Tuesday, January 17, 2012
From Michael Allan Wolf comes the sad news that Charles M. Haar has passed away. Haar, the Louis D. Brandeis Professor Emeritus at Harvard Law School, was one of the true giants of legal scholarship and teaching in the fields of land use and local government. From the Harvard tribute:
Professor Emeritus Charles M. Haar ‘48, a pioneer in land-use law whose scholarship focused on laws and institutions of city planning, urban development and environmental issues, died on January 10, 2012. He was 91.
During his more than five-decade career, Haar influenced urban policy and planning throughout the country, drafted key legislation for inner city revitalization, developed influential legal theories to support equality of services for urban dwellers and access to suburbs, helped pioneer the modern environmental movement, and mentored a generation of scholars and activists.
“Charles Haar was a genuine pioneer who created new ways of making scholarship relevant to the improvement of the human condition through the improvement of the environment,” observed Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow. “He was a visionary leader in the field of land use law and urban planning with a focus on improving the lives of all Americans, regardless of race or economic status. His legacy includes major tenets of the modern-day environmental movement and the way we teach and study environmental law. It also includes the generations of students to whom he was a mentor and friend, and the contributions they made after learning from him. He will be deeply missed.”
Please read the whole thing for a full appreciation of Professor Haar's amazing contributions to teaching, scholarship, and service. He served the legal profession and the nation in numerous ways, from his WWII military service, to extensive participation in professional organizations, to service to presidential administrations and legislation-drafting. His scholarship has been incredibly influential. I am currently in the middle of reading his 1990 book Zoning and the American Dream: Promises Still to Keep (with Jerold S. Kayden) which is just one of his many important books, casebooks, and treatises. Testimony from his students and colleagues, such as Prof. Wolf, speaks to his deep humanity and profound influence as a teacher and mentor.
We are all in a great debt to Charles M. Haar as one of the pioneers of land use law in scholarship and practice. Professor Haar was instrumental in creating the field that we now know as land use law. "Land Use" has strong doctrinal and practical ties to property law, state & local government law, environmental law, and other fields; but it has only been because of the work of Professor Haar and his colleagues and students that Land Use Law has been recognized as its own separate field of study and practice in law, and as an important part of our society. May we all be inspired to serve by the example of Charles M. Haar.