing programs -- made possible by high-tech rental kiosks, specially designed bikes and fast wireless communication -- have sprouted rapidly around the world since the French city of Lyon opened the first successful modern system in 2005.

The true proving ground was car-crazy Paris, whose ad-supported Velib system, inaugurated in 2007, has proven massively popular. After overcoming initial problems with theft and vandalism, the Velib program has been embraced by Parisians; its 45,000 bikes have generated rentals in the millions.

Equally successful systems operate in Barcelona and Montreal, which has the largest in North America. Montreal's Bixi system, run by the municipal parking authority, has contracted to install bike-share programs in Boston and London. Bike-sharing programs have also spread to Latin America, with one of the largest in Mexico City, and Asia.

In the United States, only Washington, D.C., and Minneapolis have installed bike-sharing programs of a size comparable to DecoBike's, though they cover larger geographical areas. Washington's 110-station Capital Bikeshare system, for instance, extends into a portion of suburban Arlington, Va.

Chad Emerson, Faulkner

January 5, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Upcoming Conference at Pace - Call for Presentations

From Patricia Salkin at Albany:

Save The Date and Call for Presentations

May 5, 2011 at Pace Law School in White Plains, New York

Practically Grounded – Best Practices for Skill Building in Teaching Land Use, Environmental, and Sustainable Development Law

This conference – co-sponsored by the Center for Excellence in Law Teaching and the Government Law Center of Albany Law School and the Land Use Law Center of Pace Law School – offers professors an opportunity to showcase and learn about context-based learning strategies in these dynamic practice areas.  Due to the community-based nature of proposed land use projects and environmental disputes and the fast-paced development of litigation and policy formulation at all levels of government, opportunities abound to take students into public and private practice arenas and to bring practitioners and policy makers into the classroom.

You are invited to submit a proposal for making a presentation on skill building in law school courses on these subjects at this day-long conference.  Authors of selected proposals will present at this event and be given an opportunity to submit papers and essays that will be published by the Pace Environmental Law Review online.  Presentation and paper proposals should contain no more than 150 words and should be submitted by Tuesday, January 18th to:

Professor John R. Nolon, Counsel
Land Use Law Center
Pace Law School
78 North Broadway
White Plains, NY  10603

For more information, contact Professor John Nolon at Pace Law School (914) 422-4090 or Professor Patricia Salkin at Albany Law School (

I'm sure this will be a fantastic conference - I encourage you to submit a proposal and attend!

Jamie Baker Roskie

January 5, 2011 in Conferences, Environmental Law, New York, State Government, Sustainability, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

In Between Things...

Happy New Year to everyone! 

For this land use prof, it's been a wild start so far.  We travelled to the Grand Canyon last week and soon learned what 30 inches of snow falling in less than 48 hours looks like.  Fortunately, we made it safely back.

After turning in grades this week though, my wife and I are off to Ethiopia for our first of two trips related to the pending adoption of our daughter (a beautiful 4 month old girl). 

So, posting will be irregular but, in the theme of things, here's an interesting Wiki on land law in Ethiopia and a short history of land use in the Grand Canyon

Two very interesting, very historical, and (hopefully) very different places in their weather next week!

Chad Emerson, Faulkner

January 4, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

CSU Clinic Helps Rescue Distressed Houses

News from Kermit Lind at Cleveland State:

An Associated Press story on how nonprofits are collaborating with banks to rescue distressed houses for productive use and owner-occupancy shows what the UDLC's clients are doing in Cleveland.  Nonprofits of various types all around the country are finding ways to make deals with banks to acquire houses before the market of absentee investors and speculators can abuse them. 

The Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization rescued more than 72 houses on Cleveland's west side.  It and other neighborhood-based nonprofit clients of the UDLC have been leaders in this effort for several years.   The nonprofit Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization Corporation is raising the capacity for recycling housing all over the county.  

Students in clinical practice are providing legal services to facilitate these transactions and the rehabilitation work.  They also participate in the development and advocacy of public policies and programs needed to stem the tide of abandonment and nuisance conditions that threaten the beneficial results of the good work described in the news report.  

Here is a link to the report

Thanks for the update, Kermit!

Jamie Baker Roskie

January 4, 2011 in Housing, Land Trust, Property, Real Estate Transactions, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Salkin and Lavine on Zoning for Fraternities & Sororities

Patricia E. Salkin (Albany) and Amy Lavine (Albany) have posted Zoning for Off-Campus Fraternity and Sorority Houses, published in the Zoning and Planning Law Report, Vol. 33, No. 11, 2010.  The abstract:

This article discusses how communities across the country can employ various land use planning and zoning techniques to ensure that the encroachment of off-campus student housing into adjacent residential neighborhoods (specifically fraternity houses and sorority houses) does not negatively impact the character of the community.

Many colleges are in places that are either too dense or too rural to have many options for student housing off campus, and of course, those toga parties can be a contentious neighborhood problem.  This article will certainly be helpful for practitioners.  I might also consider teaching it.  It's short, readable, and provides a good overview of basic concepts (zoning, special use, nonconforming use, permission as of right, etc.) and touches on certain issues (parking, the "family," affordable housing, town-gown relations) that are important in land use.  Furthermore, it might provide an example of a land use problem that students who are short on real world experience can understand.  Some students who haven't had a job, puchased a home, etc. might still have a land use story from their days back at Tappa Kegga Dei.  Plus, it would be a great opportunity show gratuitous clips/insert jokes from Animal House.

Matt Festa

January 3, 2011 in Affordable Housing, Housing, Local Government, Parking, Politics, Property Rights, Scholarship, Teaching, Zoning | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)