Friday, November 5, 2010

International Academic Association on Planning, Law and Property Rights Conference

The fifth conference of the International Academic Association on Planning, Law and Property Rights (PLPR) will be held between 26–28 May 2011 at the Faculty of Law, University of Alberta, in Edmonton, Canada. The program and call for papers may be found at

Professor Jill Grant of Dalhousie University and Professor William Fischel of Dartmouth College are this year's keynote speakers.

We invite papers on all topics related to law and planning, including:

- legal aspects of urban, regional, and rural planning;
- land use controls;
- property rights, expropriation and compensation;
- housing;
- land policy, land management, and land readjustment;
heritage preservation;
- environmental protection;
- land use and aboriginal rights;

Abstracts may be submitted by December 15, 2010 to
For further information, contact Eran Kaplinsky at

November 5, 2010 in Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Who Owns Your Building (Code)?

In a brief talk, Carl Malamud argues that building codes and other legal materials should remain in the public domain rather than being put under the control of private owners:

 I have some sympathy with Malamud's position, but I think his argument is way overbroad.  As I've argued elsewhere (see here), there are strong reasons to think that state and local governments fail to innovate at an optimal level.  Currently, a jurisdiction that produces a failed innovation is forced to shoulder all of the costs of its experiment.  At the same time, a jurisdiction that crafts successful policies cannot stop its neighbors from copying its ideas and filching the benefits. Faced with this scenario, the rational government will prefer to copy the successful experiments of others rather than attempt to forge new solutions to tough problems.

Property rights could help. Granting state and local governments some kind of property right in their legal innovations would help them to better internalize the benefits of their risktaking, and would ultimately lead to more and better innovations.

Steve Clowney

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November 5, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Horizontal and Vertical Cities

Witold Rybczynski, one of my favorite writers on urban issues, has an article at Slate on what Americans want from cities.  It is based on his new book, Makeshift Metropolis: Ideas About Cities.

Ben Barros

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November 3, 2010 in Land Use | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

All Politics is Property

Mark wrote a great post at the end of the summer arguing that we're underselling the importance of property to our first year students.  He argued that, as a group, we don't make it clear what's really at stake.  Afterall, "property rights are at the center of the most massive struggles in world history."  I think Mark's argument is largely correct.

However, in addition to that point, I think we also need to drive home that property rights are at the very center of almost every local election.  Check out this election guide (pdf) that covers the city council races here in Lexington.  Of the six "Big Issues" facing Lexington, four are directly related to property: the preservation of local horsefarms, the expansion of our urban service boundary, design standards for downtown, and the demolition of old buildings (the other two issues were about investigating fraud and reducing spending).  You simply can't be an informed citizen without some basic knowledge of property stuff. 

And if that doesn't make property the most important subject on the first year curriculum then I don't know what does...  

Steve Clowney

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November 3, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

US Shopping Center Law Conference

I'm heading to Hollywood (Florida, that is) for the annual US Shopping Center Law Conference, put on by the International Council of Shopping Centers.  They are expecting 1150 real estate transactional attorneys this year, up from the past few years. You can find details, and download the program (under the heading "Event Brochure" here.

For a real estate transactional attorney, the Shopping Center Law Conference is the best way to get a finger on the pulse of the practice.  Basic programs have titles like "Title Insurance and Surveys: From Point A to Point Z" and "Basics of Insurance" (you can blame me for that unexciting name -- that's the seminar I'm co-presenting).

But a number of programs each year also focus on timely issues, like "Minefields, Sheer Cliffs and Rough Roads: The Landscape of Loan Workouts in 2010" and "Economic Risks and Opportunities for Real Estate Following the Great Recession" (to be presented by Prof. Gyourko of Wharton).

It should be a great program this year and I encourage those teaching Real Estate Transactions to consider attending next year.

Tanya Marsh

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November 3, 2010 in Real Estate Transactions | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Supreme Court Grants Cert in Derivative Title Patent Case

Dennis Crouch has the details at PatentlyO.  As he notes, the case presents some derivative title issues that resemble those that come up in other property contexts.

Ben Barros

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November 2, 2010 in Intellectual Property | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Our Kind of People

The N.Y. Times on sellers of property who look for buyers who share their values.  As one seller remarked:

My idea is to find someone who deserves the house and can feel what is here. We brought our kids up in this house, and we feel it’s a magical place.

Steve Clowney

November 1, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Top Ten Property Paper Downloads

In honor of the first of the month, here are the top ten recent Property paper downloads from SSRN:

1. [3783 downloads] Two Faces: Demystifying the Mortgage Electronic Registration System's Land Title Theory by Christopher Lewis Peterson (Utah)

2. [350 downloads] Global Climate Governance to Enhance Biodiversity & Well-Being: Integrating Non-State Networks and Public International Law in Tropical Forests by Andrew Long (Florida Coastal)

3. [114 downloads] Medical Marijuana Meets Zoning: Can You Grow, Smoke and Sell that Here? by Zachary Kansler (Albany) and Patricia Salkin (Albany)

4. [86 downloads] Social Networking and Land Use Planning Regulation: Practical Benefits, Pitfalls and Ethical Considerations by Patricia Salkin (Albany)

5. [82 downloads] The Florida Beach Case and the Road to Judicial Takings by Michael C. Blumm (Lewis & Clark) and Elizabeth Dawson (Lewis & Clark)

6. [79 downloads] Information Failure and the U.S. Mortgage Crisis by Adam J. Levitin (Georgetown) and Susan M. Wachter (Penn)

7. [64 downloads] Adam Smith in the Courts of the United States by Robin Paul Malloy

8. [63 downloads] Of Woodchucks and Prune Yards: A View of Judicial Takings from the Trenches by Mark Murakami, Tred Eyerly, Robert H. Thomas

9. [63 downloads]  Why There Might Not Be Many Damage Claims Arising from the Spanish Property Insurance Cartel? by Francisco Marcos (Instituto de Empresa Business School)

10. [62 downloads] Progressive Property in Action: The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 by John A. Lovett

Steve Clowney

November 1, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Trick-or-Treat Index

Richard Florida is at it again:

With Halloween just around the corner, you probably don’t have time to move to a different city to improve your (or your kids’) candy haul. But you may be lucky to already live in one of the best cities for trick-or-treating. We crunched the numbers to come up with a list of the best cities to be in when the costumes come out.

Steve Clowney

October 31, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)