Sunday, January 22, 2012
American's long love affair with the evergreen, crew-cut, weed and pest free "Industrial" front lawn has resulted in untold costs on some of the nation's most cherished waterways, including Puget Sound, the Great Lakes, and the Chesapeake Bay. While this Article examines the legal regimes, primarily public law and neighborhood or community norms, that arguably have helped to "brown" the front lawn and make it environmentally unsustainable, it also argues that law can be a force to "green" it. By virtue of its effects on the watershed and marine ecosystems, the front lawn links water and land. This Article ultimately suggests that localities consider the front lawn’s effects on marine ecosystems and water management as a starting point for crafting land use law and policy. Arguably, therefore, land use law governing the front lawn has become part of the new watershed law.
This is a very interesting paper from my fellow Houston land use prof. I saw Asmara present this at ALPS (there's still a grace period to register, I think!) and as an invited presenter at South Texas. Understanding the normative place of the lawn in American society is absolutely crucial when you draw the connection to the watershed health of big places like Puget Sound, the Great Lakes, and the Chesapeake; and smaller watersheds all over. Check it out.