Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Starting Land Use

My apologies for reminding everyone that the beginning of the fall semester is just around the corner, but since registrars everywhere will soon be calling for syllabi, it seems like an appropriate occasion to get some perspectives on starting off the land use course.  In the past, I have started with a discussion of the Euclid case, which seems logical enough since it is the foundation of all modern land use law and gestures at many of the grand themes of the subject (e.g., municipal land use authority, planning, NIMBYs, LULUs, the relationship between zoning and the common law, single-use zoning, solicitude for the single-family home, judicial deference to local land use decisionmaking, the Progressive concept of zoning as a form of social control, and more).   Nevertheless, I often emphasize to my students that while Euclid is an important case, that's not the same thing as saying that it's a well-reasoned case or, more crucially, a good learning tool.  I have increasingly discovered that it is neither.  Students find the case's cryptic logic confusing and its prose inscrutable.  Having read the case numerous times (and written about it), I can't say I disagree.  In my next post, I will throw out some thoughts about a different way to start the land use class.  But first I would like to solicit comments from about how you start the land use course.  Thanks in advance for sharing your thoughts.

Ken Stahl (kstahl@chapman.edu)

Chapman University School of law


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I always thought it would be interesting to think forward first - cover the general concepts of new urbanist trends, form based coding, etc. Then jump backward to the historical origins of those trends, then describe how we departed from that (50's highway development, urban renewal, Robert Moses' stuff) and come around full circle to today.

Posted by: Steve | Jul 22, 2010 11:15:10 AM