Wednesday, October 22, 2014
The theme of the annual conference of Pace Law School’s Land Use Law Center is Transitioning Communities. An esteemed group of conference advisors reminded us that land use law in America is nearly 100 years old and pointed to its constant transition from rigid Euclidian methods to more flexible and inventive strategies. As it approaches its Centennial, this legal system is responding to unprecedented challenges with new approaches and techniques. In its first century, the land use system gave us floating zoning, overlay zoning, smart growth, bonus densities, and local environmental law to name a few. Now, words that were unknown in the field a few years ago, such as retreat, micro housing, legal neighborhoods, and trigeneration, are dominating our research and directing the practice of law as we search for solutions to new problems.
This year’s conference will showcase exemplary land use practices that are evolving as municipal governments face changing demographics, new markets, the effects of shrinking or growing development pressures, and transitions at the suburban/rural-urban interface. The conference will highlight how communities are embracing sustainability, disaster preparedness, and revitalization. The keynote speakers are Kaid Benfield, Special Counsel for Urban Solutions at the Natural Resources Defense Council and Mitchell Silver, NYC Parks Commissioner, Past President of the American Planning Association, Former Raleigh Chief Planning Officer, and City Innovator.