Friday, July 12, 2013
Matt Yglesias makes the case the minimum parking requirements imposed by cities on new development are choking the life out of urbanism:
Michael Manville of UCLA studied a liberalization of parking regulations in one section of Los Angeles and found that deregulation leads to the construction of more housing units and fewer parking spaces. Conversely, tighter regulation leads to a lack of affordable housing and a surplus of parking spaces. That might make sense if parking spaces were a public good, like clean air. But they’re closer to being a public bad. When Chicago mandates the creation of a high number of parking spaces per square foot of downtown office building, it reduces the price of parking, but it has a number of negative consequences. Cheaper parking means more traffic congestion on the streets. It also means lower ridership for Chicago mass transit. Perversely, cheaper parking offers a subsidy to commuters from outside the city limits at the expense of Chicago residents living within walking or biking distance of the central business district. And, of course, it leads to dirtier air, not cleaner.
Christopher Serking (Vanderbilt) and Gregg Macey (Brooklyn) have posted Symposium Introduction: Post-Zoning: Alternative Forms of Public Land Use Controls (Brooklyn Law Review) on SSRN. Here's the abstract:
Brooklyn Law School’s 2012 David G. Trager "Public Policy Symposium, Post-Zoning: Alternative Forms of Public Land Use Controls", called for a critical new appraisal of modern land use regulation. In this Introduction, we describe the topic and introduce the outstanding papers produced for the Issue. Over the years, zoning has widened its reach and flexibility through innovations such as overlay districts and planned unit developments. But these regulatory tweaks continue to take the separation of incompatible uses of land as their point of departure. In this Introduction, we sketch zoning’s origins and suggest why its traditional goals may no longer be tenable. New challenges, from finer-grained externalities within communities to sea-level rise, demand that zoning respond to change at both broader and narrower scales. The impressive set of papers collected in the Symposium address, in varied and creative ways, zoning’s ability to adapt to new pressures on land use from the sublocal to the global. Included in this volume are papers by Vicki Been, Alejandro Camacho, Richard Epstein, Lee Fennell, William Fischel, Nicole Garnett, Rachel Godsil, Gerald Korngold, John Nolon, and Stewart Sterk.
Thursday, July 11, 2013
Over at Land Use Prof, Stephen Miller highlights a wonderfully awful deed that he's come across. The deed uses poplar, chestnuts, white oaks, and cucumber trees as landmarks for the survey and measures land in "poles." Take a look. It's a gem.
Brian Knudsen & Terry Clark (Chicago) have published Walk and Be Moved: How Walking Builds Social Movements (Urban Affairs Review). Here's the abstract:
Recent scholarship recognizes the city’s role as “civitas”—a “space of active democratic citizenship” and “full human realization” based on open and free encounter and exchange with difference. The current research emerges from and fills a need within this perspective by examining how local urban contexts undergird and bolster social movement organizations (SMOs). Our theory elaborates and linear regressions assess the relationships between four urban form variables and SMOs. In addition, our theory also examines how urban walking mediates the relationships between these local contextual traits and SMOs. Drawing primarily from the ZIP Code Business Patterns and U.S. Census, we generate a data set of approximately 30,000 cases, permitting regression analyses that distinguish strong direct effects of density, connectivity, housing age diversity, and walking on the incidence of SMOs. Sobel tests indicate that for density and connectivity, walking mediates the relationships with SMOs in a way consistent with the mechanisms of the hypotheses.
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
The Washington Post looks at the failure of the District's most recent affordable housing initiative. The story focuses on the rise and fall of The New Communities Initiative, a plan to "marshal hundreds of millions of dollars in public and private investment" to upgrade the city's Temple Courts neighborhood into mixed income community that "would serve as a template for remaking other violent neighborhoods in the District."
Spoiler alert: Incompetence and unforeseen title problems doom the project.
Molly Goodman (Suffolk) has posted The Buck Stops Here: Toxic Titles and Title Insurance (Real Estate Law Journal) on SSRN. Here's the abstract:
By failing to properly transfer ownership of loans and mortgages, recording fraudulent documents, and performing unlawful foreclosures, financial institutions and law firms have generated property titles that range from defective to toxic. Those actions evince a systemic failure to comply with longstanding principles of real property law and regulations governing financial transactions. Title companies participated in title services and issued title insurance policies throughout the housing boom and although they did not directly cause toxic titles, many title insurers have ultimately assumed the risk for the bad practices that became the industry norms in the last decade. In this article, I will discuss how title insurers have exposed themselves to liability for toxic titles.
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Sarah Lawsky's entry level hiring report has indentified a number of newly hired law professors who teach and conduct research on property matters. Welcome to the club, rookies.
John Infranca - Suffolk
Rhett Larson - Oklahoma
Sheldon Lyke - Whittier
Sharmila Murthy - Suffolk
Christopher Odinet - Southern
James Stern – William & Mary
Lua Yuille - Kansas
If I've left anyone off, please let me know.
Christopher Newman (George Mason) has posted An Exclusive License is Not an Assignment: Disentangling Divisibility and Transferability of Ownership in Copyright (Louisiana Law Review) on SSRN. Here's the abstract:
there any difference between an exclusive copyright license and an
assignment? Many believe that any distinction between the two was
obliterated by the Copyright Act of 1976, which included the term
"exclusive license" within the statutorily-defined term "transfer of
copyright ownership." In the much-criticized decision Gardner v. Nike,
the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that while the
statute granted exclusive copyright licensees the "protection and
remedies" accorded to "copyright owners" by the 1976 Act, it did not
abrogate the preexisting presumption that copyright licenses are not
transferable without the consent of the licensor.
This article takes the position that Gardner’s critics are mistaken, and that there is a strong case the Ninth Circuit’s decision was both correct as a matter of statutory interpretation and consistent with the legislative history. More fundamentally, I argue that Gardner’s critics are making a number of mistaken assumptions in their thinking about ownership and divisibility, assumptions that underlie and explain their erroneous reading of the statute. Properly understood, the policy of divisible copyright is perfectly compatible with the view that exclusive licenses are nontransferable ownership interests. Moreover, there are reasons to think Gardner may be beneficial as a matter of copyright policy, because on the margins it should tend to reduce fragmentation of title and enhance authorial control.
Monday, July 8, 2013
Professors’ Corner: Wednesday, July 10, 2013: Koontz v. St. John’s River Water Management District: A Significant Victory for Property Rights?
Professors’ Corner is a monthly free teleconference sponsored by the ABA Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section's Legal Education and Uniform Laws Group. Each month’s call features a panel of law professors who discuss recent cases or issues of interest to real estate practitioners and scholars. Members of DIRT are invited to participate in the call (as well as to join and become involved in the ABA Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section).
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
12:30 p.m. Eastern time (11:30 a.m. Central, 9:30 a.m. Pacific). Call is ONE HOUR in length.
Call-in number: 866-646-6488
This program will feature a roundtable discussion breaking down the Supreme Court’s important June 25 decision in Koontz v. St. John’s River Water Management District. If “monetary exactions” have always seemed a little untamed to you, you’re not alone. The 5-4 decision in Koontz leaves a lot of room for analysis, and this month’s panel is prepared to guide you through it by parsing the decision and the dissent. Our distinguished panel will include Professor Jonathan H. Adler, who is the Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Business Law and Regulation at Case Western Reserve University School of Law; John D. Echeverria, Professor of Law at Vermont Law School; and David L. Callies, who is the Benjamin A. Kudo Professor of Law at the University of Hawai’i.
For those that haven’t already seen it, here’s a link to the opinion:
Please join us Wednesday for this great program!
John Lovett of Loyola University New Orleans College of Law has published "Tragedy or Triumph in Post-Katrina New Orleans" in City Square, the online edition of the Fordham Urban Law Journal. This short piece analyzes recent efforts to rebuild the city's affordable housing stock while diminishing racial segregation. A really interesting article. Check it out.
The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has named structures from Canada, China, the UK and UAE as the four best tall buildings in the world for 2013.
The winners are:
Linda Fisher (Seton Hall) has posted Shadowed by the Shadow Inventory: A Newark, New Jersey Case Study of Stalled Foreclosures & Their Consequences (UC Irvine L. Rev.) on SSRN. Here's the abstract:
activity has declined recently in some areas, but a number of states,
such as Florida, New Jersey, and Illinois, showed increases in 2012. The
national inventory of homes in foreclosure or owned by banks climbed
nine percent to 1.5 million homes. Although investors are now buying
foreclosed properties in certain markets, driving down inventory and
contributing to an upswing in housing prices, lower-income neighborhoods
generally have not enjoyed these effects. These include many of the
African-American and Latino neighborhoods that bore the brunt of
predatory and subprime lending. There, lenders have failed to complete
foreclosures or maintain and market their REO (real-estate owned)
properties, contributing to the shadow inventory that continues to
depress local housing markets.
This empirical project tests the extent to which bank stalling has contributed to foreclosure delays and property vacancies in Newark, New Jersey. Previous studies conducted by the U.S. General Accounting Office, as well as by researchers at the Federal Reserve, and in Cleveland and Chicago, uncovered considerable evidence of stalled or abandoned foreclosures. Several of the studies found that abandoned foreclosures correlated positively with property vacancies. This is the first study to trace the disposition of each property in the sample through both public and private sources, allowing highly accurate conclusions to be drawn. I reach a similar conclusion to the previous studies with respect to stalling: without legal excuse or ongoing workout efforts, banks frequently cease prosecuting foreclosures. The stalled foreclosures in my study, however, do not strongly correlate with property vacancies, but a high percentage of REO properties are vacant. This study is small in scale, involving a random sample of 100 foreclosures filed between 2007 and the first half of 2009 in a single neighborhood, but the results can be extrapolated to the City of Newark, and, to some extent, similar lower-income urban neighborhoods in Northeastern states with judicial foreclosure regimes. The national banks that securitized mortgages during the housing boom followed standard practices of targeting communities of color for the worst subprime loans. They also followed national servicing and foreclosure practices adapted to each state’s laws.