Tuesday, December 22, 2015

How to solve the San Francisco growth riddle? The Bay Area Council gives it a try.

The Bay Area Council has a long history of planning for the San Francisco region from the boardroom; it is one of the more important business-led planning efforts for any region in the country.  The Council recently released a report, A Roadmap for Economic Resilience:  The Bay Area Regional Economic Strategy.  Although a bit wonkish (not a problem in my book), the report proposes a number of steps to resolve some of the Bay Area's more vexing growth problems.  You may not agree with everything in the report, but it is far more enlightened that the usual conversation you will hear about the Bay Area, its housing crisis, and the rise of Tech.  Here are the report's take-aways:

1. The Bay Area needs to facilitate best-in-class infrastructure investment to support the growth of the regional economy.

Restructure the financing of public infrastructure through the creation of an empowered regional planning, finance, and management entity.
  • Reform existing public institutions. New mechanisms and processes are needed to expedite critical infrastructure development.
  • Give the empowered regional entity authority to gain financial support. Funding tools such as expanded tolling on bridges, highway corridors, and express lanes can be leveraged and allocated to key projects.
  • Drive project delivery. Improve efficiency in the planning and permitting of infrastructure development. Facilitating public-private partnerships can be helpful, as private sector capital and management expertise can deliver superior value for the public.
Develop new sources of traditional and alternative finance to augment public resources.
  • Bring a regional funding mechanism to the voters. There is opportunity for a realignment of tax structures related to transportation in the region. A shared regional sales tax, gas tax, or vehicle license fee can supplement existing county transportation sales tax measures.
  • Prioritize spending on key regional infrastructure. Projects such as the connection of BART to San Jose, Highway 101 and Caltrain corridor improvements, a new transbay BART tube, and expanded water transit services should have access to shared regional funds.
2. High housing costs in the Bay Area have reached a crisis level, and regional policies need to address this issue by incenting sustainable growth and combating resistance to development.
Build sufficient housing stock to meet the demands of a growing regional population and help to fill historic deficits.
  • The Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) process needs real teeth. Connecting state and regional government transportation funding allocations to housing production goals can provide an incentive for cities to meet their RHNA obligations. Actual housing production needs to be consistent with local and regional plans within a reasonable timeframe. Otherwise there need to be real consequences. such as loss of local approval authority, state mandated “by right” approvals of housing projects, the creation of more “by right” zoning districts, or the creation of a regional hearing body to approve housing developments.
  • The Bay Area must expand the stock of secondary units or “in-law” units. Legislation should be drafted to expand and simplify approval of “in-law” or Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) so more density can be accommodated throughout residential areas in the region, not just on large development sites. A regional fund should be created to help homeowners finance ADU projects.
  • The fiscalization of municipal land use decisions needs to change. Current tax policy encourages local governments to zone for commercial over residential land uses and must be modified to expand sites for housing.
Reduce the cost of new home construction across the Bay Area.
  • Encourage streamlined approvals for lower-cost construction types and new building technologies.Streamlining building permitting and codes to allow for mid-rise vs. high-rise and for new innovations in construction, such as Factory Built Housing, can lower building costs.
  • Cap impact fees region-wide. The impact fees assessed by cities on new housing are increasingly preventing construction, and new options should be explored for funding community infrastructure so that the costs of promoting livable communities and affordable housing are shared among both existing and new residents.
  • Reform the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). CEQA litigation has become a significant barrier to infill development. A CEQA exemption for new home construction meeting transit-oriented development goals should be created to limit costly lawsuits.

3. The region’s economic development requires focus and a regional perspective.

Create the Bay Area Regional Economic Development Partnership, a regional body that would sustain the Bay Area’s global economic competitiveness.
  • Create a platform for public-private collaborative action across jurisdictions on regional economic strategy. Creating consistent business permitting guidelines across jurisdictions and aggregating zoning, tax incentive, and local development plans can assist businesses looking to expand their operations in the Bay Area.
  • Facilitate the growth of Bay Area companies within the region and support the entrance of new companies. A regional partnership could provide a unified voice for communicating the diversity of development opportunities in the region, internally and externally.
  • Provide local governments with concrete planning and other support to unlock development potential. Due to limited resources, local governments often do not have the capacity to launch major projects that could be of significant benefit locally and regionally. For example, a regional partnership could offer planning and other resources to local development projects around transit hubs and former military bases.

4. The Bay Area requires regional collaborative action on workforce development in order to improve programming and funding efficiencies and better span the growing skills gap. 

Establish the Bay Area Collaboration on Workforce Development, a regional public-private collaborative to better connect employers’ skills needs and workforce training programs and improve resource alignment.
  • Create a system for ongoing communication between the region’s employers and educator/training community. A collaboration of employers, educators, trainers, and other stakeholders can enable highly adaptive and cost-effective planning for competency development programs driven by the changing needs of employers.
  • Provide public education and inform public policy. Inform the public and key stakeholders about current economic trends and promising certificates, credentials, and career pathways.

5. Lack of investment in the region’s aging and overcrowded transportation systems is undermining the Bay Area’s future prosperity. In addition, a lack of strong linkages across transit agencies inhibits a systemic approach to addressing the region’s growing and changing transportation needs.

Improve the efficiency of transportation systems in order to support the current economic growth cycle and prepare for the next.
  • Align the region’s 26 transit agencies. A single Short Range Transit Plan for all regional transit services in the Bay Area would enhance regional planning for the transit system, which otherwise could only be accomplished through transit agency consolidation. Given the nature of growth, a regional super agency will be necessary in the long term.
  • Utilize funds to implement Corridor Operation and Investment Plans. Collaborative planning will ensure that corridor operational and investment strategies are consistent and mutually supportive across jurisdictions in key transportation corridors.
  • Create an Innovation Incentive Program. Funds should be set aside for grants to Bay Area transportation agencies, cities and counties that propose the most promising applications of technology, incentives, entrepreneurism, and market mechanisms to improve transportation performance.

December 22, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 21, 2015

Does affordable housing affect nearby housing prices? It depends where you live.

Marketplace has the story:

But new research shows that the housing department may have been on to something. A study by Stanford GSB professors Rebecca Diamond and Tim McQuade shows that affordable housing development could be an effective policy to help revitalize and integrate low-income areas, Diamond says.

The two studied affordable housing projects’ impact on the surrounding neighborhoods over a 10-year span, and found that new projects in poorer neighborhoods increased surrounding home prices and reduced crime, while new projects in wealthier neighborhoods drove down home prices and decreased racial diversity.

“Perhaps counterintuitively, if you build in high-minority areas, it will actually attract higher-income homebuyers as well as non-minority homebuyers to the area,” McQuade says. “It can actually achieve to some extent a goal of integration.”



Listen here:


December 21, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

January 12 in D.C.: HUD at 50: Creating Pathways to Opportunity

Register here.

Join HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research on January 12 for a thought-provoking discussion exploring how HUD’s policies have evolved over the last 50 years and what direction they may take going forward. Following an update on U.S. housing market conditions, this Quarterly Update will delve into the key themes explored in HUD at 50: Creating Pathways to Opportunity, PD&R’s recently released publication that commemorates HUD’s 50th anniversary.

In the first of two moderated discussions, several of the book’s authors will cover a range of topics addressed in the book including HUD’s treatment of race and poverty; the rise, fall, and rebirth of cities; and how HUD’s work serves vulnerable populations. Then a second panel featuring HUD senior leadership will respond with what they, HUD’s thought leaders, expect will be the department’s focus in the future.

We invite you to participate in the event in person, via webcast or social media by following @HUDUSERnews and @PDRevents. We'll be tagging our updates with #HUDat50.

Opening Remarks

  • Lynn M. Ross, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Development

Update on U.S. Housing Market Conditions

  • Kevin Kane, Chief Market Analyst, Policy Development and Research

Discussion: The Evolution of HUD’s Policies and Programs

  • Erika Poethig, Institute Fellow and Director of Urban Policy Initiatives at the Urban Institute, Moderator
  • Raphael Bostic, Judith and John Bedrosian Chair in Governance and the Public Enterprise at the University of Southern California’s Price School of Public Policy
  • Ingrid Gould Ellen, Paulette Goddard Professor of Urban Policy and Planning at NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and Faculty Director of the NYU Furman Center
  • Margery Turner, Senior Vice President for Program Planning and Management at the Urban Institute

Discussion: A Look at HUD’s Future Direction

  • Katherine O’Regan, Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research, Moderator
  • Lourdes M. Castro Ramirez, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing
  • Edward L. Golding, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Housing — FHA Commissioner
  • Harriet Tregoning, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development
  • Gustavo Velasquez, Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity


December 21, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, December 20, 2015

ABA seeks pro bono experts to work with Cambodia on Environmental Code, including sustainability and land use planning

This just came across the ABA International Law listserv; I thought it might interest some readers.  Cambodia is seeking pro bono legal advice on drafting environmental codes.  Of particular interest to readers of this blog, they list particular needs in the following:

  • Development of sustainable cities and urban environments
  • Urban land use, planning and zoning; traffic and transportation issues

Here is the full announcement:

Dear Members,

UNDP Cambodia has received a request from the Ministry of Environment of Cambodia for pro bono experts to provide technical inputs and advice in its process to create a new comprehensive Environmental Code. The Code will create a unifying legal framework for all matters pertaining to environmental protection and natural resources conservation. The Code will emphasize four pillars: environmental protection, biodiversity conservation, protection and management of cultural heritage, and environmental assessment.

Action Deadline: Send resumes to  Khalil.Ali@americanbar.org and Tep Neth, Deputy Manager, at Vishnu Law Group (tepn@vishnulawgroup.com)  by Friday, January 8, 2016.  Please CC Kim Smaczniak (ABA SIL IELC Past-Chair, Rule of Law Vice-Chair) , at kimsmaczniak@gmail.com  

Please indicate your expertise area based on the attached need list. Those items highlighted in yellow indicate the highest areas of need.

For More Information: Please email Kim Smaczniak  at kimsmaczniak@gmail.com

The ABA SIL IEL committee would like to support this pro bono initiative. The Committee may be able to serve a coordinating role so that volunteers from our Committee can also share their work product with other members of the Committee for feedback before it is sent to the Cambodian Public Interest Law Group.

Download TOF UNDP Cambodia Environmental Code

December 20, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Mulvaney on legislative exactions

Tim Mulvaney (Texas A&M) has a new article, Legislative Exactions and Progressive Property, which is forthcoming in the Harvard Environmental Law Review.  Here is the abstract:

Exactions — a term used to describe certain conditions that are attached to land-use permits issued at the government’s discretion — ostensibly oblige property owners to internalize the costs of the expected infrastructural, environmental, and social harms resulting from development. This Article explores how proponents of progressive conceptions of property might respond to the open question of whether legislative exactions should be subject to the same level of judicial scrutiny to which administrative exactions are subject in constitutional takings cases. It identifies several first-order reasons to support the idea of immunizing legislative exactions from heightened takings scrutiny. However, it suggests that distinguishing between legislative and administrative measures in this context could produce several second-order consequences that actually undercut the goals of progressive property theory.

December 19, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Need a good read for winter break? Try a pick from Bodwell's Baker's Dozen

I'm an avid fiction reader.  And when I want to know what to read, I like to turn not to the usual sources but instead to my friend, Josh Bodwell, director of the Maine Writers & Publisher's Alliance.  For several years, Josh has been producing his "Bodwell's Baker's Dozen," which is not a collection of the best books published this year, but rather, the best books Josh read this year (most of which happen to be 2015 releases, though).   I'm reproducing Josh's 2015 Bodwell's Baker's Dozen below, and you can view the original here.  



Tom Barbash

(Picador, 2002) Published almost exactly one year after 9/11, Tom Barbash’s debut novel The Last Good Chance traces the attempted by-any-means-necessary revitalization of Lakeland, a hardscrabble industrial town in upstate New York. Native son Jack Lambeau has returned to town after earning an Ivy-League education and being crowned an urban design visionary. He brings along his supportive but dissatisfied fiancée Anne, a painter. As the town’s development wears on and Lambeau compromises his vision and ethics, Steven Turner, a newspaper reporter he’s befriended, begins to investigate. Turner also happens to be sleeping with Anne. The novel is snowy and dark and often dark-humored. Barbash worked as a reporter in upstate New York and writes deftly about small town politics. Today, decaying mill towns across the country are so anxious to reinvent themselves and appease developers that community’s moral compasses seem to be either spinning or nonexistent. Reading this novel is evidence that Barbash saw this slippery slope a decade and a half ago.

Ann Beattie

(Scribner, 2015) 2015 was my Year of Beattie. Back in February I read Ann Beattie’s The State We’re In: Maine Stories, her first new short story collection in a decade, even though it wasn’t published until August. Then I re-read earlier Beattie short stories, some for the first time since my late teens/early twenties, when they made such a formative impact on me. Each week for months I immersed myself in Beattie reviews, interviews, and short stories in preparation to write “Once Something Is Said,” my profile of Beattie in the September/October edition of Poets & Writers magazine. Years ago, Margaret Atwood beautifully described a Beattie story as “a fresh bulletin from the front: we snatch it up, eager to know what’s happening out there on the edge of that shifting and dubious no-man’s-land known as interpersonal relations.” From the mordant humor of “The Little Hutchinsons” to the sly warmth of “Yancey” in The State We’re In: Maine Stories, Beattie remains a master storyteller I so admire as she continues to stretch out and evolve. I could write her about for 1000s of words. Oh wait, I did.

Kent Haruf

(Knopf, 2015) I read Our Souls at Night with the sad knowledge it was the last novel Kent Haruf completed before his passing in late 2014. From the first page, Haruf’s already spare style is stripped to its very essence. I succumbed to the narrative momentum of these opening lines and read the book in one day: “And then there was the day when Addie Moore made a call on Louis Waters. It was an evening in May just before full dark.” Addie asks Louis—who, like her, is widowed and in his 70s—“I wonder if you would consider coming to my house sometimes to sleep with me.” And so begins their relationship: not out of sex but of companionship and conversation and comfort. Haruf’s final short novel was written after his diagnosis of lung cancer and is almost fable-like in its pureness and simplicity. We have lost a writer of massive empathy who had the courage to court tenderness and, yes, sentimentality.

Cristina Henríquez

(Knopf, 2014) The chorus of voices and life-stories in Christina Henríquez’s second novel The Book Unknown Americans is held in harmony by its two central characters and their families. The Riveras bring their beautiful teenage daughter Maribel from Mexico to Delware to receive treatment for a brain injury. The Toros, neighbors in the Riveras’ new apartment complex, arrived years before from Panama, and their son Mayor falls immediately in love with Maribel. The novel’s chapters hop between first-person reminiscences of the apartment complex’s Latin American residents. One character wryly observes that while amongst themselves, the neighbors hailing from countries such as Mexico, Panama, Guatemala, Paraguay, Nicaragua, and Venezuela sometimes struggle to find common cultural ground, to the white Americans who observe them, they’re all the same, all just “brown people.” This is a novel of families—the ones we’re born with and the ones we create—and the lengths we’ll go to for them.

Thomas Kunkel

(Random House, 2015) When the nattily dressed North Carolina native Joseph Mitchell first ascended to a coveted staff position at the New Yorker in 1939, he turned out work at the same pace he had as a reporter for the New York Herald Tribune; in 1939 alone he published thirteen pieces. And then came a shift. Mitchell spent longer and longer walking the city to gather his stories. When he finally wrote, he sought perfection. Throughout the 1950s, Mitchell filed just five stories. But his carefully wrought long-form nonfiction—pieces such as “McSorley’s Wonderful Saloon,” “Professor Sea Gull,” and its sequel “Joe Gould’s Secret”—were such a fresh take on the form that John McPhee would later quip: “When the New Journalists came ashore, Joe Mitchell was there on the beach to greet them.” Yes, the last thirty years of his life were spent struggling to write anything he felt worthy of publication, but insight into Mitchell’s empathetic reportage and crystalline prose—along with his loving 50-year marriage to photographer Therese Jacobsen and close friendship with the Rabelaisian A. J. Liebling—are the real reasons to read this biography.

Thomas McGuane

(Knopf, 2015) When Thomas McGuane’s early novels—such as The Sporting Club (1969) and Ninety-Two in the Shade (1973)—burst onto the scene, they were celebrated for their loose, rambunctious, and comic language. In the 1980s his work began to shift. The stories in Crow Fair are his tightest, quietest, and most spare to date. But the humor, thankfully, is still there. While “Hubcaps” is my favorite of the collection, “Prairie Girl” might have the funniest opening line of the year: “When the old brothel—known as the Butt Hut—closed down, years ago, the house it had occupied was advertised in the paper: “Home on the river: eight bedrooms, eight baths, no kitchen. Changing times force sale.” McGaune recently told an interviewer, “It took me a long time to know enough about writing to really write short stories…Novels are a very flexible, accommodating form. Short stories aren’t.”

John McPhee

(FSG, 1967) In September of this year, John McPhee published the wonderful essay “Writing by Omission” in the New Yorker, where he has been a staff writer since 1965. In the essay, McPhee cited his article “Oranges” as one example of his ongoing writerly dilemma of what-to-leave-out while editing. The original draft was cut 85-percent by New Yorker editor Robert Bingham, though sections were painstakingly restored over a five day editing session with McPhee. The piece was still long enough to be serialized across two issues. The nonfiction master soon restored more of the article for the 1967 book version, also titled simply Oranges. There are few nonfiction writers who can pack as much information into effortlessly readable sentences as McPhee. He guides us through primeval orange groves and onto factory floors for an explanation of the Food Machinery Corporation’s “short-form extractor.” McPhee seems to possess a bottomless pool of curiosity and his writing renders that curiosity contagious.

Michael Mewshaw

(LSU Press, 2013) Not long after I met the novelist, memoirist, and journalist Michael Mewshaw at the Key West Literary Seminar this past January, he visited Maine to talk about and read from his newest book, Sympathy for the Devil: Four Decades of Friendship with Gore Vidal. Mewshaw is a smart, funny, and often self-effacing presenter. I devoured his Vidal book in two sittings. And then I did something rarely do: I just kept reading on a Mewshaw tear. His 2003 literary memoir Do I Owe You Something? is compulsively readable with a cast that includes James Dickey, William Styron, Robert Penn Warren, James Jones, Anthony Burgess, Paul Bowles, Graham Greene, Pat Conroy, and, of course, Vidal. After that I went on toLife for Death (1980), which is something of an overlooked masterpiece in the tradition of In Cold Blood. Mewshaw’s gifts for reportage and research merge perfectly with his novelist’s instincts to tell the story and aftermath of Wayne Dresbach, who, at 15 in 1961, killed his adoptive mother and father—the Dresbachs happened to be Mewshaw’s neighbors.

Jim Nichols

(Islandport Press, 2015) There is nothing flashy about the way Jim Nichols tells stories. And yet, his stories have within their quiet dignity a kind of propulsive readability. Nichols writes honestly about his mythological Maine in plain, patient prose that could border on folksy if not for the author’s compassion for his characters. It takes humility to write this way. Set in the fictional town of Baxter, Maine, in the years between World War II and the computer age, Closer All the Time traces the lives of damaged Vets, good-hearted drunks, clam poachers, broken boxers, damaged young boys, prop plane pilots, husbands and wives, single women, and others. They are all, each in their own way, people like the rest of us who struggle profoundly to understand their place in the world. At a moment in our culture when there appears to be no surplus of authenticity, Jim Nichols tells authentic stories without ego.

Peter Nichols

(Riverhead Books, 2015) The motivations of the characters in Peter Nichols’sThe Rocks, his second novel, are revealed via a unique narrative structure: backwards. The book begins in 2005, and in the first pages the two central characters—the once-married Lulu Davenport and Gerald Rutledge—tumble from a cliff to their deaths. From there, the novel runs backwards to 1948. Set predominately on sunny Mallorca, the crystalline Mediterranean ceaselessly glinting in the distance, The Rocks is rife with depravity and powered at times by a dark current. And yet—and yet—Gerald’s calm amidst the narrative’s maelstrom anchors and buoys the reader. In a scene of Gerald watching his young sleeping daughter, Nichols wrote my favorite sentence of the year: “He missed all the children she had once been—the eighteen-month-old, the three-year-old, the five-year-old, the smallness of her then, the whole weight of her against his shoulder when she was asleep—and he could only bear it because she grew into something more precious and extraordinary, more a necessary part of him, with the passage of time.”



Stewart O’Nan

(Viking, 2007) While discussing favorite examples of American realism, my friend Monica gushed about Stewart O’Nan’s slim eleventh book (nearly a novella) Last Night at the Lobster. As usual, she didn’t steer me wrong. From its opening line (“Mall traffic on a gray winter’s day, stalled.”) O’Nan turns the last dinner service at a suburban mall Red Lobster into a sincere celebration of the quotidian. I don’t know how much time the author spent stalking Red Lobster chain,s but the descriptions of place and characters—especially our “hero,” the restaurant’s general manager, Manny DeLeon—feel so real it reads at times like a piece of well-reported and big-hearted journalism. I also thoroughly enjoyed O’Nan’s West of Sunset this year, his tender and lyrical fictionalization of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s final days lived out in Hollywood. After a slightly sluggish third-quarter section, the novel’s final quarter hits breathtaking beats with great authorial command.

Lori Ostlund

(Scribner, 2015) On its surface, the narrative momentum of Lori Ostlund’s luminous debut novel follows forty-year-old Aaron Englund as he calls it quits with longtime partner Walter (many years his senior), moves from New Mexico to San Francisco, where he lives in a somewhat renovated basement garage (he still comes and goes via the garage door), and teaches in a second-rate ESL school. But Ostlund is a master of digression. At least half (if not more) of the book looks back at Aaron’s Midwest childhood and the makings of his stunted development, looks frankly at his monstrously abusive father and often kind but also unpredictable mother. The unforgettable cast also includes a well-read wheelchair-bound dwarf and a PI who runs a detective school across the hall from the ESL school. Ostlund is a writer of great humanity and has a gift for infusing the novel’s sometimes nearly unbearable sorrow with laugh out loud humor.

Waverly Root

(North Point Press, 1987) I only discovered the newspaperman-turned-food writer Waverly Root this year when my pal Don Lindgren, who owns Rabelais Books, mentioned him. When Don suggests a book or author, I try not to simply nod or just jot it down—it’s no mistake after all that Rabelais was named “the best cookbook shop in America” by Bon Appétit Magazine. Root is revered for his 1958 classic The Food of France, but his memoir The Paris Edition: 1927-1934 recounts the New England native’s days after WWI working as a reporter for the English-language Paris edition of the Chicago Tribune, a paper helmed by the tyrannical and eccentric Colonel McCormick. Hilarious, warm, and witty, Root offers a joyous but un-romanticized take on his life as an American in Paris during an extraordinary time. Root never met Hemingway, though Henry Miller makes a brief cameo while he worked as a less than stellar Tribuneproofreader.

December 17, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Recommendations for great campus master plans?

Hello hive mind.  In my non-academic role as a planning commissioner, I am currently reviewing a campus master plan for an urban university.  In general, the one I am reviewing looks pretty good; but I began to wonder if anyone knows of a great campus master plan--one preferably done recently, or at least more recently that Jefferson's plan for the University of Virginia.  I'd like to take a look at a few others.  Feel free to recommend great campus master plans in the comments below, or email me at millers <at> uidaho <dot> edu.

December 17, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Call for Proposals: June 10-11: Washburn Institute for Law Teaching and Learning: Real-World Readiness



Institute for Law Teaching and Learning—Summer 2016 Conference

“Real-World Readiness”

June 10-11, 2016

Washburn University School of Law—Topeka, Kansas


The Institute for Law Teaching and Learning invites proposals for conference workshops addressing the many ways that law schools are preparing students to enter the real world of law practice. With the rising demands for “practice-ready” lawyers, this topic has taken on increased urgency in recent years.  How are law schools and law professors taking on the challenge of graduating students who are ready to join the real world of practicing attorneys?  Can we be doing more?

The Institute takes a broad view of educational practices that promote real-world readiness. Accordingly, we welcome proposals for workshops on incorporating such teaching techniques in doctrinal, clinical, externship, writing, seminar, hybrid, and interdisciplinary courses.  Workshops can address real-world readiness in first-year courses, upper-level courses, required courses, electives, or academic support teaching.  Workshops can present innovative teaching materials, course designs, curricular or program designs, etc.  Each workshop should include materials that participants can use during the workshop and also when they return to their campuses.  Presenters should model best practices in teaching methods by actively engaging the workshop participants. 

The Institute invites proposals for 60-minute workshops consistent with a broad interpretation of the conference theme. To be considered for the conference, proposals should be one single-spaced page (maximum) and should include the following information:

  • the title of the workshop;
  • the name, address, telephone number, and email address of the presenter(s);
  • a summary of the contents of the workshop, including its goals and methods; and
  • an explanation of the interactive teaching methods the presenter(s) will use to engage the audience.

The Institute must receive proposals by February 1, 2016. Submit proposals via email to Emily Grant, Co-Director, Institute for Law Teaching and Learning, at emily.grant@washburn.edu.

Conference Details 

Schedule of Events:

Washburn University School of Law will host a welcome reception on the evening of Thursday, June 9, and the conference workshops will take place at the law school all day on Friday, June 10, and until the early afternoon on Saturday, June 11.

Travel and Lodging:

Topeka is about 75 minutes away from the Kansas City airport (MCI). You may wish to rent a car at MCI for the drive to Topeka. There are a few shuttle services available, if you’d like to explore those options (http://www.kciroadrunner.com/ and http://www.fiveguysshuttle.com/index.html).

A block of hotel rooms will be reserved for a discounted rate at the Ramada Topeka Downtown Hotel and Convention Center.


The conference fee for participants is $450, which includes materials, meals during the conference (two breakfasts and two lunches), and a welcome reception on Thursday evening, June 9, 2016. The conference fee for presenters is $350.

For more information, please visit our website (http://lawteaching.org/conferences/2016/) or contact any one of the ILTL Co-Directors:

Professor Emily Grant



Associate Dean Sandra Simpson



Professor Kelly Terry



December 16, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Kochan on marijuana land use controls

Donald Kochan (Chapman) has an interesting new article, Incumbent Landscapes, Disruptive Uses: Perspectives on Marijuana-Related Land Use Control, forthcoming in Texas A&M's Journal of Property Law.  Here is the abstract: 


The story behind the move toward marijuana’s legality is a story of disruptive forces to the incumbent legal and physical landscape.  It affects incumbent markets, incumbent places, the incumbent regulatory structure, and the legal system in general which must mediate the battles involving the push for relaxation of illegality and adaptation to accepting new marijuana-related land uses, against efforts toward entrenchment, resilience, and resistance to that disruption.

This Article is entirely agnostic on the issue of whether we should or should not decriminalize, legalize, or otherwise increase legal tolerance for marijuana or any other drugs.  Nonetheless, we must grapple with the fact that many jurisdictions are embracing a type of “legality innovation” regarding marijuana.  I define “legality innovation” as that effect which begins with the change in law that leads to the development of the lawful relevance of, lawful business regarding, and legal use for a newly-legal product, the successful deployment of which depends on the relative acceptance of the general public which must provide a venue for its operations along with the relative change in the consuming public’s attitudes as a result of the introduction of legality.

Marijuana-related land uses are and will be controversial.  Regulatory responses, neighborhood disputes, permit battles, and opposition coalitions are all predictable both as a matter of logical analysis in light of legal standards but also, very importantly, due to the lessons of history with similarly-situated, precursor land uses like liquor stores, adult entertainment, bars, nightclubs, massage parlors, and the like leading the way.  The Article also discusses the role of incumbent interests groups in shaping the new marijuana-related regulatory structure, including revealing Baptist and bootlegger coalitions that exist to oppose relaxation of marijuana laws and thwart land use successes of the marijuana industry in order to maintain their incumbent value or profit position.  Finally, the Article engages with the growing literature in the social sciences on place and space, examining how the spaces and places we inhabit and in which we conduct our business and social affairs are necessarily impacted whenever legality innovations like we are seeing with marijuana work to disrupt the incumbent landscape.

December 16, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Property rights in an ISIS city

Planet Money had a great episode recently detailing a smuggled-out city budgeting document for a Syrian city that has now fallen to ISIS, the terror organization.  It turns out that ISIS runs its civil operations with an administrative precision.  The line item that caught my ear was "confiscations"--the taking of real and personal private property of the city's residents--to fund the city's operation.  According to the report, some 40% of the city budget under ISIS derived from such confiscations.  One town's confiscations to make the city budget:  17 houses, 80 cars, 36 trucks, land, cigarettes, and sheep.

Oh, and by the way, you need a permit to loot antiquities in an ISIS jurisdiction.  For that, ISIS might set a new standard for licensure and taxes in lawless behavior.

Quite remarkable.  The detailed discussion of the city budget begins around Minute 9:00.



December 9, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 4, 2015

Airbnb releases data on New York City operations

From the New York Times:

The new data set released on Tuesday, which is made available only by making an appointment to visit Airbnb’s New York City office, shows that a majority of New York City hosts do not have large numbers of properties to rent out. From November 2014 until November 2015, some 75 percent of revenue earned by active hosts in New York City who share their entire home came from people who have only one or two rental listings on the platform. Over 2015 to 2016, Airbnb projects that number will rise to 93 percent. The typical annual host income is roughly $5,110, according to the data.

Full article here.


December 4, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Vice-Chair of Dallas City Plan Commission Refused Boarding on Virgin America Flight

Once in a while a "news of the weird" item with a land use angle appears in my Facebook feed.  Yesterday the New York Times reported that prominent Dallas lawyer and Vice-Chair of the Dallas City Plan Commission was denied boarding on a Virgin America flight at LaGuardia, ostensibly because he cut off a member of the crew in a revolving door when entering the airport.  Apparently airline crew have broad discretion to deny boarding on flights. There's been some speculation that Robert B. Abtahi, who is Iranian-American, was racially profiled. But Virgin America has apologized and offered Mr. Abtahi free flights, which he has passed along to the Human Rights Initiative of North Dallas.

I'm sure Mr. Abtahi would rather be famous for his lawyering skills, his advocacy for refugees, or his call for civility in Dallas local politics. But, as his Twitter feed shows, he seems to have handled the whole incident with class.

Jamie Baker Roskie

December 1, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Land use articles posted to SSRN in November

It's the first of the month, which means it is time to see what land use-related articles has been posted to SSRN's Land Use, Property and Real Estate eJournal in November.  As always, the list is in reverse-chronological order; the articles at the top of the list were those posted at the end of the month.  (I have purposefully removed the number of downloads as ranking for these monthly lists because that is meaningless where some articles have been available for a month and others for just a few days.)  I also continue to divide the list into U.S. authors and non-U.S. authors based solely upon self-identified institution; I make no effort to further refine this divide based on content of the article.  Finally, I compile this list quickly; if I have inadvertently missed an article of yours that you would like to publicize, do not be bashful about contacting me and I'd be happy to post it.

Without further ado, here is this month's reading list...

Authors based at U.S. institutions:

 Improving Emerging Regulatory Experiments in Permit Process Coordination for Endangered Species and Aquatic Resources in California
Environmental Law Reporter, February, 2016 Forthcoming, UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2015-90
Alejandro E. Camacho Elizabeth M. Taylor Melissa L. Kelly and Stephanie L. Talavera 
University of California Irvine School of Law , University of California, Irvine School of Law , University of California, Irvine School of Law and UC Irvine, School of Law, Center for Land, Environment, and Natural Resources 

 Planner Beware: A Peculiar Exception to Traditional Texas Community Property Rules
Nikki Laing 
Capshaw Green, PLLC 

 Reflections on Calgary's Spatial Structure: An Urban Economist’s Critique of Municipal Planning in Calgary
SPP Research Paper No. 8-35
Richard J. Arnott 
Boston College 

 Trends in Private Land Conservation: Increasing Complexity, Shifting Conservation Purposes and Allowable Private Land Uses
Land Use Policy 51, 76–84 (2016 Forthcoming), 
Jessica Owley and Adena R. Rissman 
State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo - Law School and University of Wisconsin-Madison 

 An Empirical Study of Modification and Termination of Conservation Easements: What the Data Suggest About Appropriate Legal Rules
NYU Environmental Law Journal, Vol. 24, No. 1, 2016
Gerald Korngold Semida Munteanu and Lauren E. Smith 
New York Law School , Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and London Fischer LLP 

 The Oklahoma Wind Energy Development Act, as Amended. The Impact of the Amendments; Comparing and Contrasting Multiple Guidelines and, Other Persuasive Jurisdictions with Specific Emphasis to Oklahoma
Robert Ongom Cwinya-ai 
Port of New Orleans Legal Office 

 Prior Appropriation: A Reassessment
Water Law Review, Vol 18, No. 2, 2015
Lawrence J. MacDonnell 
University of Colorado Law School 

 Preservando La Propiedad a Través Del Poder De Lo Colectivo: Lecciones Para Barcelona (Preserving Homeownership Through the Power of the Collective: Lessons for Barcelona)
297 Revista de Derecho Urbanístico y Medio Ambiente 31 (2015),
Julie D. Lawton 
DePaul University - College of Law 

 Who is My Client? Client-Centered Lawyering with Multiple Clients
22 Clinical L. Rev. 145 (2015)
Julie D. Lawton 
DePaul University - College of Law 
 Planning an Affordable City
Iowa Law Review, Vol. 101, pp. 91-136, 2015
David Schleicher and Roderick M. Hills, Jr. 
Yale University - Law School and New York University School of Law 

 Common Property Resources and the Law
Partners for Law in Development (PLD) 

 Modifying Mortgage Discrimination in Consumer Bankruptcy
Arizona Law Review, Vol. 57, 2015
Abbye Jo Atkinson 
Stanford Law School 

 Assessing the Impacts of Climate Change on the Built Environment: A Framework for Environmental Reviews
Environmental Law Reporter, November 2015, Columbia Sabin Center for Climate Change Law Research Paper
Jessica A. Wentz 
Columbia University - Sabin Center for Climate Change Law 

 The Illusion of Fiscal Illusion in Regulatory Takings
Bethany Berger 
University of Connecticut School of Law 

 Towards an Urban Land Resource Curse? A Fresh Perspective on a Long-Standing Issue
Dieter Zinnbauer 
Transparency International - International Secretariat 

 High-Volume Accuracy: An Empirical Look at an Inquisitorial Experiment
GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2015-48, GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2015-48
Jessica Steinberg 
George Washington University - Law School 

 Disparate Impact and Integration: With TDHCA v. Inclusive Communities the Supreme Court Retains an Uneasy Status Quo
Journal of Affordable Housing and Community Development Law, Forthcoming, University of Missouri School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2015-26
Rigel Christine Oliveri 
University of Missouri School of Law 

 Convergence and Divergence: The Treatment of Certain Aspects of Real Property Under the Civil Codes of Qatar and California
International Review of Law (Qatar), No. 7, 2015, Thomas Jefferson School of Law Research Paper No. 2687603
Aaron Schwabach 
Thomas Jefferson School of Law 

 Foreword: The Future of Federalism, from the Bottom Up
76 Mont. L. Rev. 1 (2015)
Anthony Johnstone 
University of Montana School of Law 

 California Supreme Court Unanimously Upholds Inclusionary Zoning as Land Use Regulation and Not an Exaction
38 California Real Property Law Reporter 116, 2015
Tim Iglesias 
University of San Francisco - School of Law 

 Property Rebels: Reclaiming Abandoned Bank-Owned Homes for Community Uses
American University Law Review, Vol. 65, Issue 2, Forthcoming, Howard Law Research Paper No. 15-7
Valerie Schneider 
Howard University School of Law 

 Somewhat at Sea: Public Use and Third-Party Transfer Limits in Two US States
Rethinking Expropriation Law I: Rethinking Public Interest in Expropriation (Björn Hoops et al. eds., Eleven Int’l Publ’g 2016, Forthcoming, 
John A. Lovett 
Loyola University New Orleans College of Law 

 Eminent Domain: A Legal and Economic Critique
7 U. Md. L.J. Race, Religion, Gender & Class 140 (2007)
Nadia E. Nedzel and Walter E. Block 
Southern University Law Center and Loyola University New Orleans - Joseph A. Butt, S.J. College of Business 

 Reviving Protection for Private Property: A Practical Approach to Blight Takings
Michigan State Law Review, Vol. 2008, No. 995, 2008
Nadia E. Nedzel 
Southern University Law Center 

 Popular Constitutionalism after Kelo
George Mason Law Review, Vol. 23, No. __, 2016 Forthcoming
Josh Blackman 
South Texas College of Law 

 The Ibanez Property Ring: A Surprising Hidden Story Behind a Significant Foreclosure Lawsuit
Zachary K. Kimball 
Harvard Law School 

Authors based at non-U.S. institutions:

 Ownership and Exclusivity: Two Visions, Two Traditions
American Journal of Comparative Law, Forthcoming
Benjamin Porat 
Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Faculty of Law 

 The Numerus Clausus of Property Rights
M. Graziadei and L. Smith, eds., Comparative Property Law: Global Perspectives, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2016, Maastricht Faculty of Law Working Paper No. 2015/10
Bram Akkermans 
Maastricht University - Maastricht European Private Law Institute (M-EPLI) 

 On the Efficiency of the Common Law: An Application to the Recovery of Rewards
European Journal of Law and Economics, Forthcoming
Anthony Niblett 
University of Toronto - Faculty of Law 

 Warsaw Rebuilt: Incorporating Affordable Housing by Design
Studia Luridica (University of Warsaw), October 2015
Julie D. Lawton 
DePaul University - College of Law 

 Recent Trends in Regional and National Case Law on Environmental Rights, Access to Justice and Obligation to Protect the Environment Against Oil Pollution and Gas Flaring in Nigeria
Muhammed Tawfiq Ladan 
Ahmadu Bello University 

 The Challenges of Private Law
Hanoch Dagan 
Tel Aviv University - Buchmann Faculty of Law 

 The Capacity of Property Rights to Accommodate Social-Ecological Resilience
Ecology and Society 18(1): 6, 2013, DOI: 10.5751/ES-05292-180106
Richard Alan Barnes 
University of Hull 

 The Many Land Acquisition Laws of Zanzibar: Is There an Innermost Objective?
Paper presented at International Conference on Advanced Research in Business and Social Sciences 2015, 2nd to 3rd September, 2015, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Malaysia
Abdul-Nasser Hamed Hikmany 
International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM), Students 

 Navigating Legal Rights in Spatial Media
Forthcoming, 2016, in Kitchin, Lauriault & Wilson, eds. Understanding Spatial Media, Sage Publications.
Teresa Scassa 
University of Ottawa - Common Law Section 

 Legal Issues of Land Acquisition in Zanzibar
Abdul-Nasser Hamed Hikmany Sharifah Zubaidah Abdul Kader and Ahmad Azam Othman 
International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM), Students , International Islamic University Malaysia and International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM) 

 Acquisition of Ownership of Real Property by Contract in Serbian Law – Departing from the Titulus-Modus System?
Annals of University of Belgrade School of Law, 2015
Milos Zivkovic 
University of Belgrade - Faculty of Law 

 Confirming Torrens Orthodoxy: The High Court Decision in Cassegrain v Gerard Cassegrain & Co Pty Ltd
A later version of this article was published in (2015) 24(1) Australian Property Law Journal 211, UWA Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 2015-12
Penny Carruthers and Natalie Kym Skead 
University of Western Australia - Faculty of Law and University of Western Australia - Faculty of Law 

Negotiating Conduct and Compensation Agreements for Coal Seam Gas Operations: Developing the Queensland Regulatory Framework
L Boulle, T Hunter, M Weir and K Curnow, 'Negotiating Conduct and Compensation Agreements for Coal Seam Gas Operations: Developing the Queensland Regulatory Framework' (2014) 17(1) Australasian Journal of Natural Resources Law and Policy 75-100, University of Queensland TC Beirne School of Law Research Paper
Laurence Boulle Tina Hunter Michael Weir and Katherine A Curnow 
Independent , Independent , Independent and T.C. Beirne School of Law, The University of Queensland 

 Systems of Public Ownership
in Michele Graziadei - Lionel Smith, eds., Comparative Property Law: A Research Handbook, Edward Elgar, (2016), Forthcoming 
Giorgio Resta 
Università degli Studi di Roma Tre, Law Department 

December 1, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Is Uber a "disruptive innovation"? Clayton Christensen says no.

The theory of "disruptive innovation," which was first announced by Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen in 1995, has become the talk of the town.  It has become especially prominent in land use circles with the rise of sharing economy uses such as Uber and Airbnb that are redefining how cities operate.  The question, though, is whether Christensen's theory of disruption is properly applied to the rise of the sharing economy; on a broader scale, the theory of disruption has become so hot that people seem to be applying it to everything.  Are they doing so correctly?

In a new article out in this month's edition of the Harvard Business Review, Christensen and several colleagues crystallize, and in part, revise, the original theory of disruptive innovation on this its 20th anniversary.  It is an important read for those that want to keep up to date on how new on-demand technologies are affecting how we use personal and real property and the commensurate regulation of those enterprises.  

Here is an excerpt from the article:

First, a quick recap of the idea: “Disruption” describes a process whereby a smaller company with fewer resources is able to successfully challenge established incumbent businesses. Specifically, as incumbents focus on improving their products and services for their most demanding (and usually most profitable) customers, they exceed the needs of some segments and ignore the needs of others. Entrants that prove disruptive begin by successfully targeting those overlooked segments, gaining a foothold by delivering more-suitable functionality— frequently at a lower price. Incumbents, chasing higher profitability in more-demanding segments, tend not to respond vigorously. Entrants then move upmarket, delivering the performance that incumbents’ mainstream customers require, while preserving the advantages that drove their early success. When mainstream customers start adopting the entrants’ offerings in volume, disruption has occurred. (See the exhibit “The Disruptive Innovation Model.”)

Is Uber a Disruptive Innovation?

Let’s consider Uber, the much-feted transportation company whose mobile application connects consumers who need rides with drivers who are willing to provide them. Founded in 2009, the company has enjoyed fantastic growth (it operates in hundreds of cities in 60 countries and is still expanding). It has reported tremendous financial success (the most recent funding round implies an enterprise value in the vicinity of $50 billion). And it has spawned a slew of imitators (other start-ups are trying to emulate its “market-making” business model). Uber is clearly transforming the taxi business in the United States. But is it disrupting the taxi business? According to the theory, the answer is no. Uber’s financial and strategic achievements do not qualify the company as genuinely disruptive—although the company is almost always described that way. Here are two reasons why the label doesn’t fit.

Because the article is behind a paywall, I must cut the excerpt off there.  Here is the cite for those with access to HBR:  

CHRISTENSEN, CLAYTON M., MICHAEL RAYNOR, and RORY MCDONALD. "What Is Disruptive Innovation?." Harvard Business Review 93.12 (2015): 44-53. Business Source Premier. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.


December 1, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 29, 2015

A COP 21 backgrounder

The big kickoff of COP 21 in Paris is upon us.  To keep up with all the acronyms and agreements flying about, readers might find "Process" section of the official COP 21 website to be especially useful.  For instance, there is a great summary of "essential background," which is reproduced below.  There are lots of links to anything you'd like to know more about, including land use topics like urban resiliency.

Your backgrounder:

Climate change in context

2013 - Key decisions adopted at COP19/CMP9 include decisions on further advancing the Durban Platform, the Green Climate Fund and Long-Term Finance, the Warsaw Framework for REDD Plus and the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage. More on the Warsaw Outcomes

2012 - The Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol is adopted by the CMP at CMP8. More on the Doha Amendment. Several decisions taken opening a gateway to greater ambition and action on all levels. More on the Doha Climate Gateway.  

2011 — The Durban Platform for Enhanced Action drafted and accepted by the COP, at COP17. More on the Durban outcomes.

2010 — Cancun Agreements drafted and largely accepted by the COP, at COP16. More on the Cancun Agreements.

2009 — Copenhagen Accord drafted at COP15 in Copenhagen. This was taken note of by the COP. Countries later submitted emissions reductions pledges or mitigation action pledges, all non-binding.

2007 — IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report released. Climate science entered into popular consciousness. At COP13, Parties agreed on the Bali Road Map, which charted the way towards a post-2012 outcome in two work streams: the AWG-KP, and another under the Convention, known as the Ad-Hoc Working Group on Long-Term Cooperative Action Under the Convention. More about the Bali Road Map.

2005 — Entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol. The first Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (MOP 1) takes place in Montreal. In accordance with Kyoto Protocol requirements, Parties launched negotiations on the next phase of the KP under the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP). What was to become the Nairobi Work Programme on Adaptation (it would receive its name in 2006, one year later) is accepted and agreed on. More about the Nairobi Work Programme.

2001 — Release of IPCC's Third Assessment Report. Bonn Agreements adopted, based on the Buenos Aires Plan of Action of 1998. Marrakesh Accords adopted at COP7, detailing rules for implementation of Kyoto Protocol, setting up new funding and planning instruments for adaptation, and establishing a technology transfer framework.

1997 — Kyoto Protocol formally adopted in December at COP3. More about the Kyoto Protocol.

1996 — The UNFCCC Secretariat is set up to support action under the Convention. More on the Secretariat.

1995 — The first Conference of the Parties (COP 1) takes place in Berlin.

1994 — UNFCCC enters into force. An introduction to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

1992 — The INC adopts UNFCCC text. At the Earth Summit in Rio, the UNFCCC is opened for signature along with its sister Rio Conventions, UNCBD and UNCCD. More about the two other Rio Conventions: UNCBD and UNCCD.

1991 — First meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) takes place.

1990 — IPCC's first assessment report released. IPCC and second World Climate Conference call for a global treaty on climate change. United Nations General Assembly negotiations on a framework convention begin.

1988 — The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is set up. More about the science of climate change.

1979 — The first World Climate Conference (WCC) takes place.

November 29, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Demographic Destiny 2050

This week, the Wall Street Journal posted a wonderful interactive series of graphics to explore the coming changes in world populations.  The demographic changes of the next 35 years will be truly staggering.  I have written about their impacts on land use in several articles; many other readers of the blog have also done great work in bringing together this information, as well.  I'd strongly suggest 15 minutes playing around with the WSJ's Demographic Destiny 2050 site.  Not only does it do a great job of conveying important information, it also does so with stories and beautiful and telling imagery.  

[Note:  access to the interactive site is not behind the WSJ paywall and is freely accessible.]

November 29, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

NYU Furman Center Job Opportunity

Legal Research Fellowship

The Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy at New York University invites applications for a post-graduate legal fellowship. The Furman Center, jointly housed at NYU’s School of Law and its Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, is a leading academic research center devoted to the public policy aspects of land use, real estate development, and housing. The Furman Center’s law fellowships are designed for promising legal scholars with a strong interest in housing, local government, real estate, or land use law. The Fellow’s time is shared equally between independent research on topics of his or her choice and preparation to enter the academic job market, and Furman Center research projects, conducted jointly with faculty members, graduate students, and staff. In recent years, legal fellows have worked on projects addressing the legal impediments to the development of micro and accessory dwelling units in New York and other cities; an empirical and legal analysis of the use of transferable development rights in New York City; the economics and legal issues surrounding mandatory inclusionary zoning; and a number of projects addressing fair housing law. The Fellow also helps produce the Center’s annual State of New York City’s Housing and Neighborhoods report. The Law Fellow is invited to participate in faculty workshops, colloquia, and other scholarly forums at the NYU School of Law, and will have the opportunity to work with NYU law school professors and particularly with those who serve on the Center’s Advisory Committee. This two-year fellowship typically begins summer/fall. The position comes with a salary and generous benefits.


A J.D. degree, superior academic achievement, excellent writing skills, initiative, and a demonstrated interest in and commitment to scholarship are required.

To Apply

Applicants should submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae, scholarly writing sample, and the names and contact information of 3 references. Application materials and questions should be sent to furmanjobs@nyu.edu. Please include “Legal Research Fellowship” in the subject line. Applications will be given consideration until the position is filled. Review of applications will begin immediately and will be evaluated on a rolling basis. Only candidates of interest will be contacted.

New York University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

November 25, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 23, 2015

"Meeting about Virginia mosque exposes deep divide"

Anti-Muslim sentiment has been rapidly increasing since the attacks in Paris.  Last week, this issue took on a land use angle when a meeting over the traffic impacts of the expansion of a mosque in Spotsylvania County, Virginia became deeply contentious, not over traffic, but about the fact that Muslims are in Virginia at all. As the Washington Post reports:

The meeting was intended to address traffic concerns around the proposed religious center but instead was taken over by half a dozen angry protesters calling the Muslim residents terrorists.

The outbursts of hatred came amid rising calls across the country to pause or end resettlement of Muslim refugees in the United States. Fredericksburg and the counties surrounding it have become popular places for Middle Eastern refugees lured by low housing prices and available jobs. But the fast-growing area 50 miles south of Washington retains a conservative and rural character. . .

The would-be mosque-builders were accused of planning a site for Syrian refugees or illegal immigrants. Attendee Elizabeth Wiley, 59, said that one of the protesters threatened her. “He said, ‘Yes, ma’am, I am threatening all of you,’ ” she recalled. A sheriff’s deputy stopped the meeting shortly after that encounter, according to the posted video. But Wiley and others said they wished the disrupters had been removed and detained.

However, "[s]ince the meeting was reported in the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, the Islamic Center has been flooded with letters and gestures of support."

Troubling times.

Jamie Baker Roskie


November 23, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 21, 2015

WSJ: Why White House Economists Worry About Land-Use Regulations

From the Wall Street Journal:

White House economic advisers have produced a steady diet of white papers this year to spotlight the puzzle of sluggish productivity, which economists want a better handle on because it helps explain why incomes for the broad middle class aren’t rising. Their latest target: land-use restrictions.

Housing is growing less affordable because there’s more demand for rental and, increasingly, owner-occupied housing, but little new supply. This hasn’t been a problem until recently—there’s been a considerable backlog of foreclosures and other vacant homes following last decade’s property bust. Throughout the housing slump, policy makers have focused on boosting demand by keeping mortgage rates low and expanding access to credit.

Now, there’s growing attention on what’s happening on the supply side. Some cities face supply constraints beyond their control. Coastal cities often see much pricier housing—and considerable price volatility—because there aren’t too many places left to build.

But other cities make things worse with zoning and other land-use restrictions that discourage production, said Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, in a speech Friday at a housing conference co-hosted byCoreLogic, a data company, and the Urban Institute, a think tank.

“Artificial constraints” on housing supply hinders mobility, and increasing mobility “is going to be an important part of the solution of increasing incomes and increasing incomes across generations,” Mr. Furman said. Zoning rules, of course, aren’t distributed randomly across the country, which means they’re “actually correlated with those places that have higher inequality,” he said.

This feeds a cycle in which cities that have more restrictions on land use have higher inequality, which further constrains mobility, which further exacerbates inequality, and so on.

Read the rest here.

November 21, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 20, 2015

Federal Judge Re-Opens Connecticut "Definition of Family" Case

Zoning ordinances that restrict occupation of single family homes to "families" are quite common.  My family and I have lived in two college towns - Athens, Georgia and Fort Collins, Colorado, both of which have and enforce these ordinances to restrict groups of young adults from living in single family neighborhoods. Challenges are not uncommon, but those challenges have had mixed success.

The latest battleground is Hartford, Connecticut, where a group of families are living in a mansion they jointly purchased.  From today's article in the Hartford Courant: 

The neighborhood controversy escalated to a federal lawsuit in March, when the adult members of the 11-person household — two couples with children, a couple with no children and two individuals collectively dubbed the Scarborough 11 — argued that the city was violating their constitutional rights to live together and raise children as a family through a partnership among good friends.

Since the plaintiffs in these types of challenges tend to be groups of single young adults living together, it will be interesting to see how this family group fares.

Jamie Baker Roskie

November 20, 2015 in Affordable Housing, Caselaw, Georgia, Housing, Zoning | Permalink | Comments (0)