July 1, 2011
Friday's Architecture Moment
The oldest buildings in America:
1. Taos Pueblo (1000 A.D.) (Taos, New Mexico)
2. Acoma Pueblo (1100 A.D.) (Cibola County, New Mexico)
3. Cathedral of San Juan Bautista (1521) (San Juan, Puerto Rico)
4. La Fortaleza (1533) (San Juan, Puerto Rico)
5. Palace of the Governors (1610) (Santa Fe, New Mexico)
6. San Miguel Mission (1610) (Santa Fe, New Mexico)
7. St. Luke's Church (1632) (Smithfield, Virginia)
8. Fairbanks House (1637) (Dedham, Massachusetts)
10. C. A. Nothnagle Log House (1638) (Gibbstown, New Jersey)
11. Jamestown Church (1639) (Jamestown Virginia)
Salkin on the Impact of Technology on Urban Development
Patricia Salking (Albany) has posted From Bricks and Mortar to Mega-Bytes and Mega-Pixels: The Changing Landscape of the Impact of Technology and Innovation on Urban Development (The Urban Lawyer) on SSRN. Here's the abstract:
This article reflects upon the impact that technology and innovation has had on urban development. From NASA's Landstat program, to Google maps and GPS, technlogy has had a significant impact on urban planning and land use law. The article begins with a discussion of the impact of the elevator and steel technologies on urban architecture and density, and then moves to changes in transportation such as the automobile and the development of public transportation systems. Green buildings, GIS, satellite data, online mapping, personal computers, the Internet and cell phones are all examined.
June 30, 2011
Can Your Landlord Evict You For Being A Victim of Stalking or Domestic Violence?
The answer, it seems, is maybe.
Around the country, many leases give landlords the power to evict based on the criminal behavior of a tenant, any member of a tenant’s household, or a tenant's guest. Department of Housing an Urban Development, for example, specifically allows landlords to evict tenants for criminal activity committed by any household member or guest -- this is known as "the one-strike rule." The problem with such policies it that they would allow the eviction of female tenants based on the violent acts committed by their spouses, partners, and visitors
There are, however, some legal protections to help the victims of stalking and domestic violence. First, tenants living in public housing or using section 8 vouchers can seek relief under The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). VAWA provides that being a victim of domestic abuse, dating violence, or stalking is not a basis for denial of assistance or admission to public or Section 8 tenat-based or project-based housing. Moreover, VAWA prohibit the termination of assistance or tenancy based on criminal activity directly relating to domestic violence or stalking. (For more info, see this memo from HUD).
Things get tricker in private housing. A few states have passed laws on the issue. California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1161.3, for instance, prohibits terminating the tenancy of a victim of domestic violence "if the domestic violence has been documented in a police report within the last 180 days or has resulted in a restraining order. Domestic violence covered by this statute includes stalking."
The Fair Housing Act may also provide some relief. Facially neutral housing polices like the "one strike rule" almost certainly have a disparate impact on women, since the overwhelming majority of domestic violence victims are female. However, as of yet, I haven't found any great case law on this. It appears the ACLU has brought a case of two on this issue, but the disputes ultimately settled.
June 29, 2011
Monuments to contested histories . . .
In Central and Eastern Europe, monuments wage a silent but very real debate about the meaning of recent history.
In Prague, there are monuments to the communist liberators, and monuments to the victims of communism:
In Budapest, within sight of each other, are monuments to Soviet soldiers killed in the liberation of Budapest in 1945, and to Hungarians killed by Soviet soldiers in the uprising of 1956:
And in Bratislava, the main train station still celebrates the triumph of international socialism over the capitalists:
History hasn't ended. (With luck, it's just begun.)
Mark A. Edwards
(comments are held for approval, so there will be some delay in posting)
Penalver & Sterk Announce New Land Use Textbook
Eduardo Penalver (Cornell) and Stewart Sterk (Cardozo) have a new Land Use textbook that hits the shelves this August. Here's a letter from the publisher's website on what makes the new book distinctive:
(1) An intensely practical focus. Although our book is not short on theory, we emphasize questions and problems that land use lawyers have to face on a regular basis – not just before appellate courts, but before zoning boards, planning commissions, and other administrative bodies. In fact one entire chapter of the book is devoted to three extensive development problems that force students to confront the issues central to land use practice. The problems provide an excellent vehicle for classroom role-playing.
(2) Manageable coverage and length. We have designed our book as a teaching book, not as a desk reference. Because we focus heavily on questions and problems rather than long textual excerpts, the daily reading load will be reasonable for busy students, and will focus their attention on critical issues. We believe that an ambitious teacher will be able to cover the entire book (or almost the entire book) in a three-credit course. Our teachers manual also provides suggestions for adapting the book to a two-credit course or seminar.
(3) An extensive teachers manual that will make it particularly easy to switch casebooks. Our manual does more than summarize the material in the book. We have provided a “Teaching Strategy” for every section of the book. In effect, these strategies are themselves a set of teaching notes that indicate what questions we raise in class, and how we elicit student discussion of the issues raised by the casebook materials. The manual also summarizes each of the principal cases in the book, and provides answers (although not always black-and-white answers) for all of the questions and problems in the casebook.
I always value both Penalver's and Sterk's work, and look forward to cruising thourgh of copy of this text. Currently, you can peruse page proofs at the Foundation Press website: http://www.westacademic.com/Professors/ProductDetails.aspx?productid=161376&tab=1
Stahl on Delegating Zoning Power
Ken Stahl (Chapman) has posted All Power to the Neighborhoods?: The Delegation Doctrine and Neighborhood Control of Zoning on SSRN:
Whether cities should delegate some of their zoning power to neighborhood groups is one of the most hotly contested issues in municipal politics, yet it is also essentially a moot point. Since a bizarre series of Supreme Court cases in the early twentieth century, it has been largely settled that cities may not constitutionally delegate the zoning power to sub-municipal groups, at least where the power is delegated specifically to landowners in a certain proximity to a proposed land use change.
This article argues that the judicial prohibition on delegating zoning power to proximate landowners – a scheme I designate a “neighborhood zoning district” – is doctrinally illogical and indefensible as a matter of public policy. As a doctrinal matter, the cases barring the neighborhood zoning district are at odds with another line of cases in which courts have upheld municipal schemes that empower landowners within a territorial area to authorize the financing of services or improvements through a mandatory assessment, known as a “special assessment district,” or in its modern incarnation as a “business improvement district.” As I argue, neighborhood zoning districts are conceptually identical to special assessment districts. Both restrict the franchise to individuals deemed to have a particularly substantial interest based on land ownership in proximity to a proposed change in the character of the neighborhood. As such, both devices offer landowners the ability to efficiently manage local externalities and enable large, diverse cities to effectively compete with small, homogenous suburbs by mimicking the most attractive features of suburban government. The article attempts to reconcile the two doctrinal lines on several policy grounds, but finds that, in many cases, neighborhood zoning districts actually represent sounder public policy than special assessment districts. The article concludes that courts should broadly defer to municipal delegations of power to sublocal groups, so that cities can work out their own desired relationship between neighborhoods and city hall, and their own strategy for surviving in an era of intense inter-local competition.
June 28, 2011
European Cities Intentionally Make Driving Miserable
The New York Times makes the case that the pedestrianization of Europe has shifted into high gear:
While American cities are synchronizing green lights to improve traffic flow and offering apps to help drivers find parking, many European cities are doing the opposite: creating environments openly hostile to cars. The methods vary, but the mission is clear — to make car use expensive and just plain miserable enough to tilt drivers toward more environmentally friendly modes of transportation.
Some of the stuff in this article just seems crazy to me. Installing unnecessary red lights to make driving miserable? Ugh. I live in a city that has terrible red-light synchronization. It doesn't make Lexington into a walker's paradise--it makes drivers angry and and has led to a culture of running red lights.
That said, I do think there's an interesting story buried in this article about parking. In the U.S., we mandate that new business provide some ungodly number of parking spaces for customers. It appears that in Europe the regulations are backwards: "cities welcome new shopping malls and apartment buildings but severely restrict the allowable number of parking spaces." Why have any parking regulations at all? Why not just let the market make these decisions? If we stop subsidizing parking, we could have enjoyable driving AND encourage more people to use mass transit.
Two Scholars Present Property Papers at Stanford/Yale Junior Faculty Forum
Over the weekend, Stanford hosted the 12th Annual Stanford/Yale Junior Faculty Forum. The Forum's objective is "to encourage the work of young scholars by providing experience in the pursuit of scholarship and the nature of the scholarly exchange. Meetings are held each spring, at Yale one year and Stanford the next." Two scholars presented papers with a property twist:
• Monica Eppinger (St. Louis) presented: Boomtown and Ghost Town in Post-Soviet Ukraine - On Property, Personhood, and the New Objectivity.
• Ryan Bubb (NYU) presented: States, Law, and Property Rights in West Africa.
More photos of buildings, without any particular insight
In Budapest, there is a strange mix of the beautiful and the shabby:
If you're in the market for a cathedral, now's the time:
(comments are held for approval, so there will be some delay in posting)
Owley on Indian Tribes and Conservation Easements
Jessica Owley (Buffalo) has posted Tribes as Conservation Easement Holders: Is a Partial Property Interest Better than None? (book chapter) on SSRN. Here's the abstract:
Conservation easement use is growing rapidly, as is the number of organizations looking to the tool to meet land conservation needs. Until recently, tribes had not been involved in conservation easement transactions. This book chapter examines the most common way tribes have become involved in conservation easement transactions—tribes as conservation easement holders.
The chapter examines why tribes decide to hold conservation easements, looking at the choice to use conservation easements generally and then situating the decision in the evolution of property law in the United States both on and off tribal land. Conservation easements are a uniquely American form of property that emerge from Lockean roots and embrace a libertarian notion of property rights. In that light, tribal embrace of the tool may seem surprising as these notions of property have done harm to tribal sovereignty and may be at odds with some traditional tribal practices.
The chapter concludes by asking whether tribes should use conservation easements. Wrapped up in this question is an assessment of the conservation easement tool generally as a vehicle for long-term land protection. The strength of the conservation easement tool is that it gives government entities the ability to extend their land conservation and environmental stewardship roles beyond their jurisdictional boundaries. Tribes may not have the power to regulate land use in nearby communities, but they can acquire conservation easements over such land and obtain similar results. Thus, despite some discordance due to the anticommunitarian sentiments at the heart of conservation easements, the conservation easement tool may provide tribes with an avenue for furthering tribal goals of conservation and intergenerational equity.
June 27, 2011
The Greenest House in LA?
The LA Times profiles the Nob Hill Haus, possibily the greenest home in the West:
Those who follow sustainable design say the new residence could very well be one of the most water-efficient houses in the region, a milestone for L.A. as the city seeks better models of conservation. The Nob Hill Haus, as its owner-designers call it, could serve as a template for the house of the future here.
Dagan Pluralism and Perfectionism in Private Law
Hanoch Dagan (Tel Aviv University) has posted Pluralism and Perfectionism in Private Law on SSRN:
Many private law scholars strive to divine broad unified normative theories of property, contracts, torts, and restitution (or, at times, even of private law as a whole). These monist accounts suggest that one regulative principle guides the various doctrines of these complex legal fields or that, even if more than one value shapes a given field, there is one particular balance of such values that guides the entire terrain. Notwithstanding the intuitive appeal of such structural monism, this Essay calls for a pluralist turn in private law theory and argues that a structurally pluralist and moderately perfectionist understanding provides a better account of private law generally and of property law more particularly. The multiplicity and complexity implied in such an understanding are also normatively valuable for liberal private law and should facilitate a variety of social spheres embodying different modes of valuation.
Scoular on Controlling Sexually Orientated Businesses
Jane Scoular (University of Strathclyde, Glasgow) has posted Legal Geographies, Controlling Sexually Orientated Businesses: Law, Licensing, and the Geographies of a Controversial Land Use on SSRN. Here's the abstract:
In this article, we explore both a neglected geography (the location of sexually oriented business) and a neglected instrument of sociospatial control (premises licensing). Arguing the former is increasingly shaped by the latter, we suggest that licensing provides a flexible means by which the state is able to reconcile the growing demand for “adult entertainment” with concerns about community standards, urban aesthetics, public safety, and property prices. We demonstrate this through an examination of the role of UK licensing legislation in controlling the location and visibility of such controversial businesses in London’s West End. It is demonstrated that, in this case, licensing has encouraged the “upscaling” of sex-related businesses while reducing their overall number and visibility. We conclude that licensing, as a means of controlling contentious urban land uses, constitutes a “field of governance” whose legal geographies remain to be adequately theorized and explored.