Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Batchis on Euclid and Urban Sprawl

Wayne Batchis has published Enabling urban sprawl: revisiting the Supreme Court's seminal zoning decision Euclis v. Ambler in the 21st century in the Virginia Journal of Social Policy & the Law.  Here's the abstract:

Today, many urbanists look back at our built environment with bemusement. The outcome of over fifty years of post-war suburbanization has fundamentally reshaped America's manmade landscape. From coast to coast, amorphous urban sprawl envelops America as far as the eye can see - and scholars have just begun to struggle to understand its causes and assess its impact. In this article I examine the phenomenon of urban sprawl and its relationship to exclusionary zoning. I argue that the Supreme Court in 1926 played a key role in enabling sprawl though its permissive zoning jurisprudence in Euclid v. Ambler. Had the Court scrutinized America's early zoning laws with greater rigor, these laws could have been deemed constitutionally suspect - effectively stopping sprawl in its tracks. I conclude by exploring four significant flaws of the Euclid decision in light of the modern epidemic of sprawl.

 Jamie Baker Roskie


Scholarship, Sprawl, Zoning | Permalink

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In recent years I've frequently thought about how wrong we as planners have been in some of our strong assumptions. For instance for a number of years we thought mixing land uses was bad; now we find mixed use a good prescription for many ailments.

And yes, zoning itself has caused some of the urban ills we're struggling with. I think a regional and citizen-based approach to creating a future probably would produce superior results in comparison with politician-made decisions based on the pressures of the moment.

From the practitioner's perspective, as opposed to the legal one, it's time to consider other options.

Posted by: Nancy Thompson | Sep 25, 2010 6:29:59 AM