Thursday, August 1, 2013
I am delighted to be faculty advisor for the Idaho Law Review's annual symposium for the second year in a row. This year's topic will, I believe, of special interest to land use scholars. We have several prominent scholars and practitioners already lined up. Please take a look at the CFP below and consider joining us in Boise on April 4, 2014! As with last year's symposium, we will be live broadcasting and video archiving this year's symposium with the goal of giving the event a national reach.
CALL FOR PAPERS
ENVIRONMENT | ECONOMY | EQUITY
2014 University of Idaho Law Review Symposium
The Idaho Law Review invites you to participate in its 2014 day-long symposium, Resilient Cities: Environment | Economy | Equity, to be held in Boise, Idaho on April 4, 2014. The symposium will focus on defining city resilience, as well as cutting-edge, non-traditional legal approaches to implementing environmental and social projects that promote city resilience.
The symposium plans to begin with a brief investigation into the question: What is a resilient city? One definition posits these basic tenets: “A resilient city is a sustainable network of physical systems and human communities. Physical systems are the constructed and natural environmental components of the city. They include its built roads, buildings, infrastructure, communications, and energy facilities, as well as its waterways, soils, topography, geology, and other natural systems. In sum, the physical systems act as the body of the city, its bones, arteries, and muscles. . . . Human communities are the social and institutional components of the city. They include the formal and informal, stable and ad hoc human associations that operate in an urban area: schools, neighborhoods, agencies, organizations, enterprises, task forces, and the like. In sum, the communities act as the brain of the city, directing its activities, responding to its needs, and learning from its experience.”*
The definitional panel of the symposium seeks papers that investigate: Is this an appropriate definition for a resilient city? If not, what should be changed? What are the implications of such definitions for law? What is the relationship between environmental and social dimensions of a resilient city? Are they separate or interconnected? Much of the talk about city resilience focuses on disaster preparedness. Is there more to city resilience? If so, what else should be included in the discussion? For new development, what does it mean to build a resilient city from the ground up? How can a city’s physical systems and human communities respond, and thrive, in the midst of the coming century’s environmental and social stresses that will include climate change, rapid urbanization, more pronounced economic cycles, and the like?
The primary focus of the symposium will then consist of panels investigating a second question: How can cities best implement resiliency in a time of limited resources? The symposium seeks papers that focus on cutting-edge legal implementation tools for environmental or social city resiliency. Representative topics here include how city resiliency can be implemented through: ecosystems services; land trusts for affordable housing; greening office buildings; community benefits agreements and workforce training; public and private protections for land conservation; social impact bonds; neighborhood empowerment; or the role for insurance in creating a resilient city. These examples are merely illustrative of potential topics. Approaches not listed are equally encouraged.
Symposium papers or presentations addressing either question above will be presented at the conference and published in the Symposium volume in Spring, 2014. We are especially interested in shorter essays (roughly 8,000 to 10,000 words, including references). Draft abstracts of no more than one page and queries may be addressed to Alexandra Grande, Chief Symposium Editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org, no later than August 31, 2013. Travel cost assistance is available, funds permitting.
*David R. Godschalk, Urban Hazard Mitigation: Creating Resilient Cities, 4 NAT. HAZARDS REV. 136, 137 (2003).
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Eric Freyfogle (Illinois) visited in South Africa last fall as a fellow in the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study. During that time, he began work on his recently posted essay, Private Ownership and Human Flourishing: A Critical Review. A number of us Land Use Prof bloggers had the opportunity to hear Eric present this interesting work this Spring at the Association for Law, Property and Society conference at the University of Minnesota. Here's the abstract:
This essay surveys the many, contradictory links between private ownership and human flourishing and assesses the moral implications of this complexity. It begins with and ultimately broadens claims made by leading South African scholars on the need to reconsider longstanding ways of thinking about property, particularly the “rights paradigm.” Private ownership in obvious ways benefits an owner. But as explained, the links between private rights and human flourishing are far greater, implicating not just owners but neighbors, surrounding communities, the landless, future generations, and other life forms. The recognition of private property rights can both expand and curtail human flourishing. As for human flourishing, it is equally complex in that it is affected by many factors going far beyond physical needs. Property rights are created by law and involve the use of state power to protect rights by curtailing the liberties of non-owners and others. The only sound moral justification of this use of coercive power — this use of state power to help owners control and dominate others — rests in the ways a well-designed property regime can foster the welfare of nearly everyone, owners and non-owners alike. Law thus should not vest an owner with any power that does not, on balance, promote widespread human flourishing. Inherited ways of thinking about private property cloud these realities and distort inquiries into property’s origins and moral and practical consequences. Much of this thought is best wiped away with discussion begun from a new place, from an express recognition of private property as an evolving, socially created, morally complex institution that can both promote and undercut human flourishing, an institution that must be carefully calibrated to maintain its moral legitimacy and maximize its social benefits.
Monday, July 29, 2013
Attorney (and periodic adjunct professor) James L. Olmsted has started a new blog about land trusts. He plans to post regularly about changes in the law, emerging scholarship, and chime in on different debates and discussions in the land trust world.
Now admittedly I learned about his blog because he posted something about my scholarship, but this is more than an Owley/Olmsted mutual admiration society. Jim has long written intersting work in this area and been a regular participant at land trust conferences and on the land trust listserve. I think this blog will be a fun source of news.
Also -- if you are interested in this area, one blog that you just have to be following is the Preservation Law Digest. It provides great summaries of new case law.
- Jessie Owley