November 5, 2007
Salkin on Sprawl
Patricia Salkin (Albany Law School) has posted Squaring the Circle on Sprawl: What More Can We Do?: Progress Towards Sustainable Land Use in the States on SSRN. Here's the abstract:
With almost ten years of nationwide dialogue and experimentation with the legal implementation of smart growth concepts at the state and local levels,this paper pauses to consider whether and to what extent success has been realized. The one certainty in this dynamic intersection of land development and conservation is that there is no one best model adaptable to all fifty states. Rather, to accommodate national diversity in local government structure, cultural relationships of people to the land, and differences in geography and a sense of place, the best lesson learned is that advocates and lawmakers alike must shape and adopt politically palatable policies, programs, and regulations to best fit their unique jurisdictional sustainability needs. However, with the realization that a lot of innovation is taking place at the state level in furtherance of smart growth initiatives also comes the reality that if states fail to continue to promote and refine these programs, the United States will lose the war on sustainability. This paper examines the recent efforts by states to provide localities with the tools necessary to curb sprawl and to promote sustainable communities.
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One thing states can do is to stop candidates from taking bribes, I mean campaign contributions from powerful, real estate developers...In lieu of that however, perhaps the ultimate resource that should be required reading for all vision-less politicians and the even more mindless state-government agency staffers is "Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream", by Duany, Plater-Zyberk, and Speck. One reading of this work will convince you of the need for a near complete overhaul of local ordinance/zoning framework across the nation...that is if you don't like sprawl. It carefully, logically (dare I include that element within a legal discussion), and quasi-scientifically lays out how we got into the shape we're in and possible alternatives to ameliorate it. Perhaps it's naive to think we can return to Mayberry and Andy and Barnie and Floyd, but somewhere in the mix it seems possible to have LeCorbusier coexist with the old Main Street.
Posted by: Sam Gompers | Nov 6, 2007 10:01:12 AM