November 17, 2012
Adler on Merrill on "Fear of Fracking"
Yesterday, Case Western Reserve University School of Law hosted a symposium called The Law and Policy of Hydraulic Fracturing: Addressing the Issues of the Natural Gas Boom. As Steve noted on Property Prof, Professor Thomas Merrill (Columbia) was slated to give the keynote. Case Western's Jonathan Adler was part of the event, and he posted an extensive commentary on Merrill's remarks over on the Volokh Conspiracy. Looks like it was a fascinating talk with lots of observations on how to deal with the potential environmental impacts of fracking, and a perhaps counterintuitive suggestion on the possible upside of the gas boom with respect to climate change. But here, I'll focus on some of Merrill's observations on why fracking developed in the U.S., because it may have a lot to do with property law and land use regulation. As Adler describes:
Why did fracking arise in the United States? Contrary to some analysts, Professor Merrill does not believe it is attributable to federally funded research and development. . . .
Professor Merrill also doubts industry structure has much to do with fracking’s rise either. . . .
A more likely factor is the way U.S. law treats subsurface rights. The U.S. is something of an outlier in that subsurface minerals are the property of the landowner, and not the government. This results in decentralized ownership and control over subsurface rights facilitates experimentation and innovation in figuring out how to exploit and manage subsurface resources.
Further decentralization, and experimentation, results from the federalist regulatory structure. Different states have different regulatory approaches than others, creating opportunities for further innovation and the opportunity for jurisdictions to learn from one another. The existence of a few jurisdictions that will allow a new technology to be tried provides a laboratory from which others may learn, whereas under a more centralized regulatory structure such innovation is unlikely to get off the ground.
The existence of a relatively open infrastructure network – a pipeline system that is subject to common-carrier rules – also plays a role in facilitating entry into the market. These factors have a common theme: decentralization. Taken together, Merrill suggests, they are the most likely source of fracking’s rise in the United States.
Looks like another fascinating event, with participation from a number of land use, environmental, and energy scholars on the subsequent panels. I look forward to the symposium isse in the Case Western Law Review.
November 17, 2012 in Clean Energy, Climate, Comparative Land Use, Conferences, Environmental Law, Environmentalism, Federal Government, Lectures, Oil & Gas, Property, Property Rights, Scholarship, Water | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack
October 02, 2012
Ellickson on the Law and Economics of Street Layouts
Robert C. Ellickson (Yale) has posted The Law and Economics of Street Layouts: How a Grid Pattern Benefits a Downtown, forthcoming in the Alabama Law Review from its lecture series on boundaries. The abstract:
People congregate in cities to improve their prospects for social and economic interactions. As Jane Jacobs recognized, the layout of streets in a city’s central business district can significantly affect individuals’ ability to obtain the agglomeration benefits that they seek. The costs and benefits of alternative street designs are capitalized into the value of abutting lots. A planner of a street layout, as a rule of thumb, should seek to maximize the market value of the private lots within the layout. By this criterion, the street grid characteristic of the downtowns of most U.S. cities is largely successful. Although a grid layout has aesthetic shortcomings, it helps those who frequent a downtown to orient themselves and move about. A grid also is conducive to the creation of rectangular lots, which are ideal for siting structures and minimizing disputes between abutting landowners. Major changes in street layouts, such as those accomplished by Baron Haussmann in Paris and Robert Moses in New York City, are unusual and typically occur in bursts. Surprisingly, the aftermath of a disaster that has destroyed much of a city is not a propitious occasion for the revamping of street locations.
Highly recommended, with lots of interesting planning-type details in addition to the larger importance to land use theories and approaches.
August 28, 2012
Gage Lecture: Garnett on School Closures in Urban Neighborhoods
UMKC Law and the ABA Section on State & Local Government are hosting an education law symposium with The Urban Lawyer, preceded by the 2012 Gage Lecture, featuring Nicole Stelle Garnett (Notre Dame) on "School Closures in Urban Neighborhoods: Lesson's from Chicago's Catholic Schools."
Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012 | 6:30 p.m.
UMKC School of Law's Thompson Courtroom
What Happens When You Close Urban Schools
America’s educational landscape is changing with the rapid disappearance of Catholic schools from the urban core. Yet, studies show negative effects on neighborhoods when schools close. Scholar Nicole Garnett will discuss what this means for urban and educational policy.
Professor Garnett's lecture is free and open to the public; the program and registration for the Oct. 5 symposium are available at the website.
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,
June 15, 2012 in Affordable Housing, Books, Conferences, Development, Environmentalism, Housing, Lectures, Planning, Scholarship, Sustainability, Urbanism, Zoning | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
May 16, 2012
What Would Jane Jacobs Do?
Regular readers know that we love the National Building Museum. And any land use professional knows that we all love to talk about Jane Jacobs. So here's an event that might be of great interest: Urban Forum: What Would Jane Jacobs Do?
Fifty one years after Jane Jacobs published her seminal book The Death and Life of Great American Cities, her ideas on liveable, walkable, and diverse neighborhoods continue to impact how urban environments are designed. A panel discusses Jane Jacobs’ legacy, including urban renewal, historic preservation, mixed-use zoning, and public space. Light refreshments will be served.
- Bing Thom, Bing Thom Architects
- Harriet Tregoning, director, Washington D.C. Office of Planning
- Susan Szenasy, editor-in-chief, Metropolis Magazine (moderator)
- John Zuccotti, co-chairman of the board, Brookfield Properties Corporation and former Chairman of the New York City Planning Commission
Free (but required) registration is available for the event on Sunday, May 20, 2012 at 10:00-11:30. Check it out! If you are able to go to WWJJD, I'd love to hear about it.
January 17, 2012
Webinar: Service and Learning in Times of Disaster
From Prof. J.P. "Sandy” Ogilvy (Catholic)
Webinar – Friday, February 17, 2012, 2:00 – 3:30 pm (EST)
Title: Service and Learning in Times of Disaster
Topic: Disasters, natural and man-made, can strike any community at any time. For the most part, law schools are unprepared to respond to disasters, although law schools have abundant resources that can be brought to bear as part of a disaster response effort. This webinar is part of an effort to help law schools prepare to become legal first responders in the event of a disaster in their communities or beyond. The interactive program will present models of disaster response forged from these disasters – New York Law School’s 9-11 Response, Loyola New Orleans’ Katrina Clinic, University of Miami’s Haitian TPS Project, and the University of Detroit Mercy’s Foreclosure Defense Clinic – and begin a dialogue that we hope will lead to the creation of a law school disaster relief network.
Who should attend: Law school deans and administrators Law school faculty, both clinical and doctrinal Potential law school partners, including Legal Services providers and Bar leaders What will you learn: The disaster response contributions made by law students, law schools, and law school clinics with the concomitant opportunities for professional skills training, responding to client and community needs, and opportunities for community collaborations How law schools and clinics can begin to develop formal plans for disaster response and develop the elements of such plans or “best practices,” including: networking among law schools, law clinics, legal services providers and social service relief organizations; training for anticipated legal needs; creating a legal first responder corps; connecting with communities and community organizations; and ideas for the creation of a law school disaster relief network.
Presenters: Stephen J. Ellmann, New York Law School Bill Quigley and Davida Finger, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law Joon Sung, University of Detroit Mercy School of Law JoNel Newman, University of Miami School of Law J.P. “Sandy” Ogilvy, Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law
Participants will be able to ask questions of the presenters via email. To be a part of this Webinar, send an email to Ogilvy@law.cua.edu to request registration information. There is no charge for participation, but space is limited, so reserve your space soon.
Jamie Baker Roskie
June 28, 2011
Conservation Easement Outlines
For those interested in conservation easements, if you haven't seen Jessica Jay's work its worth checking out. She is a practitioner who teaches Land Conservation Law at VLS during the summers and gave a great lunch lecture today on "When Perpetual is Not Forever: The Challenge of Changing Conditions, Amendment & Termination of Perpetual Conservation Easements." There is a lot of ink on this subject and she does a great job keeping up-to-date on how states and the IRS manage and might manage amendments to conservation easements. Here are a couple of her helpful outlines:
February 27, 2011
Teaching Outside the Box
We're now entering week 4 of the spring semester at Buffalo. I'm very excited about my classes this e. Both of which are firsts for me.
I am teaching Natural Resources Law. This is a fun course and I have a great group of students. I was a bit taken aback when I learned how many of my students are from Buffalo. Place matters for many reasons, but it is especially strange feeling to teach a public lands class without one person in the room from west of the Mississippi.
I am also teaching a distributed graduate seminar called Land Conservation in a Changing Climate. "A distributed what?" you say? Yep, a distributed graduate seminar. I believe it is the first seminar of its type in the legal academy. A group of eight professors at six different schools (Buffalo, Denver, Indiana,South Carolina, Stanford, Wisconsin) are all teaching a course with roughly the same title at the same time. We have similar but not identical syllabi and take slightly different approaches to our classes. Although law students probably dominate the classes, we have opened up our classes to graduate students in other departments. All students are examining case studies, collecting data, and inputting results of interviews and research into a joint system. At the end of the semester, both the faculty and students will have access to the collected data. I am excited about this project for many reasons. First, our students are learning how to work with social scientists and understand scientific reports and papers. Second, students are actually collecting data and interviewing people who are conserving land. Third, the data collection will enable us to think both about our own states and do comparative work. Studying conservation easements is often challenged by the lack of available data. We are specifically examining how conservation easements will react (or not) to climate change. I think this project will be good for the students of course, but I also hope they learn things that will help others.
- Jessica Owley
February 01, 2011
Land Use Lecture Series: The Boehl Lecture Example
So (continuing from my post yesterday) . . . Judith Wegner's lecture on annexation and land use dilemmas last week at the University of Louisville contains a kernel of wisdom about having distinguished land use scholars come to a university setting to give a prominent lecture and to interact with students, faculty, alums, and those in the community who are interested in land use issues. There is no substitute for a physical gathering in a place or places of inquiry and idea-exchange to hear listen to and converse with an expert who brings a fresh, different, outside perspective. Don't get me wrong -- I'm all for blogs (like this one), SSRN, conferences aimed mostly at other scholars, email exchanges of scholarship, etc. But those of us who study land use law -- the law of physical space, essentially the law of geography -- know that physical place is important to community-building, exchange of ideas, and the development of knowledge and understanding.
Picture the following: Professor Wegner gave her lecture, with PPT, to a Law School lecture hall filled with over 150 law students, graduate urban planning students, professors in law and other disciplines, and local lawyers, planners, community advocates, and the like. After the post-lecture Q&A, the crowd retired to the faculty lounge for a reception and countless conversations about the lecture and other land use issues. And then a small group of students (both law and urban planning), professors (law, urban planning, and geography), and a local land use lawyer went to dinner with Professor Wegner at the funky Lynn's Paradise Cafe (very Louisville & good Southern food) to continue discussions on a range of topics.
The Boehl Distinguished Lecture Series in Land Use Policy was established with discretionary funds from my chair's endowment to bring a nationally prominent land use scholar to the University of Louisville every semester. The idea is to enrich land use education and thinking at the University of Louisville far beyond what our existing faculty and programs could do by themselves. There is a free public lecture for which the lecturer receives an honorarium and payment of travel expenses, with no expectation of a publishing the lecture. This allows us at U of L to hear directly about cutting-edge research that may be appearing or soon-to-appear in a publication venue elsewhere, instead of pushing a lecturer to come up with an entirely brand new (and perhaps only half-developed) topic. The lecture is advertised locally quite broadly. The lecturer is expected to participate in a meal with a small group of students, faculty, and community members whom I invite, usually at dinner following the lecture and public reception (with the reception being funded by the Center for Land Use and Environmental Responsibility, which I direct, and the dinner being funded by the chair endowment). The lecturer is also expected to give a faculty workshop, usually at noon the next day.
The Boehl Lectures have been enormously enriching. The past lectures have been:
Winter 2007: Tony Arnold (Louisville), inaugural lecture, "The People's Land: Justice Brandeis, Environmental Conservation, and Wisdom for Today's Land Use Challenges"
Spring 2007: Linda Malone (William & Mary), "Think Globally, Act Locally: A Pivotal Transformation in the Global Warming Debate"
Fall 2007: Eric Freyfogle (Illinois), "The Endless War: Private Land in Law and Culture"
Spring 2008: Julian Juergensmeyer (Georgia State), "Infrastructure and the Law: The Evolution of Infrastructure Requirements"
Summer 2008: Victor Flatt (then at Houston, now at North Carolina), "Act Locally, Affect Globally: Local Government's Role in Addressing Climate Change and Other Large-Scale Environmental Harms"
Fall 2008: Vicki Been (NYU), "Silver Bullet or Trojan Horse? The Effects of Inclusionary Zoning on Local Housing Markets"
Spring 2009: Timothy Beatley (U. Virginia School of Architecture), "Green Urbanism: Planning for Sustainable and Resilient Cities"
[hiatus while I was visiting at University of Florida and University of Houston]
Fall 2010: Michael Wolf (Florida), "Private Property and Public Protection: The Brandeisian Alternative"
Spring 2010: Judith Welch Wegner (North Carolina), "Annexation, Urban Boundaries, and Land Use Dilemmas: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future"
This lecture series has stimulated thinking about and interest in key land use issues, facilitated interdisciplinary collaboration, engaged our students, and developed relationships with lawyers, planners, officials, developers, environmentalists, and others in our community who care about land use issues. It has had far more benefit -- both in breadth and depth -- than investing in any one person's particular research agenda or any single project.
On the other side of the coin, I have been very grateful for opportunities to speak at other law schools and universities (including planning schools) and have been enriched by my interactions with faculty, students, and friends at these schools and universities. To be blunt, being physically present in a guest-lecture setting has enabled me to see the richness of the programming and intellectual activity at these schools in a way that a glossy brochure in October or November just cannot convey.
The bottom line is that I would encourage land use scholars to consider ways of providing and enhancing opportunities for outside speakers and distinguished lecturers at their schools. The network of good, hard thinking about land use issues will continue to develop through electronic media in the virtual world, but not nearly as well or as extensively if it does not develop and flourish through face-to-face interactions in the physical spaces of higher education.
(Also, if you want more information about how we pull this off and the kinds of resources it takes, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org)
January 31, 2011
Judith Wegner, Annexation, and the Boehl Lectures
Thanks, Matt, for the wonderfully kind introduction. I am excited to be guest-posting on the Land Use Prof blog. Despite the flood of emails (and steady stream of students and professors wanting an associate dean's immediate attention), I read the Land Use Prof blog every day, and find the posts both helpful and thought-provoking. It is a real honor to be a part of the great work that y'all do!
For my first post, I want to share some insights from Judith Welch Wegner's Boehl Distinguished Lecture in Land Use Policy at the University of Louisville this past Thursday, January 27, and to highlight the value of a land-use lecture series generally. Professor Wegner is well known in legal education for her past roles as a 10-year Dean at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, President of AALS, member of the Order of the Coif Executive Committee, and Senior Scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. In the land use field, she is known as the Burton Craige Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and for her especially influential article "Moving Toward the Bargaining Table: Contract Zoning, Development Agreements, and the Theoretical Foundations of Government Land Use Deals," 65 N.C. L. Rev. 957 (1987). I predict that she will play a major role in reviving interest in annexation as a land use legal and planning issue.
Judith gave her Boehl Distinguished Lecture in Land Use Policy on "Annexation, Urban Boundaries, and Land Use Dilemmas: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future." Her basic concern is that annexation is often disconnected from land-use planning, which results in problems of sprawl, uncoordinated growth, inadequate infrastructure, and fiscal stress. Drawing on census data and examples from North Carolina's famous "annexation wars," Judith pointed out that there are no quick-fixes, no one-size-fits-all model solutions (a point that I particularly like and have addressed most recently in "Fourth-Generation Environmental Law: Integrationist and Multimodal"). Local culture matters. Some of the worst conflicts do not arise from expanding large cities but from small municipalities in rural or at least non-urban areas, making it difficutl to get a handle on what exactly "smart growth" might mean in these low-density communities. Water and wastewater dynamics play significant roles, as do municipalities' desires to improve their fiscal health by increasing their property-tax base through annexations. When municipal annexation is difficult, though, alternatives to annexation take its place, including the proliferation of special districts, the rise of county authority over land use, and the dominance of gated communities. All in all, according to Judith, annexation conflicts demonstrate why local governance structure is a "wicked problem" but one that is critically important to land use practices and sustainable development. I am looking forward to the publications that will result from her research. Annexation issues have received too little attention in the land use legal literature.
But her lecture implicitly makes another point -- the value of a land-use lecture series. More on that tomorrow . . . . [OK, maybe not as tantalizing as who shot J.R., but hopefully something of a hook to bring you back.] Again, thanks for letting me come aboard!
January 31, 2011 in Agriculture, Common Interest Communities, Comprehensive Plans, Density, Development, Exurbs, Lectures, Local Government, Planning, Politics, Smart Growth, Sprawl, State Government, Suburbs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack
January 26, 2011
Panel on "Premature Subdivisions" for New Partners Conference
Call them the new ghost towns - "premature" subdivisions that have been laid out in anticipation of a continuing housing boom and unfettered growth at the periphery. In many areas there is a large surplus of already platted lots, improperly located to foster smart growth. Teton County, Idaho has granted development entitlements in the rural countryside sufficient to quadruple their population. Most of these lots have non-existent or poor services.
Even in areas that expect large increases in population, these premature subdivisions are in the wrong location to foster smart growth patterns. In Arizona's Sun Corridor, approximately one million undeveloped lots, many not even platted yet, have been entitled and would lead to further sprawl.
The current economic downturn provides an opportunity to address past impacts, better anticipate and prepare for future growth and improve property values, says senior fellow Armando Carbonell, who will be moderating a panel, Reshaping Development Patterns, at the New Partners for Smart Growth conference in Charlotte Feb. 3.
Carbonell sees an opportunity to redesign communities to transfer development pressure from previously approved development areas to foster more sustainable development. For example, in the suburbs of the Northeast, there are projects that remake the suburban highway, turning "edge city" districts into compact mixed-use centers, and using green infrastructure strategies for shaping new communities at the metropolitan fringe."There's a sponge-like capacity to accommodate population growth without any further peripheral development," says Carbonell.
The panelists exploring these issues will be Arthur "Chris" Nelson, Metropolitan Research Center, University of Utah, on demographic and population trends; Jim Holway, head of Western Land and Communities, the Lincoln Institute-Sonoran Institute joint venture; and Thomas Wright, executive director of the Regional Plan Association of New York, Connecticut and New Jersey.
New Partners for Smart Growth this year marks its 10th anniversary as a collaboration of the Loal Government Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency.
"Premature subdivisions" aren't just a western or northeastern problem - we've seen a fair number of them here in Georgia as well. If any of our readers attend this session, or any other session at the New Partners conference, please send us a report!
Jamie Baker Roskie
November 04, 2010
National Preservation Conference in Austin . . . and Buffalo
We mentioned that last week the National Trust for Historic Preservation had its annual meeting in the Weird City, Austin TX. There are reports from the conference available on the Trust's website. There is a video available of the opening plenary session, featuring National Trust President Stephanie Meeks, Laura Bush, and New Yorker architecture critic Paul Goldberger.
Now the HP community can look forward to next year's National Preservation Conference in Buffalo! If you're skeptical, check out this video, which correctly points out that Buffalo is a gem for architecture, late 19th/early 20th C. city planning and design, and a great site for discussing contemporary preservation issues with respect to older cities. The video has gotten some local attention and has allegedly "gone viral" in Buffalo.
April 08, 2010
Forum: Land Use in the Unzoned City (@ South Texas)
The South Texas College of Law is pleased to invite the public to what promises to be a very interesting forum called Land Use in the Unzoned City: Regulation, Property Rights, and Smart Growth in Houston's Future. From the program:
Houston is the only major city in the U.S. without traditional zoning. What should the government’s role be in regulating land use and development? How should the law and the land intersect? Should Houston stay as it is, adopt zoning, or consider Smart Growth principles to reduce sprawl and protect the environment? Do regulations and policies to promote New Urbanism or transit-oriented development work, and are they right for Houston? Our panelists will offer their perspectives on the future of land use in Houston and across the U.S.
Panelists: David Crossley, President & Founder, Houston Tomorrow Kendall Miller, CEO, Houstonians for Responsible Growth Prof. Asmara Tekle, Texas Southern University Moderator: Prof. Matthew Festa, South Texas College of Law
David Crossley, President & Founder, Houston Tomorrow
Kendall Miller, CEO, Houstonians for Responsible Growth
Prof. Asmara Tekle, Texas Southern University
Moderator: Prof. Matthew Festa, South Texas College of Law
When: Tuesday, April 13, 12:00 noon
Where: South Texas College of Law, 1303 San Jacinto, Downtown Houston, Garrett-Townes Auditorium
The event is being hosted by the student Real Estate Law Society, with co-sponsorship from Houston Tomorrow and Houstonians for Responsible Growth. I'm very much looking forward to it. If you can be in Houston next Tuesday, we'd love to have you attend (did I mention free lunch?). Contact me if you have any questions.
April 8, 2010 in Community Design, Conferences, Density, Development, Form-Based Codes, Houston, Lectures, Local Government, New Urbanism, Planning, Smart Growth, Smartcode, Sprawl, Transportation, Urbanism, Zoning | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack