Thursday, November 11, 2010

Jane Jacobs: Hero of New York

A recent piece in the New Yorker highlights what Manhattan might have looked like if Robert Moses had prevailed in the fight over the Lower Manhattan Expressway.

Check out the architecture.


Steve Clowney

Pic from the Paul Rudolph Archive, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

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November 11, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Want to Know What's a Dumb Idea?

Giving 150 midterms, that's what.  I apologize for my lack of participation as of late, but merciful light is at the end of the grading tunnel.

I like to take some of the pressure off the final and give the students some feedback, but I now think the cost in workload outweighs the benefit.  Of course, I thought that last year, too, and still gave midterms this year.

Could someone please copy this post and send it to me in October of next year?

Do you give midterms, and why or why not?

Mark A. Edwards


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November 10, 2010 in Teaching | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Affordable Housing Bill Marches On

The New Jersey assembly has approved a bill that would revamp how cities and towns meet their constitutional obligation to provide affordable housing:

The bill requires that towns make 10 percent of new development affordable . . . . Developers who do not set aside 10 percent of their units as affordable would pay a 3.5 percent penalty to the state, which would require the money be used to construct affordable housing in the same town. Or towns could set 20 percent of their development land aside for those earning up to 150 percent of their region’s median income.  The enforcement responsibilities will be transferred . . .to the Department of Community Affairs.

Governor Christie has promised to veto any bill that imposes new fees on developers.

Steve Clowney

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November 10, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Corner in Brooklyn, Then and Now

Here is a fascinating little gem for those interested in preservation and architecture -- two photos of the same corner in Brooklyn, one from 1937 and one today.  The buildings are the same, but their facades are completely different. 

The piece includes a link to the New York Public Library Digital Gallery.  That may be a dangerous find for me -- I could waste a LOT of time going through old photos of New York.

Tanya Marsh

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November 9, 2010 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Fracking for Dollars

A primer on the most important property issue of the year: The fate of the Marcellus Shale.

Steve Clowney

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November 9, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Adverse Possession -- A Unique Solution to the Foreclosure Crisis?

The NY Times has a piece today on Mark Guerette, an enterprising person in Florida who sought out homes in working-class neighborhoods that were apparently abandoned by the banks.  He sent letters to the record owners and lenders, informing them that he planned to take over the homes, renovate, and lease them.  He now manages and leases 17 homes, even paying the property taxes that are due.  The renters, who are getting a bargain, love him.  The neighbors seem pretty happy that the homes have been fixed up and are occupied.  The government (and presumably the lenders) aren't so happy.  Mr. Guerette is scheduled to go on trial next month in North Lauderdale on fraud charges.

This is a pretty interesting case and I plan to use it when we discuss adverse possession in Property.  Mr. Guerette seems to have done a lot of things correctly within the rules of the doctrine of adverse possession.  He gave notice to owners and mortgagees, he disclosed to the tenants in writing that he wasn't the legal owner of the property, he fixed up the homes and paid property taxes. 

And I thought adverse possession was a fairly dead doctrine!

Tanya Marsh

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November 9, 2010 in Adverse Possession | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Barros on the Complexities of Judicial Takings

I've posted a draft of my article The Complexities of Judicial Takings on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

In last term’s Stop the Beach Renourishment Inc. v. Florida DEP, the Supreme Court for the first time squarely confronted the question of whether a judicial action could ever be considered an unconstitutional taking of private property. The Court unanimously rejected the judicial takings claim, but the justices issued a highly fragmented set of opinions. No justice was able to command a majority on any of the major conceptual issues presented by the judicial takings question. As a result, the Court dramatically raised the profile of judicial takings question, but left all of the major issues open.

In this article, I argue that the judicial takings issues are even more complicated than the Court’s fractured opinions suggest. In particular, I argue that three factual distinctions among types of cases that largely were ignored in Stop the Beach can lead to dramatically different outcomes in matters of judicial takings standards, procedures, and remedies. I analyze each of the substantive and procedural issues raised by judicial takings in light of these factual distinctions. Along the way, I argue that judicial takings does not require a unique standard different from the Court’s existing takings standards, and that judicial takings (and regulatory takings more broadly) should apply to government actions that mandate transfers of private property to public ownership, but not to government actions that mandate transfers of property between private persons.

I've already touched on some of these issues in various blog posts (e.g., here).  Comments of all sorts would be very welcome.

Ben Barros

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November 8, 2010 in Recent Scholarship, Takings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Texas Supreme Court Decision in Severance v. Patterson

Over at the Land Use Prof blog, Matt Festa has a great post on Severance v. Patterson, an important Texas Open Beaches Act case recently decided by the Florida Supreme Court.

Ben Barros

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November 8, 2010 in Land Use, Recent Cases, Takings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)