Wednesday, April 30, 2014
This one is for the green building folks. From Architectural Record:
The designers of Seattle’s Bullitt Center have overachieved. They set out to demonstrate that a six-story office building could generate all of the energy it needs, but after one year of operation, it is sending a sizable energy surplus to the local power grid, according to data released by its developer, the Bullitt Foundation.
The full article here. Very promising.
Stephen R. Miller
Maybe you know someone who would be right for this...
Goldfarb & Lipman LLP is a 24-attorney firm with offices in Oakland, Los Angeles, and San Diego, California, and a practice emphasizing affordable housing, community economic development, real estate, municipal, land use, and employment law.
The firm seeks a tax attorney, or a transactional attorney with significant experience in tax issues, with five (5) or more years of relevant legal experience for the Oakland office. The ideal candidate would have expertise in partnership taxation.
Goldfarb & Lipman is a certified Women-Owned Business and strongly encourages a diverse workplace. California Bar admission required.
No phone calls, please. Anyone interested should email a cover letter describing their experience and goals, and a resume to GLTax@goldfarblipman.com.
You know I love a good "neighborhoods" article. And that is why I am highly recommending an admittedly non-legal article, "Neighborhood Renewal: The Decision to Renovate or Teardown," by Henry J. Munneke (Georgia - Department of Insurance, Legal Studies, Real Estate) and Kiplan S Womack (Pepperdine - Graziadio School of Business & Management).
Here is the abstract:
Within the neighborhood renewal process, property owners and investors attempt to reverse the decline in housing stock quality and correct market obsolescence through redevelopment. However, since the existing improvements can be redeveloped either in part (renovations) or in whole (teardowns), a choice must be made between these two processes. While renovations and teardowns have been examined by numerous studies as separate phenomena, this study jointly examines these decisions to provide a better understanding of how and where redevelopment occurs. Notably, the results show support for the notion that renovations and teardowns occur in spatial clusters, but further refine this finding in that they tend to occur in separate spatial clusters. Additionally, the implicit market prices of the structural attributes of properties purchased for major renovations are shown to be equivalent to teardown sales, where the property is valued only for the underlying land.
And here is a little more from the intro:
Key results from this study can be briefly summarized as follows. The primary differences in the determinants of the redevelopment decision are that the interior area of the existing structure is central to the renovation decision, while lot area is most relevant to the teardown decision. The primary similarities are that the likelihood of both renovations and teardowns are strongly influenced by location and the ratio of land value to total property value. The results also provide interesting insights into the spatial aspects of the redevelopment decision. In particular, this study provides evidence that renovations and teardowns occur in separate (non-overlapping) spatial clusters.
Perhaps most notably, the study provides strong support for the existence of variation in the price impact of structural attributes based on the changes to the attributes post-purchase. Specifically, the structural attributes of properties purchased for renovation are found to be less valuable than nonredeveloped properties, and properties purchased for major renovations are found to be equivalent to teardown sales, where the property is valued only for the land. These results persist even when controlling for selection bias, demographic variables, neighborhood fixed effects, and market conditions.
Stephen R. Miller
Monday, April 28, 2014
Usually the intersection between land use law and sports comes in the siting of sports arenas. But, today I happened across an article in The Guardian about the LA Clippers/Donald Sterling racism scandal that takes issue with the NBA's non-action, for years, on his racism in his business practices:
But all those years, not enough people looked at Donald Sterling as the racist landlord the law so bore him out to be.
Neither the league, nor the players, nor the sports media paid much if any attention to Sterling's agreement in 2003 to pay upwards of $5m to settle a lawsuit brought by the Housing Rights Center charging that he tried to drive non-Korean tenants out of apartments he bought in the Koreatown section of Los Angeles. Only a few observers noted in 2006 that the Justice Department sued Sterling for allegations of housing discrimination in the same neighborhood. The charges included statements he allegedly made to employees that black and Hispanic families were not desirable tenants.
And while a handful of us in the media excoriated Sterling and the NBA in 2009 when Sterling settled the lawsuit by agreeing to pay $2.73m following allegations he refused to rent apartments to Hispanics, blacks and families with children, the story didn't resonate – despite it being the largest housing discrimination settlement in Justice Department history.
Read the entire article, "The real tragedy of Donald Sterling's racism: it took this long for us to notice," here.
Jamie Baker Roskie
This looks interesting:
We are pleased to inform you that the International Conference on Sustainable Finance will be held from 12th to 13th of June 2014 in Karlsruhe, Germany. The conference will bring together top executives and senior members of the financial institutions, policy makers and regulators, development banking community, commercial bankers, SME and micro finance executives, senior government officials, representatives of international development and multilateral institutions and other major stakeholders.
The conference delegates will discuss key issues facing banking and financial services industry including: Business case for embedding sustainability in financial services institutions as balancing of environmental, social and financial performance becomes the highest priority of the stakeholders; best practices in the field of sustainable finance and investments; emerging risks and business opportunities for financial services institutions in times of transition to low carbon and sustainable economy; and initiatives needed to build a more resilient, environmental friendly and socially responsible financial services sector.
Further to sharing knowledge, new ideas and experiences and discussing innovations in financial services, the upcoming conference will also help establish partnerships and alliances and in developing synergies. It provides an excellent opportunity to network with the senior members of financial community, multilateral agencies, government institutions, academics, sustainable development practitioners and other stakeholders from around the world. An optional excursion/ get-together will take place on Saturday the 14th of June 2014.
You are cordially invited to attend this international event and/ or nominate member(s) of your institution.
For further information, please see the event details.
Or contact via email: email@example.com
Stephen R. Miller
Sunday, April 27, 2014
Been, Madar, & McDonnell on Urban Land‐Use Regulation: Are Homevoters Overtaking the Growth Machine?
Vicki Been (NYU), Josiah Madar (NYU), and Simon Thomas McDonnell (NYU) have published an intriguing new article, Urban Land‐Use Regulation: Are Homevoters Overtaking the Growth Machine?, in the latest issue of the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies. Here is the abstract:
The leading theory about urban land-use regulation argues that city zoning officials are full partners in the business and real estate elite's “growth machine.” Suburban land-use officials, in contrast, are thought to cater to the interests of the majority of their electorate—“homevoters.” A unique database regarding over 200,000 lots that the New York City Planning Commission considered for rezoning between 2002 and 2009 allows us to test various hypotheses suggested by these competing theories of land-use regulation. Our analysis reveals that homevoters are more powerful in urban politics than scholars, policymakers, and judges have assumed.
It is a definite "must read" for land use law folks. Here is one more teaser from the conclusion:
Our results provide significant evidence that the land-use politics of large cities are not as different from those of the suburbs as theorists, policymakers, and judges have assumed. The fact that a city like New York, with its unusually low homeownership rate, strong real estate and business interests, and ardent embrace of the benefits of agglomeration economics, nevertheless downzoned 6 percent of its lots (and put another 15 percent in a category that likely will function as a downzoning) in less than a decade is remarkable.
Unfortunately, the article is behind a pay wall, or I'd share more in this forum. For those with access to the Wiley database, here is the direct link.
Stephen R. Miller
CFP - 3rd International Conference on Urban Disaster Reduction: Sustainable Disaster Recovery: Addressing Risks and Uncertainty
3rd International Conference on Urban Disaster Reduction
"Sustainable Disaster Recovery: Addressing Risks and Uncertainty"
September 28 - October 1,2014
Hotel Boulderado, Boulder, Colorado, USA
The 3rd International Conference on Urban Disaster Reduction (3ICUDR) builds on an established practice of international collaboration and knowledge-sharing after disaster events in Japan, US, and Taiwan. In this third conference, New Zealand joins the three collaborating countries. The mission of the conference is to develop, integrate and promote new knowledge and best practices in sustainable disaster recovery, with a particular emphasis on urban environments.
Abstracts are solicited on topics related to disaster recovery and urban disaster reduction. Reviewers will be looking for abstracts that take bold steps in describing new strategies and ways of thinking to significantly reduce potential casualties, damage, and disruption from future disasters, and create safe, resilient, and adaptive communities, regions, and nations. Young scholars are encouraged to present emerging research. Papers that bridge the knowledge gaps between research and practice are particularly welcome.
Learn more on abstract requirements and submission deadlines here, or by downloading the CFP here:
Stephen R. Miller
The Cal ARB lecture series is having what looks like a really promising lecture on green building this Monday, April 28. From the Cal ARB listserv:
“Why Building Operators Matter for Reducing GHG Emissions”
Mithra Moezzi, Ph.D.
School of Urban Studies and Planning,
Portland State University
Monday, April 28, 2014 1:30 pm, PDT (WEBCAST)
Sierra Hearing Room, 2nd Floor, Cal/EPA Building
1001 I Street, Sacramento, California
What building operators do is a major behavior behind commercial
building energy use. Technical studies estimate that changes in
operations could save up to thirty percent of building energy use
at low cost. These changes could yield tremendous reductions in
California GHG emissions, but such changes are often not made.
This presentation reports on the results of a social
science-based study investigating building operations and energy
use, highlighting building-level, policy, and research strategies
that can help reduce commercial building energy use and
potentially even improve indoor environmental conditions.
Doing so starts with recognizing some of the energy paradoxes of
contemporary commercial buildings:
(1) occupants often report that buildings poorly support their
work even while the threat of occupant complaints is a dominant
force in how buildings are operated,
(2) usable information on energy use is scant, and
(3) the contribution of building operators and operations to
building performance and energy conservation is widely
These problems cannot readily be fixed by focusing just on
individual components, such as training, automation, or generic
attempts at occupant engagement or behavior change, but instead
require seeing and acting on buildings as social systems.
This presentation outlines some of the most important
interactions shaping building energy use, and illustrates common
problems as well as strategies for overcoming misalignments,
drawing on stories and insights from operators, other building
professionals, and occupants.
Announcement and Presentation can be viewed at:
For “external” users please check the external webcast calendar
For “internal” users please check the internal webcast calendar
Your e-mail questions will be aired during the
Q&A period. Please send your-e-mail questions
For more information on this seminar presentation please
Sarah Pittiglio, Ph.D. at (916) 324-0627 or @arb.ca.gov
For more information on the ARB Research Seminar Series please
Peter Mathews at (916) 323-8711 or firstname.lastname@example.org
To receive notices for upcoming Seminars please go to:
and sign up for the seminars list serve.
Friday, April 25, 2014
My colleague Bruce Huber (Notre Dame) has posted The Durability of Private Claims to Public Property, 102 Geo. L. J. 991 (2014). I had the chance to see him present this to our faculty here in South Bend and then again at last year's ALPS meeting in Minnesota. It has completely changed my understanding of the interaction between private and public interests on government-owned land. Here's the abstract:
If there is, here is what it might look like: private claims to public property are remarkably durable. Consider private claims to the lands and resources owned and managed by the federal government. Once established, these claims — of which there are hundreds of thousands — seem, in many instances, to take on a life of their own. Mining claims, leases for the development of coal or oil and gas, grazing permits, hydropower licenses, ski resort leases, even residential leases — claims such as these are often extended, expanded, renewed, and protected by law and by bureaucratic practices in ways that shape, and often trump, other policy objectives with respect to federal land. Newer claim-ants, and policies that would favor new land uses or alter the mix of uses, tend to be disfavored. These tendencies create a set of managerial and policymaking difficulties that constrain lawmakers and land managers and that ultimately disserve the interests of the citizens in whose interest state property ostensibly is managed.
This Article examines the durability of private claims to public property, first, by providing a set of examples, and second, by explaining how the American historical experience and legal system combine to give public property this character. Third, it suggests implications for both theory and practice, in particular cautioning that lawmakers should take into account the phenomenon described here before granting new forms of access to various public resources.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
The American Planning Association annual conference is in Atlanta from April 26-30. Check out the conference program here.
Monday, April 28, is the "law" day and is focusing on takings. Panels include: "Takings in the 21st Century" (page 72 of the program); "Legal Issues for Planning Commissioners" (page 78); "Nollan and Dolan I: The Legislative Exception" (page 74); "Nollan and Dolan II, Burden of Proof" (page 78); "Koontz: Clarity or Calamity?" (page 81); "Climate Change Planning Post-Lucas" (page 85); and "Takings and Givings" (page 86).
A number of leading land use law profs will be speaking on these panels (if the pdf were easier to copy, I'd post all the people speaking here). It will be well worth checking out if you're in the area.
Stephen R. Miller
The 2014 Idaho Law Review symposium, Resilient Cities: Environment | Economy | Equity, was held earlier this month and was a great success. For those who couldn’t happen by Boise for the event, video of the entire symposium is now available online at: http://www.uidaho.edu/law/law-review/symposium. In addition, articles from the symposium should be up on the same website later this summer.
As I received significant interest in materials from the symposium, the law review is going to print a few extra copies of the symposium book to give to anyone who might want a hard copy. If you would be interested in a hard copy and haven’t already e-mailed me, please let me know and I’ll send one to you when the symposium book is available this summer.
Thanks again to all of our speakers and moderators for such a successful event!
Stephen R. Miller
Pace Law School seeks applicants for a new Visiting Assistant Professor (VAP) in Environmental Law. The VAP in Environmental Law will hold a one-year appointment, renewable for a second one-year term. The appointment is designed to mentor and train future environmental law professors.
The VAP will have a reduced teaching load of one course per semester, the opportunity to focus on scholarly research and writing, and the expectation that s/he will enter the law school teaching market. The VAP will receive the same office and administrative support as other faculty members, is invited to participate fully in faculty activities, and will receive a small travel and research fund. Additionally, the VAP will present a work in progress at Pace Law School’s Future Environmental Law Professors Workshop, receive feedback and mentoring from other scholars, and present a finished manuscript to the faculty at our weekly scholarly colloquium.
The salary for the VAP in Environmental Law is $55,000 per year plus benefits, including health and dental insurance. The VAP will not be eligible for a full-time tenure-track or tenured faculty appointment at Pace Law School until after six years following the completion of his/her term in residence.
Candidates will be selected based on their prior work and educational experience, and teaching and scholarly potential. Pace is committed to achieving equal opportunity in all aspects of University life. Applications are encouraged from people of color, individuals of varied sexual and affectional orientations, individuals who are differently-abled, veterans of the armed forces or national service, and anyone whose background and experience will contribute to the diversity of the law school. Pace is committed to achieving completely equal opportunity in all aspects of University life.
Applicants should submit:
- Curriculum Vitae (that lists three references and law school courses the candidate would be interested in teaching)
- If possible, one published scholarly article or unpublished paper draft that reflects the candidate’s scholarly interests and potential
The application deadline is May 1, 2014.
If you would like to be considered for a Visiting Assistant Professor in Environmental Law appointment beginning in the Fall of 2014, please send your application materials via email to Professor Jason J. Czarnezki at email@example.com. Only electronic submissions will be accepted.
Monday, April 21, 2014
Sharing is an indispensable part of American property law, often mediating the harsh implications of ownership rights. Yet sharing is also a hidden component of this legal structure. In both theory and doctrinal manifestations, sharing is overshadowed by the iconic property right of exclusion. This Article argues that property law suffers a critical loss from its under-recognition of sharing because it fails to use sharing to correct distributional failures in a world of increasingly scarce resources. Sharing could be the basis for developing a rich range of outcomes in common property disputes. Instead, as described by Calabresi and Melamed in their famed article on remedies, outcomes are tagged to exclusion in the form of blanket property rules and “keep out” signs. As a result, sharing currently functions merely to create very narrow exceptions to broad rights of ownership. To correct this failure, this Article presents a model for sharing as a preferred outcome in property disputes. Sharing as an outcome is a powerful means of addressing property inequalities, limiting harmful externalities, preserving efficiency, and harnessing the extraordinary potential of outcomes in property law.
Friday, April 18, 2014
Greg Alexander (Cornell) has posted Property's Ends: The Publicness of Private Law Values, 99 Iowa L. Rev. 1257 (2014). Here's the abstract:
Property theorists commonly suppose that property has as its ends certain private values, such as individual autonomy and personal security. This Article contends that property’s real end is human flourishing, that is, living a life that is as fulfilling as possible. Human flourishing, although property’s ultimate end, is neither monistic or simple. Rather, it is inclusive and comprises multiple values. Those values, the content of human flourishing, derives, at least in part, from an understanding of the sorts of beings we are ― social and political. A consequence of this conception of the human condition is that the values of which human flourishing is constitutive ― property’s ends― are public as well as private. Further, the public and private values that serve as property’s ends are mutually dependent for their realization. Hence, any account of property that assigns it solely to the private sphere, categorically removed from public values, is incoherent.
Thursday, April 17, 2014
From the EPA listserv announcement:
Please save the date for "The Future of Environmental Finance," a public forum at the UNC School of Government, Chapel Hill, NC on May 5th, 2014 from 1:30pm-4:30pm Eastern. This event will also be streamed live on-line. Visit http://www.efc.sog.unc.edu/event/future-environmental-finance-public-forum for more information and registration.
The costs of environmental services, programs, and infrastructure continue to rise. At the same time the individuals, communities, and governments tasked with paying for environmental protection are experiencing significant financial challenges. Whether a billion dollar effort to restore a region's polluted water supply, a $4,000 project to weatherize a financially disadvantaged family's home, or a program to replace a small town's 50 year old water treatment plant, environmental initiatives share a common challenge of figuring out who pays and with what money. Without implementing fair and sustainable solutions to these environmental finance questions, the most brilliantly conceived environmental technology or program will likely fall short of achieving its environmental goals.
On May 5th, 2014, the Environmental Finance Center at the UNC School of Government, an EPA grantee, will host a public forum on "The Future of Environmental Finance" to share promising strategies for financing current and future environmental challenges. This event will feature talks from prominent environmental finance experts and innovators from a variety of perspectives that cut across sectors and issues (federal, state, and local governments, academics, foundations, international organizations, and private investment firms). The event is intended to foster discussion and identify emerging trends, strategies, and ideas that will help answer the basic "how will we pay" questions at the heart of successful environmental protection.
Stephen R. Miller
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Adena Rissman (Ecology-Wisconsin), (our very own) Jessie Owley (SUNY-Buffalo), Buzz Thompson (Stanford) and Rebecca Shaw (Env. Defense Fund) have posted Adapting Conservation Easements to Climate Change, Conservation Letters (2014). Here's the abstract:
Perpetual conservation easements (CEs) are popular for restricting development and land use, but their fixed terms create challenges for adaptation to climate change. The increasing pace of environmental and social change demands adaptive conservation instruments. To examine the adaptive potential of CEs, we surveyed 269 CEs and interviewed 73 conservation organization employees. While only 2% of CEs mentioned climate change, the majority of employees were concerned about climate change impacts. CEs share the fixed-boundary limits typical of protected areas with additional adaptation constraints due to permanent, partial property rights. CEs often have multiple, potentially conflicting purposes that protect against termination but complicate decisions about principled, conservation-oriented adaptation. Monitoring is critical for shaping adaptive responses, but only 35% of CEs allowed organizations to conduct ecological monitoring. Additionally, CEs provided few requirements or incentives for active stewardship of private lands. We found four primary options for changing land use restrictions: CE amendment, management plan revisions, approval of changes through discretionary consent, and updating laws or policies codified in the CE. Conservation organizations, funders, and the IRS should promote processes for principled adaptation in CE terms, provide more active stewardship of CE lands, and consider alternatives to the CE tool.
This year, my Economic Development Clinic has been working with rural communities interested in using agritourism to assist small farm survival. The projects have proven a really interesting source of legal issues, many of which were unexpected to me. I tried to highlight some of those issues in an op-ed I published today in the Idaho Statesman. A copy of that op-ed is attached, and also available here (the headline is not my own, but the rest is). Many of the legal issues I mention are relevant elsewhere as Idaho's laws on agritourism are similar to most other states.
Stephen R. Miller
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Readers of this blog may want to tune in to the latest Freakanomics podcast, which investigates Benjamin Barber's recent book. A blurb from the Freakanomics website:
The episode expands on an idea from political theorist Benjamin Barber, whose latest book is called If Mayors Ruled the World: Dysfunctional Nations, Rising Cities. Barber argues that cities are paragons of good governance – compared at least to nation-states – and that is largely due to their mayors. Mayors, Barber argues, are can-do people who inevitably cut through the inertia and partisanship that can plague state and federal governments. To that end, Barber would like to see a global “Parliament of Mayors,” to help solve the kind of big, borderless problems that national leaders aren’t so good at solving.
Stephen R. Miller
Boise sits hard-by a range of foothills that lead into the Boise National Forest. Those foothills have a lot of grasses that, come summer, could light up in a fire. And so, what is the fire prevention strategy devised here in Boise? Sheep. Lots of them. This week 2,500 sheep were brought into the Boise foothills and they will slowly eat their way across those foothills north of the populated region.
The yearly arrival of the sheep for this ritual is one of my favorite things about living here. Here's another article from last year about the event.
Below is a clip of what it looks like when 2,500 sheep cross the road.
Stephen R. Miller
Friday, April 11, 2014
I was just introduced to a useful 2013 report by the Community and Regional Resilience Institute entitled Definitions of Community Resilience: An Analysis. The report provides cites to and summaries of forty-six articles that attempt to define resilience in a variety of manners. The report is a useful resource for scholars seeking out definitions of resilience across disciplines.
H/t to Jeff Litwak, who introduced me to the report.
Stephen R. Miller
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- Jack Reid on Shocking Allegations of Rough Justice at a P&Z Hearing in the Rural West: Environmental Activist Opposing Oil and Gas Project at Public Hearing Charged with Criminal Trespass and Spends Five Days in Isolation
- Deborah Curran on Field notes on navigating a POPO
- Stephen Miller on Commissioner's Corner: Should a Commissioner Be Permitted To Peak at a Google Maps View of a Project Site in a Quasi-Judicial Hearing?
- Ben Davy on Commissioner's Corner: Should a Commissioner Be Permitted To Peak at a Google Maps View of a Project Site in a Quasi-Judicial Hearing?
- Jesse Richardson on Commissioner's Corner: Should a Commissioner Be Permitted To Peak at a Google Maps View of a Project Site in a Quasi-Judicial Hearing?
- New edition of ABA Journal of Affordable Housing & Community Development Law
- Two articles on the sharing economy
- The failure of economic development in Baltimore – and Milwaukee
- Shocking Allegations of Rough Justice at a P&Z Hearing in the Rural West: Environmental Activist Opposing Oil and Gas Project at Public Hearing Charged with Criminal Trespass and Spends Five Days in Isolation
- Cheever & Owley on Enhancing Conservation Options