Friday, June 29, 2012

Casey's four approaches to mapping

This summer I've been dipping into philosopher Edward S. Casey's (SUNY Stonybrook) work.  In his 2005 book, Earth Mapping:  Artists Reshaping Landscape, there are a number of great passages, but one I found particularly interesting was where Casey defines four approaches to the concept of mapping.  He defines these four approaches as follows:

“Mapping of.  To make a map of something is to make a map of a particular place or territory in the effort to capture its exact geography, its precise structure, its measurable extent.”

“Mapping for.  Mapping is for something, and not strictly of something, when it is designed expressly for some particular purpose.”

“Mapping with/in.  Where the first two kinds of map are indicative signs by their very nature and function—each being a subsistent particular that points to the presumed existence of another such particular (i.e., object place or region)—a map with/in proceeds by adumbration rather than by indication:  by indefinite indirection rather than by definite direction.  Instead of the land (or sea or city) as a discrete entity or the relationship among the locales themselves, what is mapped here is one’s experience of such locales.  Such mapping concerns the way one experiences certain parts of the known world:  the issue is no longer how to get there or just where ‘there’ is in the world-space, but how it feels to be there, with/in that very place or region, whether the feeling itself is one of amazement or boredom, duress or ease.  I divide up the word within in order to signal the internal complexity of this experience.”

“Mapping out.  To the degree that I find myself with/in the living landscape, I am part of that landscape, just as it is part of me.  The boundaries between myself as mapmaker and the earth I map—boundaries that become strict borders in the case of the official cartographer, who is a representative of a ‘major science’—are porous when I bodily feel a given landscape.  I am of it, and it of me:  in a subjective genitive sense of of that means “belonging to.”  But just because of this mutual incorporation of self and earth, the human subject must find a way out if he or she is to re-present the experience of deep immersion in such a manner as to make this experience accessible to others.  There has to be a moment or mode of what is misleadingly called expression—misleading insofar as this implies an enclosed subjectivity that literally presses outward what it already feels or knows—but what is better designated as mapping out, getting the experience into a format that moves others in ways significantly similar to (if not identical with) the ways in which I have myself been moved by being with/in a particular landscape.”

I found Casey's approach to mapping an interesting analytical framework, and one potentially applicable to a range of land use legal scholarship.

Stephen R. Miller

June 29, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Mulvaney on Exactions for the Future

Timothy M. Mulvaney (Texas Wesleyan) has posted Exactions for the Future, Baylor Law Review vol. 64, p. 101 (2012).  The abstract:

New development commonly contributes to projected infrastructural demands caused by multiple parties or amplifies the impacts of anticipated natural hazards. At times, these impacts only can be addressed through coordinated actions over a lengthy period. In theory, the ability of local governments to attach conditions, or “exactions,” to discretionary land use permits can serve as one tool to accomplish this end. Unlike traditional exactions that regularly respond to demonstrably measurable, immediate development harms, these “exactions for the future” — exactions responsive to cumulative anticipated future harms — admittedly can present land assembly concerns and involve inherently uncertain long-range government forecasting. Yet it is not clear these practical impediments are sufficient to warrant the near categorical prohibition on such exactions that is imposed by current Takings Clause jurisprudence. After analyzing the features of takings law that constrict the use of such an exactions scheme, this article offers an alternative approach to exaction imposition involving temporal segmentation of the government’s sought-after interest, which could provide a public tool to address anticipated future harms while offering at least some protection against takings claims.

This is the latest important piece of Prof. Mulvaney's work on exactions and time.  Check it out, and Gig 'em Aggies! 

Matt Festa

June 28, 2012 in Constitutional Law, Property Rights, Property Theory, Scholarship, Takings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Ryan on Obamacare, Federalism, and . . . Land Use

No, this is not a lame attempt by me at expanding the bounds of the "what can't Festa turn into a land use issue" parlor game that I play in class, in order to reach the hot issue du jour.  Erin Ryan (Lewis & Clark) recently posted a fascinating essay on the Environmental Law Prof Blog about the potential effects of the ACA decision on federalism and, in turn, on land use and environmental issues.  From Obamacare and Federalism's Tug of War Within:

In the next few days, the Supreme Court will decide what some believe will be among the most important cases in the history of the institution--the Obamacare decisions.  And while they aren't directly about environmental law, they may as well be--because the same issues animate environmental governance conflicts from cross-boundary pollution management to nuclear waste disposal.  For that reason, I thought I'd take this opportunity to go deep on the federalism issues at the heart of the long-awaited health reform decisions.

. . . .

In service of this balance, the Constitution clearly delegates some responsibilities to one side or the other—for example, the federal government guarantees equal protection of the laws and regulates interstate commerce, while the states manage elections and regulate local land use. But between the easy extremes are realms of governance in which it’s much harder to know what the Constitution really tells us about who should be in charge. Locally regulated land uses become entangled with the protection of navigable waterways that implicate interstate commerce and border-crossing environmental harms.

Read the whole thing for a good legal analysis that goes well beyond the immediate politics of the decision.  Professor Ryan has a new book on the subject called Federalism and the Tug of War Within

And, so yes, there is a land use angle to the Obamacare decisions.  But you already know that there's a land use angle to everything

Matt Festa

June 26, 2012 in Constitutional Law, Environmental Law, Federal Government, Local Government, Scholarship, State Government, Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Summer at the movies: Jean de Florette

Back in January I opined my belief that The Descendants was the only Oscar-nominated film in recent 220px-Jean_de_Florettememory where land use was the driving force of the plot.  Blogger Ken Stahl also weighed in on The Descendants' land use theme. 

The post subsequently caused some conversation around the law school water cooler here.  Associate Dean Lee Dillion (also a former planning commissioner) mentioned to me that there was a film--not Oscar-nominated mind you--but a very famous French film where land use and water rights were also central to the plot.  The movie, Jean de Florette, even stars Gérard Depardieu as a young(er) man.

Rotten Tomatoes describes the plot as follows:

Co-adapted by director Claude Berri from a novel by Marcel Pagnol, this hugely successful French historical drama concerns a bizarre battle royale over a valuable natural spring in a remote French farming community. City dweller Jean Cadoret (Gérard Depardieu) assumes ownership of the spring when the original owner is accidentally killed by covetous farmer Cesar Soubeyran (Yves Montand). Soubeyran and his equally disreputable nephew Ugolin (Daniel Auteuil) pull every dirty trick in the book to force Cadoret off his land, but the novice farmer stands firm. Although the Soubeyrans appear to gain the upper hand, the audience is assured that they will eventually be foiled by the vengeful daughter of the spring's deceased owner -- thus setting the stage for the film's equally successful sequel, Manon of the Spring.

I just watched Jean de Florette last weekend, and I have to say, it put a human face on a lot of those early water rights cases.  For the land use prof seeking a little summer escape, I couldn't recommend Jean de Florette more highly.  If you really like it, there's also a sequel, Manon des sources.  See trailer here.

Stephen R. Miller

June 26, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

TDR Handbook Part II

Just wanted to follow up on Stephen Miller's post about the new TDR Handbook.  I've had the privilege of working with co-author (and planning consultant extraordinaire) Rick Pruetz on several TDR projects here in the Southeast.  This Handbook is a follow on to Rick's two previous books, Saved by Development and Beyond Takings and Givings.  Rick is amazingly knowledgable and very generous with his time and expertise.  We just finished helping the City of Milton implement a TDR program as part of their form-based code. I will continue to work with Rick during my year off (which starts Friday!).

Jamie Baker Roskie

 

June 26, 2012 in Density, Form-Based Codes, Georgia, Local Government, Planning, Property Rights, Transferable Development Rights, Zoning | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

New report on west coast sea-level rise

The National Research Council has just released a major report on sea-level rise along the California, Oregon, and Washington coasts. From the news release:

The sea level off most of California is expected to rise about one meter over the next century, an amount slightly higher than projected for global sea levels, and will likely increase damage to the state's coast from storm surges and high waves, says a new report from the National Research Council.  Sea levels off Washington, Oregon, and northern California will likely rise less, about 60 centimeters over the same period of time.  However, an earthquake magnitude 8 or larger in this region could cause sea level to rise suddenly by an additional meter or more. 

Global sea level rose during the 20th century, and projections suggest it will rise at a higher rate during the 21st century.  A warming climate causes sea level to rise primarily by warming the oceans -- which causes the water to expand -- and melting land ice, which transfers water to the ocean.  However, sea-level rise is uneven and varies from place to place.  Along the U.S. west coast it depends on the global mean sea-level rise and regional factors, such as ocean and atmospheric circulation patterns, melting of modern and ancient ice sheets, and tectonic plate movements.  

. . .  

The committee that wrote the report projected that global sea level will rise 8 to 23 centimeters by 2030, relative to the 2000 level, 18 to 48 centimeters by 2050, and 50 to 140 centimeters by 2100.  The 2100 estimate is substantially higher than the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's projection made in 2007 of 18 to 59 centimeters with a possible additional 17 centimeters if rapid changes in ice flow are included. 

For the California coast south of Cape Mendocino, the committee projected that sea level will rise 4 to 30 centimeters by 2030, 12 to 61 centimeters by 2050, and 42 to 167 centimeters by 2100.  For the Washington, Oregon, and California coast north of Cape Mendocino, sea level is projected to change between falling 4 centimeters to rising 23 centimeters by 2030, falling 3 centimeters to rising 48 centimeters by 2050, and rising between 10 to 143 centimeters by 2100.  The committee noted that as the projection period lengthens, uncertainties, and thus ranges, increase. 

The committee's projections for the California coast south of Cape Mendocino are slightly higher than its global projections because much of the coastline is subsiding.  The lower sea levels projected for northern California, Washington, and Oregon coasts are because the land is rising largely due to plate tectonics.  In this region, the ocean plate is descending below the continental plate at the Cascadia Subduction Zone, pushing up the coast. 

Extreme events could raise sea level much faster than the rates projected by the committee.  For example, an earthquake magnitude 8 or greater north of Cape Mendocino, which occurs in this area every several hundred to 1,000 years with the most recent in 1700, could cause parts of the coast to subside immediately and the relative sea level to rise suddenly by a meter or more. 

"As the average sea level rises, the number and duration of extreme storm surges and high waves are expected to escalate, and this increases the risk of flooding, coastal erosion, and wetland loss," said Robert Dalrymple, committee chair and Willard and Lillian Hackerman Professor of Civil Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. 

Most of the damage along the west coast is caused by storms, particularly the confluence of large waves, storm surges, and high tides during El Niño events.  Significant development along the coast -- such as airports, naval air stations, freeways, sports stadiums, and housing developments -- has been built only a few feet above the highest tides.  For example, the San Francisco International Airport could flood with as little as 40 centimeters of sea-level rise, a value that could be reached in several decades.  The committee also ran a simulation that suggested sea-level rise could cause the incidence of extreme water heights in the San Francisco Bay area to increase from about 9 hours per decade, to hundreds of hours per decade by 2050, and to several thousand hours per decade by 2100. 

You can view a video produced by the Council below.

 Stephen R. Miller

June 23, 2012 in Beaches, California, Climate, Coastal Regulation, Water | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, June 22, 2012

New TDR Handbook

For those interested in transfer of development rights (TDR), you'll want to check out a great TDR Handbook image book I recently came across called The TDR Handbook:  Designing and Implementing Successful Transfer of Development Rights Programs (Island Press 2011).  This substantial work provides a background on how TDRs work, steps to follow in implementing a TDR scheme, reviews some of the larger TDR regimes already out there, and addresses legal issues and state statutes on TDRs.  I found the guide very useful in assisting one of my Clinic clients this spring.

Stephen R. Miller

June 22, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

In the Conservation Easement versus Mortgage Battle...

the mortgage wins. Because I am a conservation easement nerd savvy academic, I have Westlaw alert me every time a case mentions the term "conservation easement." For years, this yielded very few cases and I only received alerts once a month or so. Lately, I have been getting them daily. Many of these cases come from the tax court and have to do with valuation issues, one line of cases however explores mortgage subordination.

Conservation easements are nonpossessory interests in land that restrict a landowner's use of her property with a goal of yielding a conservation benefit. Many landowners donate conservation easements (i.e. voluntarily restrict the use of their property). Such donations can yield significant federal tax deductions. For a conservation easement (or historic preservation easement) to qualify for a charitable tax break, the restriction must be perpetual. The IRS, Tax Court, and others have acknowledged that it is well nigh impossible to ensure perpetuity of these things. Instead, the IRS has explained that it will consider a restriction to be perpetual if when the restriction is terminated, the beneficiary gets the proceeds. Basically, when a conservation easement is terminated (for any variety of reasons/methods), the holder of the conservation easement will get cash for its porportionate value. Ideally, the holder then uses that money to protect other lands. If your conservation easement doesn't have a provision detailing this procedure, the IRS (in theory) will disallow your deduction. To ensure that the holder will be able to get the proceeds from a land sale, the conservation easement holder must have primary rights to the proceeds. That is, other restrictions on the land must be subordinated (everyone else gets in line behind the conservation easement holder when proceeds from the sale are passed out). This is why the IRS requires any mortgages on the land to be subordinate to the conservation easement.

There have been a few cases from the tax court exploring this issue and most of them seem to involve historic facade easements. In Kaufman v. Commissioner (134 T.C. 182 Apr. 2010), the Tax Court concluded that a facade easement did not qualify for a tax deduction because it wasn't really perpetual because there was a non-subordinated mortgage encumbering the property. The landowners argued that the lack of subordination did not necessarily mean that the holder would not get its proceeds, but the court didn't care. There was a possibility that the facade easement holder would  not be able to receive the proportionate share.

Last week in Wall v. Commissioner (T.C. Memo. 2012-169, June 2012), the Tax Court reached a similar result even though the conservation easement (again a facade preservation easement) declared that it all exisiting mortgages were subordinate. The court did not take the conservation easement at its word and instead looked at the text of the mortgage subordination. The two banks involved executed documents appearing to subordinate the mortgages (based on the title and opening provisions of the documents), but a closer reading revealed that the banks still were claiming that they had "prior claims" in the event of any foreclosures or eminent domain proceedings. The presumption that the mortgages get first dibs at the moola stems mostly from the fact that they encumbered the land prior to the facade easement.

However, I think the main lesson here is that there is almost a presumption against the restrictions being perpetual and any possibility that the proportionate proceeds won't get paid to the conservation easement holder mean no tax deduction.

Jessica Owley

June 21, 2012 in Caselaw, Conservation Easements, Historic Preservation, Land Trust, Mortgages, Property, Real Estate Transactions, Servitudes | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Newsgathering in public forums: a personal encounter with the Daily Show

A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to watch Daily Show “correspondent” Aasif Mandvi at work here in Boise.  Apparently he was in Boise for a piece that recently aired on the Daily Show about a two-headed fish.  No joke. The clip is here.

My interest in Mandvi, however, has nothing to do with the substance of his story (which is potentially Team_mandvi_200 blog-worthy another day), but how he went about some of his “reporting.”  Namely, he did so by accosting me, my wife, and a lot of others, while we were trying to have lunch in outdoor seating along a street on one of the first beautiful spring days here.  Here is how it went down:  I’m eating my veggie burger, my wife is eating her salad, and out of the blue, Mandvi was in our faces, asking my wife where she worked, two television cameras behind him and rolling.  When I asked him who he was, he refused to identify himself or state that he was with the Daily Show (I figured it out a few minutes later because, well, I watch the Daily Show).  He aggressively asked me who I worked for, I said I’d tell him when he told me who he worked for, we went around a little like that, and eventually he left.  We then watched Mandvi do this all up and down the street for about an hour.  The basic approach is that Mandvi huddles with his crew, they pick out a victim, then they all charge the person at once with the cameras on.  The goal, of course, is to elicit a remark that, when taken out of context, will be funny on the show and most likely show the person interviewed to be less than informed about the world.  Any watcher of the Daily Show knows what I’m talking about (I admit, I’ve laughed at plenty of these “gotcha” moments).  If not, watch the clip, and you’ll see what I mean.  Apparently my confrontation with Mandvi was not deemed funny enough, as I am not in the clip, nor is my wife.

I did find myself reflecting back on Mandvi in action.  I have always enjoyed the Daily Show, but that afternoon was one of those “when you see the sausage being made” moments.  As my mind inevitably does, my mind turned to the law, and I wondered whether there was anything out there on situations like this.  Could it really be that it’s okay for someone to badger an entire street for an hour, and then broadcast comments of those people out of context?  Since Mandvi goes up to people with cameras rolling, there is no meaningful way to opt out of the “interview.”  Can Mandvi really just take a person by surprise and broadcast it nationally?  It just seemed bizarre to me.  Could you really call what Mandvi was doing “newsgathering” and thus protected speech under the First Amendment?

Well, rather than working on the articles I am trying to write this summer, I found myself researching obscure aspects of the First Amendment.  One interesting issue is whether what Mandvi does is “newsgathering” at all or, is the Daily Show just an entertainment product (i.e., what is the First Amendment standard for “truthiness”?).  That question aside, it seems the best legal claims against what Mandvi is doing, if one were the litigious sort, would be one of the several privacy torts.  However, my cursory review of these didn’t yield any cases that seemed particularly like a slam-dunk. 

For a refresher on these torts, here are several of the most relevant.  The Restatement (Second) of Torts § 652B defines the tort of “Intrusion Upon Seclusion” as:

One who intentionally intrudes, physically or otherwise, upon the solitude or seclusion of another or his private affairs or concerns, is subject to liability to the other for invasion of his privacy, if the intrusion would be highly offensive to a reasonable person.

The Restatement (Second) of Torts § 652C defines the tort of “Appropriation Of Name Or Likeness” as :

One who appropriates to his own use or benefit the name or likeness of another is subject to liability to the other for invasion of privacy.

The Restatement (Third) of Unfair Competition § 46 states:

One who appropriates the commercial value of a person’s identity by using without consent the person’s name, likeness, or other indicia of identity for purposes of trade is subject to liability. . . .

As I say, my cursory review of these torts didn’t really seem to fit the situation. What did seem apropos was the following excerpt from Grant v. Esq., Inc., 367 F. Supp. 876, 884 (S.D.N.Y. 1973):

Taggart v. Wadleigh-Maurice, supra (3d Cir. September 21, 1973) presents an interesting illustration of the problem here involved. Plaintiff in that case had been an employee of a company which had contracted to provide portable latrines to the now famous Woodstock music festival. Plaintiff's job had been to empty the latrines. In the course of shooting film for their documentary “Woodstock”, defendant movie makers: (a) shot pictures of plaintiff going about his task; and (b) engaged him in conversation, producing comic effects which defendants included in their final product, to great critical acclaim. Plaintiff sued under § 51. In reversing a grant of summary judgment for defendant, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals found that an issue of fact was presented by the question whether plaintiff had been “drawn out as a performer” rather than merely “photographed as a participant in a newsworthy event”. Although the Court articulated the question in slightly different language, the message of Taggart appears to be that the First Amendment does not absolve movie companies-or publishers-from the obligation of paying their help. They are entitled to photograph newsworthy events, but they are not entitled to convert unsuspecting citizens into unpaid professional actors.

This analysis rang true to how I saw Mandvi work.  In other words, if what Mandvi is doing is drawing people out as performers—singling them out in advance, not giving them fair warning, refusing to identify himself, trying to get them to say something dumb—rather than merely engaging the person on the street in a newsworthy event, then First Amendment protections may not apply.  It’s an interesting question to me about the nature of public spaces and the media (and one I happen to have lived!)  It seems especially relevant in this era obsessed with “reality,” and also especially for an enterprise like the Daily Show, which openly plays with the distinctions between news and entertainment. Our public forums increasingly have to address these issues of privacy when everywhere there are media outlets, and even You Tube-savvy individuals, looking to capture, and profit off of “reality.”  How should the law respond, or should it?    

Stephen R. Miller

June 19, 2012 in First Amendment | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Bustic, Gaeta & Radeloff on Using Zoning and Land Acquisition to Increase Property Values and Help Fish

The ability of zoning and land acquisition to increase property values and maintain largemouth bass growth rates in an amenity rich region

Source:Landscape and Urban Planning, Volume 107, Issue 1
Van Butsic, Jereme W. Gaeta, Volker Radeloff
Land use change is a leading cause of environmental degradation in amenity rich rural areas. Numerous policies have been used to combat these negative effects, including zoning and land acquisition. The empirical effects of these policies on the environment and land markets are still debated. Using a coupled economic–ecological model in conjunction with landscape simulations we investigate the effect of zoning and land acquisition on property prices and largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) growth in Vilas County, WI, an amenity rich region with growing rural development. Using econometric models of land use change and property prices, we simulate four alternative land use scenarios: a baseline simulation, a zoning change simulation, a land acquisition program simulation, and a land acquisition program+zoning simulation. Each scenario is simulated over 82 separate lakes. For each scenario we calculate the length of a 20-year old largemouth bass, property prices, and number of new residences at simulation years 20, 40 and 60. The policies have small effects on largemouth bass size and property prices on most lakes, although the effects are more pronounced on some. We also test if the increased property values due to land acquisitions are greater than the cost of the land acquisition program and find that in our case, land acquisition does not “pay for itself”. Our methodology provides a means to untangle the complex interactions between policy, land markets, and the environment. Empirically, our results indicate zoning and land acquisition are likely most effective when targeted to particular lakes.

 

Jessie Owley

June 18, 2012 in Property, Scholarship, Zoning | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Craig on Oceans and Place-Based Management

The ever prolific Robin Kundis Craig has a new book out:

Comparative Ocean Governance Place-Based Protections in an Era of Climate Change

Comparative Ocean Governance examines the world’s attempts to improve ocean governance through place-based management – marine protected areas, ocean zoning, marine spatial planning – and evaluates this growing trend in light of the advent of climate change and its impacts on the seas.This monograph opens with an explanation of the economics of the oceans and their value to the global environment and the earth’s population, the long-term stressors that have impacted oceans, and the new threats to ocean sustainability that climate change poses. It then examines the international framework for ocean management and coastal nations’ increasing adoption of place-based governance regimes. The final section explores how these place-based management regimes intersect with climate change adaptation efforts, either accidentally or intentionally. It then offers suggestions for making place-based marine management even more flexible and responsive for the future. Environmental law scholars, legislators and policymakers, marine scientists, and all those concerned for the welfare of the world’s oceans will find this book of great value.

 

Jessie Owley

June 18, 2012 in Books, Climate, Environmental Law, Scholarship, Water | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

LEED's inevitable politicization

The U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system for green building is updated every several years to reflect changes in the building industry and green technologies.  This is similar to most other building codes, such as the International Building Code, which forms the backbone of many state and local building codes, and which has historically been updated every three years but will be phased in future years.

In past updates, LEED's changes have been relatively arcane matters left to the green building technocrats.  Perhaps the biggest battle in LEED previously was the battle over whether reduction in use of PVC piping in household plumbing should warrant a credit.  But with LEED's rise to prominence as the most important of the green building rating systems, and in particular its adoption by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) as a building standard for new government buildings and by numerous local governments for both public and private buildings, its standards have become a hot topic in the building industry.  And apparently, now also a hot topic of industry lobbyists on Capitol Hill. 

On May 18, 2012, a group of eight House Democrats and 48 House Republicans sent a letter to GSA expressing concerns about LEED's proposed new standards, and in particular, several standards related to plastics and chemicals.  In response, LEED's new rating system, previously dubbed LEED 2012, has scrapped a vote on the system's adoption.  Instead, the new system, now dubbed LEED v4, will delay balloting on its adoption by its members until June, 2013 (i.e., not an election year).  You can read the letter from the House representatives here.  You can read the letter from LEED's president, Rick Fedrizzi, on the delay here

Stephen R. Miller

June 18, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Smith and Wiek on Achievements and Opportunities in Initiating Governance for Urban Sustainability

Achievements and opportunities in initiating governance for urban sustainability.

Riley Smith, Arnim Wiek from Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy contents vol 29

2012 volume 30(3) pages 429 – 447

The concept of urban sustainability governance has developed as an institutional guiding concept to holistically address the vitality of cities under a long-term perspective and is based on the collaborative efforts of government, administration, business, science, and the civil society. Yet, the initiation and implementation of this guiding concept faces a variety of barriers, including deficient conceptualization, unfamiliarity, detrimental organizational structures, and inertia. We examine the initiation of urban sustainability governance in the City of Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. On the basis of the reviews of administrative documents and interviews with staff across various administrative levels and units, we reflect on achievements and shortcomings against guidelines of urban sustainability governance spelled out in the literature. Our study indicates accomplishments in the conceptualization of a vision and overall framework to operate from, but also a number of deficits in specifying sustainability targets, applying governance principles, and evaluating impacts. Additionally, we discuss how administrative structures influence how urban sustainability governance is being implemented. We draw conclusions regarding general factors for succeeding in the initiation and implementation of urban sustainability governance.

Keywords: sustainable governance, principles, guidelines, governance implementation, evaluation

 

Jessie Owley

June 17, 2012 in Scholarship, Sustainability, Urbanism | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Kaźmierczak on The Contribution of Local Parks to Neighbourhood Social Ties

Matt always does a great job of letting us know about new legal scholarship on land use issues. I am hoping to periodically alert folks to interesting articles appearing in peer reviewed journals. Here is a fun article that tells us something that many of us already thought must be true: parks are good.

The contribution of local parks to neighbourhood social ties

Source:Landscape and Urban Planning (June 14, 2012)
Aleksandra Kaźmierczak


The social ties between the residents of urban neighbourhoods are in decline due to changing work patterns, increased mobility and developments in communications. Neighbourhood open spaces, and green spaces in particular, provide opportunities for social interactions that may help the residents to establish recognition and develop relationships. This paper investigates the contribution of local parks to the development of social ties in inner-city neighbourhoods. Combining quantitative methods (questionnaire survey) with a qualitative approach (focus group discussions), the research was carried out in three inner-city neighbourhoods in Greater Manchester, UK, characterised by different levels of material deprivation and ethnic diversity. The social survey explored the associations between the respondents’ visits to local parks and the number of friends and acquaintances they had. The findings suggest that local parks may support the development of social ties in inner-city areas. Associations were found between the quality of the parks, the character of visits, and the extent of social ties in the neighbourhood. The study concludes that for inner-city parks to realise their full potential in supporting social interactions and developing social ties, they need to be well-maintained and provide good recreational facilities. The development of social ties was also found to be considerably affected by the characteristics of the individuals and the neighbourhood.

 

Jessie Owley

June 16, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Interesting Call for Papers

Here is a call for papers that may be of interest to some of our readers. I would love to submit somthing myself, but it seems like this is the 100th event scheduled for October 12th.

Call for Papers: Washington and Lee's "Climate Change in the Former Colonies: Challenges of Property and History"

From the CFP:

Washington and Lee University School of Law’s Law and History Center, in partnership with Virginia Sea Grant, will host a symposium on Climate Change in the Former Colonies: Challenges of Property and History. Recognizing the unique impact that the colonial legal experience continues to have on Eastern states, the symposium will focus on the application of legal historical research to contemporary problems and opportunities in the areas of policy-making, property rights, and hazard resilience in coastal communities. Panel presentations and potential topics include:

- How the colonial legal experience affects modern property rights and our responsiveness to climate change

- Historical and modern property doctrines—particularly nuisance, zoning, and eminent domain—and their relation to current climate change challenges and policies

- Changing notions of acceptable land use and natural resources

- Environmental hazard resilience policies and opportunities for their enhancement via legal strategies

We are open to suggestions of other related topics.

You can download the full CFP here:

 

Jessie Owley

June 16, 2012 in Climate, Conferences, Environmental Law, Property, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Death and Life of Affordable Housing--panel video

Via Congress for the New Urbanism, I came across this link to what looks like a great panel discussion hosted by the Cato Institute and cosponsored by Next American City, called "The Death and Life of Affordable Housing."  Here is the link to the video.  The session features a terrific lineup of thoughtful commentators.  From the event description:

Featuring Ryan Avent, Author of The Gated City; Adam Gordon, Staff Attorney, Fair Share Housing; Randal O'Toole, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute, and author of American Nightmare: How Government Undermines the Dream of Homeownership; Matthew Yglesias, author of The Rent Is Too Damn High; moderated by Diana Lind, Executive Director and Editor-in-Chief, Next American City. . . .

The Cato Institute and Next American City will jointly host a panel discussion about housing and development policy in American cities. For several decades, U.S. policymakers have grappled with how to make housing more affordable for more people. In the past year, several new books have claimed that various government tools, such as zoning and subsidies, have limited people's access to desirable, affordable housing—while other leading thinkers have suggested that markets alone will not create socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable communities. With a shared goal of creating livable, affordable communities for all people—but diverging ideas of how to get there—the panel will give voice to a range of perspectives on the hotly debated issue of how to shape 21st-century American cities.

I plan to check it out this weekend.  Enjoy,

Matt Festa

June 15, 2012 in Affordable Housing, Books, Conferences, Development, Environmentalism, Housing, Lectures, Planning, Scholarship, Sustainability, Urbanism, Zoning | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Study Space Event in Istanbul on Disaster Preparedness (via Georgia State)

Prof. Julian Juergensmeyer (Georgia State) writes to inform us about what looks like a truly fascinating opportunity:

The Center for the Comparative Study of Metropolitan Growth is pleased to announce a Study Space Program in Istanbul, Turkey March 31- April 6, 2013.

A Study Space is a week-long intensive workshop, in which academic scholars and professionals come together to study and develop solutions to the challenges being faced by cities throughout the world. This program will focus on disaster preparedness from an interdisciplinary perspective of land use policies, building restrictions, and the handling of environmental refugees. It will be a collaboration with the Payson Center for International Development at Tulane University's Law School in New Orleans and the law school at Bahcesehir University in Istanbul, Turkey.

The workshop will use the issue of earthquakes in Turkey as a focused topic and also as a springboard toward a larger discussion of disaster preparedness and urban land use in the modern world.  Contact Prof. Juergensmeyer for any questions.  With its interdisciplinary and transnational basis, this is surely going to be a really rewarding event. 

Matt Festa

June 15, 2012 in Comparative Land Use, Conferences, Environmental Law, Planning, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Call for Papers: AALS Sections on Property and Natural Resources/Energy Law to Host Joint Program

I meant to post this when it came out late last month but exam grading swallowed me up for a while; many of you have probably already seen this announcement elsewhere.  Anyway, tomorrow (June 15) is the deadline to submit abstracts for what will surely be one of the highlights at next year's AALS. Via Shelley Saxer and Tim Mulvaney:

The AALS Section on Property is pleased to announce a Call for Papers for its joint program with the AALS Section on Natural Resources & Energy Law during the AALS 2013 Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA.  This joint program, entitled “40 Years of Environmental and Natural Resources Law: A Prospective Look,” will forecast how the law surrounding environmental and natural resources might change in the four decades to come.  It is scheduled for Monday, January 7, and accompanies a companion program jointly sponsored by the AALS Sections on North American Law and Environmental Law, which is entitled “40 Years of Environmental and Natural Resources Law: A Retrospective Look.”  Therefore, this event in its entirety will include four interrelated one-and-one-half-hour sessions.

The specific session organized by the Section on Property is centered on “A Prospective Look at Property Rights.”  Broadly speaking, the panelists will examine the legal and political issues that local, national, and international communities confront in seeking to balance public and private interests in the face of significant modern environmental and natural resource challenges.  The Section on Property seeks one to two papers that will advance this session’s theme and complement the scholarly perspectives of the following speakers: Maxine Burkett (University of Hawaii School of Law), Steven Eagle (George Mason University School of Law), John Echeverria (Vermont Law School), and Carol Rose (invited) (University of Arizona College of Law).  The George Mason Law Review has agreed to publish papers emanating from this session’s presentations in the spring of 2013.

Full-time faculty members of AALS member and fee-paid law schools are invited to submit an abstract not exceeding one page by e-mail to Shelley Saxer (Pepperdine University School of Law), the Chair of the Section on Property Law, at Shelley.Saxer@pepperdine.edu by June 15, 2012.  Professor Saxer will select one or two of the submissions for inclusion in the program in consultation with the Section’s officers.  Submitting authors will be notified of the results of the selection process by July 1, 2012.  To assure timely publication, selected authors should plan to submit their papers of 7,000-8,000 words above the line to the George Mason Law Review by November 1, 2012.  The selected authors will be responsible for paying their annual meeting registration fee and travel expenses.  Questions should be directed to Professor Saxer at the above-noted email address.

Matt Festa

June 14, 2012 in Conferences, Environmental Law, Property, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Carbon footprints of goods made in China and implications for American industrial areas

I recently came across several studies that answer a long-running question of mine:  what is the carbon footprint of goods traveling from China to that big box store down the road?  The answer also planted a more perplexing question:  could it be possible that the carbon footprint of goods in China, if built and assembled in China (or some other distant country) and shipped in a particular eco-sensitive way, could be less than goods "made in the USA"?

The issue of goods transportation and carbon footprints seems to me one of the most important, but potentially counter-intuitive, aspects of land use policy.  Independent of economic concerns, which of course is a huge issue of its own, we might presume that a consumer good "made in the USA" has a lower carbon footprint than one made in China.  But what if the "American" good is made from parts manufacturers around the world and simply assembled in the United States?  For instance, just 40% of the Ford Focus in made in the USA, and just 15% of that car is made in Mexico, with the remainder coming from non-North American parts suppliers.  Most "American" cars are really smorgasbords of parts suppliers shipped from the world over to a factory in the US.  At the very least, that provides factory assemply jobs for US workers.  But if we just consider the environmental impact for a minute, would the carbon footprints of those cars be lower if all the parts were made in one place in China, assembled in China, and then those cars were shipped to their US destinations?

While I can't answer that question directly, a really interesting November, 2011 paper, Moving Containers Efficiently with Less Impact: Modeling and Decision-Support Architecture for Clean Port Technologies, by Josh Newell and Mansour Rahimi at USC's School of Policy Planning and Development, traces the important steps in answering carbon footprint issues in the supply chain.  In particular, Chapter 2 in the report models the emissions from real container shipments of an undisclosed toy manufacturer from manufacturing destinations in China to various retail destinations across the US.

The report noted that there were three main contributors to carbon footprints, each of which were potential variables: 

The first is the land contribution, which is partitioned into China and United States segments, and is further partitioned into truck and rail segments. The second contribution comes from the sea, which is portioned into cruising speed, and slow speed segments. The third contribution comes from port operations for loading and unloading containers.

In general, the report concluded:

For the average container shipped from China to various U.S. destination zip codes, a carbon footprint of 2,821 kilograms per container per trip was determined. Transport by container ship is the most efficient in terms of CO2 burned per mile. So it is possible for a container to travel a greater distance, yet have a smaller carbon footprint than one that uses land transportation (train/truck) for a greater portion of the distance.

So there you have it:  2,821 kilograms per container on average.  And the further the container goes by ship, the lower the CO2 emissions.  A similar NRDC study studying retail apparel shipments from China to Denver compared air to ship transit and concluded:

[T]he truck-air-truck pathway emits over 5 times more soot (particulates) and 35 times more greenhouse gases than rail-ship-rail, sending an additional 99 tonnes [sic] of greenhouse gases into the air. On the ocean leg alone, a retailer would reduce GHG emissions by 99% sending cargo by ship instead of plane. Using this method, a retailer could send 101 full containers by ship and still emit fewer GHGs than one container sent by plane.

So ships are cleaner than air transit, too.  And what if we could make ship transit cleaner, with greener fuels and such?

All of this brings me back to my new question.  If ship transport is relatively green (and we could likely make it greener), and we can run ships all around the world and ship things in containers for relatively low costs, would it be better from a carbon emissions perspective to build all the parts near an assembly site for a product in China and ship it here, or build parts around the world and assemble it in the US?  This presumes, of course, that we cannot convince manufacturers to both build the parts and assemble them in the US, which seems to be an industrial model that has gone the way of the dodo bird for economic reasons. 

The implications seem vast to me for our industrial areas, both for how we conceive of them in economic and environmental terms in this global age.  If the shipping container has changed the economics of manufacturing (anyone interested in this must read Marc Levinson's excellent The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger), might it also change the environmental aspects of manufacturing, too?  And if so, what might this mean for our city's industrial areas, and in particular, how we contemplate their environmental footprints?  I'd be curious if anyone has studied this particular issue. 

Stephen R. Miller

June 14, 2012 in Clean Energy, Climate, Economic Development, Oil & Gas | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Passing of Elinor Ostrom (1933–2012)

Elinor Ostrom, the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize for economics, and a major contributor to issues in land use policy, died yesterday.  This blog has chronicled Ostrom's influence on land use legal scholarship over the years, and a collection of this site's posts related to Ostrom can be viewed here.

Stephen R. Miller

June 13, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)