Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Paying for community services: taxes, fees, and Kickstarter?

An article earlier this week in the NYT focused on how a small Kansas town was trying to start a grocery store for itsself.  I have been interested in community-owned stores for rural communities since my clinic was asked to research them by a state agency here in Idaho.  I will write more about that some day after I get the report together; however, for now, I wanted to note a discussion in the NYT article of, a Kansas-specific Kickstarter-like site with the goal of getting people to contribute to specific community projects.    

These are all small projects, but it looks like it is getting some use.  It is an interesting model and goes to the question of why people will contribute to a specific project in a manner of Kickstarter but don't want to pay taxes or fees.  This is doubly curious because people receive federal tax breaks on their local taxes, but many of these Kickstarter-style gifts do not appear to be tax-preferred because they are not to charitable organizations.  On the other hand, knowing exactly where one's money is going goes a long way.  Does the movement speak to the future of public finance? 


December 31, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Zoning for Sustainability

Those interested in the intersection of zoning and sustainability will want to check out Edward J. Jepson Jr. and Anna L. Haines'  Zoning for Sustainability: A Review and Analysis of the Zoning Ordinances of 32 Cities in the United States, which was just released online in the Journal of the American Planning Association.  The article is freely available here.

The abstract: 

Problem, research strategy, and findings: To understand how communities use zoning ordinances to achieve sustainability goals, we identify nine sustainability principles and 53 associated regulatory items that might be included in a zoning ordinance to achieve sustainable development and then examine the zoning ordinances of 32 randomly selected communities to determine if they included these principles and their associated items. We fi nd both wide variation and some consistency in how zoning ordinances address sustainability goals, independent of city size or location in the country. Some of the identifi ed principles and regulatory items are found in many ordinances others appear in only a few. However, there is an inverse relationship between the age of the ordinance and the extent to which it includes sustainability principles. As ordinances are updated, it is likely that they will address more topical sustainability concerns. We study only ordinance content, not implementation; moreover, sustainability can be achieved in ways other than zoning. However, zoning ordinances that directly address sustainability in many dimensions are more likely to achieve these goals. We conclude that planners can more effectively use zoning ordinances to achieve sustainable development. 

Takeaway for practice: This review of zoning ordinances can alert local planners to the many ways in which zoning ordinances could be used to achieve sustainability goals and suggest how planners can assess the contribution of their zoning ordinance to the sustainable development of their communities. 

Stephen R. Miller


December 30, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 29, 2014

Fellowship applications open for New Cities Foundation's Urban Finance Project

New Cities Foundation is seeking a fellow for its new Urban Finance Project.  Details on the project and application process in the link below:

Download Urban Finance Project Fellowship

Stephen R. Miller

December 29, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, December 28, 2014

May 8 - CFP - 1st Annual Sustainability Conference of American Legal Educators (SCALE) at ASU Law

News of an exciting new conference from Troy Rule:

Sustainability Conference of American Legal Educators (SCALE)

May 8, 2015

Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law – Arizona State University


The Law and Sustainability Program at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law is pleased to announce its First Annual Sustainability Conference of American Legal Educators (SCALE) Conference to be held on May 8, 2015 at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law in Armstrong Hall on the Arizona State University Campus in Tempe, Arizona.

This new conference will be an annual, national event for legal academics researching in sustainability-related areas. The conference will offer a unique forum for panels and presentations falling within one or more broad subject matter areas pertaining to sustainability, including but not limited to:

  • Climate Change Law
  • Energy Law
  • Water Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Natural Resources Law
  • Land Use and Zoning Law
  • Agricultural and Food Law
  • Disaster Law

The conference’s inaugural keynote speaker will be Professor Daniel Esty, Director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy at Yale Law School.

Presenters who are interested will also have an opportunity to join in an organized hike of a nearby mountain on the morning of Saturday, May 9, 2015.

For information on how to submit panel or presentation proposals, please click here.

Download Sustainability Conference of American Legal Educators brochure.


December 28, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

“Zoning In” Water Conservation -- by John R. Nolon

As we approach zoning’s centennial in 2016, the Land Use Law Center at Pace Law School is examining what is durable and what is deficient in land use regulation today. As times change, zoning must renew itself by adjusting to changing conditions. Among the many challenges it faces at the dawn of its second century, is the alarming water scarcity experienced by arid Western states with fast-growing economies.

The Center is working with Western Resource Advocates (WRA) to train local land and water planners in the front range of the Rocky Mountains how to coordinate water and land planning, particularly how “zone in,” that is to permit and encourage, water conserving land use patterns, buildings, and landscapes.  

Learn more about this project here:

John R. Nolon

December 18, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

NY to Ban Fracking

In an announcement that frankly took me by surprise, Gov. Cuomo has announced a plan to ban all hydraulic fracking in the state.

from the NYT


December 17, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Furman Fellowship Opportunity at NYU

NYU Furman Center
Legal Research Fellowship

The Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy at New York University invites applications for a post-graduate legal fellowship. The Furman Center, jointly housed at NYU’s School of Law and its Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, is a leading academic research center devoted to the public policy aspects of land use, real estate development, and housing. The Furman Center’s law fellowships are designed for promising legal scholars with a strong interest in housing, local government, real estate, or land use law. The Fellow’s time is shared equally between independent research on topics of his or her choice and preparation to enter the academic job market, and Furman Center research projects, conducted jointly with faculty members, graduate students, and staff. Recent projects have addressed such topics as the consequences of mortgage foreclosures, the effects of inclusionary zoning, and the impact of housing vouchers on crime. The Fellow also helps produce the Center’s annual State of New York City’s Housing and Neighborhoods report. The Law Fellow is invited to participate in faculty workshops, colloquia, and other scholarly forums at the NYU School of Law, and will have the opportunity to work with NYU law school professors and particularly with those who serve on the Center’s Advisory Committee. The fellowship typically begins summer/fall.

A J.D. degree, superior academic achievement, excellent writing skills, initiative, and a demonstrated interest in and commitment to scholarship are required.

Applicants should submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae, scholarly writing sample, and the names and contact information of 3 references. Applications are preferred by 1/1/2015 but will be given consideration until the position is filled. Review of applications will begin immediately and will be evaluated on a rolling basis. Only candidates of interest will be contacted.

To apply: Application materials and questions should be sent to Please include “Legal Research Fellowship” in the subject line.

New York University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

December 17, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Agglomerama--Fennell on Cities' Participant Assembly Problem

Lee Fennell (Chicago) has posted Agglomerama, __ BYU L. Rev __ (forthcoming).  In it, she examines how cities attract the right mix of residents and businesses to maximize social value.  She takes a look at a number of possible ways in which cities might incentivize and manage positive spillover effects, including a proposal by Gideon Parchomovsky and Peter Sieglman to emulate shopping mall developer coordination between anchor and satellite tenants, which proposal can be found in their Cities, Property and Positive Externalities, 54 Wm.  & Mary L.Rev. 211 (2012).  Here's the abstract for the Fennell piece:

Urbanization presents students of commons dilemmas with a pressing challenge: how to achieve the benefits of proximity among people and land uses while curbing the negative effects of that same proximity. This piece, written for the 2014 BYU Law Review Symposium on the Global Commons, focuses on the role of location decisions. It casts urban interaction space as a commons that presents the threat of overgrazing but that also poses the risk of undercultivation if it fails to attract the right mix of economic actors. Because heterogeneous households and firms asymmetrically generate and absorb agglomeration benefits and congestion costs, cities embed an interesting collective action problem — that of assembling complementary firms and households into groupings that will maximize social value. After examining the nature of this participant assembly problem, I consider a range of approaches to resolving it, from minor modifications of existing approaches to larger revisions of property rights.

Jim K. 

December 12, 2014 in Community Design, Community Economic Development, Downtown, Economic Development, Property Theory, Urbanism | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Urban Decay Theory v. Broken Windows Theory

Brent White (Arizona) , Simone Sepe (Arizona) and Saura Masconale (AZ-Gov't & PP) have published Urban Decay, Austerity, and the Rule of Law, 64. Emory L.J. 1 (2014).  In the article, the authors offer a "make 'gov', not war" alternative to the Broken Windows Theory (BWT) and its support for order-maintenance policing.  Building upon an intuitively compelling social contract theory insight, the article sets out the theoretical and empirical cases for the authors’ contention that sustained investment in highly visible, essential local public goods provides crucial support for rule of law. Focusing on the refusals of the U.S. and Michigan governments to bail out Detroit and avoid the need for it to file for bankruptcy, the authors use their Urban Decay Theory (UDT) to support their proposal that all municipal governments receive at least some level of fiscal insurance to sustain continuous investment in urban infrastructure, which, according to the UDT is predictive of citizen commitment to rule of law.

At the invitation of the editors of the Emory Law Journal, I wrote a response to Urban Decay for the Emory Law Journal Online.  In "All Good Things Flow . . .":  Rule of Law, Public Goods, and the Divided American Metropolis , 64 Emory L. J. Online 2017 (2014),  I welcome the article’s introduction of the rule of law paradigm to domestic urban policy, find fault with its selection of public goods that purportedly influence rule of law, and contend that the UDT has far greater potential than the poor support it can offer the authors’ flawed policy proposal. By conceptualizing the domestic urban policy goal as rule of law rather than order, the authors open measurements of success to go beyond crime rates and majoritarian perceptions of personal safety. Without losing the groundedness necessary for empirical investigation, rule of law can incorporate ideal aspects of lawful order that address sustainability and inclusion of minority perceptions of legitimacy. While the White/Sepe/Masconale article does not succeed in constructing as compelling an understanding of the most salient public goods, an improved analysis of the root causes of the fiscal degradation of America’s legacy cities can unlock a potentially valuable reframing of urban, metropolitan, and regional policy debates.

In focusing their policy proposal on fiscal guarantees for municipal creditors, the authors, from my perspective, have missed the role that the urban-suburban divide has played in the inability of city governments to provide basic public goods.  But, their expansion of the public policy goal to rule of law allows us to get a more holistic picture of the foundation of a truly inclusive, flourishing community. All in all, I think that, by altering the paradigm from order maintenance to rule of law, the authors have, in formulating the Urban Decay Theory, offered a useful complement to the Broken Windows Theory rather than a truly competitive alternative to it.  


Jim K.

December 11, 2014 in Community Economic Development, Crime, Detroit, Federal Government, Financial Crisis, Local Government, Race, Scholarship, Smart Growth, State Government, Urbanism, Zoning | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

"Nuisance" Ordinances Burden Domestic Violence Victims

Today I stumbled across a troubling article about how a type of nuisance ordinance I've never heard of - the so called "crime free housing" ordinance - creates some terrible unintended consequences for domestic violence victims.  From the article, on the Aljazeera America website:

When Lakisha Briggs’ ex-boyfriend forced his way into her home in June 2012, she faced an impossible dilemma. Although the man had physically assaulted her on several occasions, Briggs knew that if she called the police for help, she and her 3-year-old daughter would likely be thrown out of their subsidized apartment.

Briggs, a 34-year-old mother residing in Norristown, Pennsylvania, found herself in this situation as the result of a city ordinance aimed at reducing “disorderly behavior” in rental housing. The ordinance stipulated that tenants who made three 911 calls in four months could be evicted. Briggs had already received three strikes as the result of emergency calls made during previous attacks by her ex, and the month before the incident, city officials had notified her that further calls would result in her removal from her apartment.

The article details how Briggs suffered a further brutal attack from her ex without calling the police, due to her fear of being evicted.  Because a neighbor called 911, ultimately the city of Norristown began eviction proceedings against her.   Only the intervention of the ACLU prevented her from losing her home.

The ACLU and the Shriver Center now have the I Am Not a Nuisance campaign to educate local governments about the dangers of these ordinances.  And, as a result of Briggs' case, these ordinances are now illegal in Pennsylvania.

Jamie Baker Roskie

December 9, 2014 in Crime, Housing, Local Government | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Dissertation Fellowship in Planning and Urban Form

Recent news from the Lincoln Institute:

The annual C. Lowell Harriss Dissertation Fellowship Program of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy invites applications from doctoral students who are writing dissertations in fields that address these areas of interest:

  • Valuation and Taxation
  • Planning and Urban Form

This fellowship program provides an important link between the Lincoln Institute’s educational mission and its research objectives by supporting scholars early in their careers. Please distribute or post this information in your academic department. Applications are due by email on or before 6:00 p.m. (EST) February 1, 2015.

The full Dissertation Fellowship Program Application Guidelines are available for download.  If after reviewing this material you have further questions, please contact


December 7, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Final Assemblage of IPCC Essays

You have gotten all the links to the responses to the IPCC reports over the past few weeks, now you can find all your favorite hits together in one great place: SSRN. The essays will be published together in ELR in just a few months, but up on SSRN you can view the near final version. Please let us know if you have any comments/questions on the project or on the Environmental Law Collaborative in general.

December 4, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A “New” Strategy for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaption: Sustainable Human Settlements -- by John R. Nolon

As climate negotiators prepare for their discussions in Lima, they must focus on one of the most neglected strategies for mitigating and adapting to climate change: creating sustainable human settlements. My work for a land use law center embedded in a law school with a prominent environmental law program makes the lack of awareness and embrace of a land use law policy for climate change mitigation and adaptation baffling, at best, and, at worst, inexcusable. Despite decades of research, development, and successful implementation, this strategy is “new” in the eyes of the IPCC. For an explanation, click here.

John R. Nolon

December 2, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

ELC Responses to the IPCC Report Weeks Two and Three

Oh my goodness! I have fallen quite a bit behind on my posting. After 10 days in Australia (more to follow) 1 day stuck at JFK, 5 snow days, Thanksgiving, serving on a crazy intensive strategic planning committee, and strep throat I am finally emerging and trying to figure out what happened to November. Suddenly dawns on me that I better write my exam too! (anyone with old federal indian law exams lying around?)

So let's jump back into the meat of the matter and catch up on what has been going on with the Environmental Law Collaborative. Earlier in November, I posted a summary of the essays the Collaborative pulled together in the first week of November. These were posted on the Environmental Law Profs blog and final versions will appear in ELR (the Environmental Law Reporter) in January.

Deepa Badrinarayana examines climate change and national security.

Keith Hirokawa approaches climate change through systems thinking.

Alex Klass looks at climate change and cities.

Jonathan Rosenbloom proposes greater urban community collaboration.

Sarah Adams-Schoen takes on the suburbs.

Our own Stephen Miller discusses the bottom-up approach to climate change policy.

I look at the challenge of protecting habitat in a changing world.

David Takacs looks specifically at species extinction threats and REDD+.

Inara Scott argues that national security can be a hook for talking about climate change.

Katy Kuh contemplates agnostic adaptation policies.



December 2, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, December 1, 2014

Thank you to all of our Fall, 2014 guest bloggers!

It has been a tremendous fall for the blog with a lot of new voices added to the mix.  We are hoping to have more guest bloggers this spring, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, one last big thank you to our honor roll of Fall, 2014 guest bloggers:

August:  John Travis Marshall and Ryan Rowberry

September:  Celeste Pagano and Sarah Adams-Schoen

October:  John R. Nolon and Jessica A. Bacher

November:  Deborah Curran and Jessica A. Shoemaker

All are welcome back any time!

Jessica Owley & Stephen R. Miller

December 1, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Future of Toll Roads in the U.S.

On Friday, The Diane Rehm Show spent a whole hour discussing the future of toll roads in the U.S.  Here is the link.  Here is the blurb:

Toll road mileage is increasing nationwide as cash-strapped states try to relieve traffic congestion without raising taxes. But some transportation officials are facing a political backlash. Diane and her guests discuss the future of toll roads in the U.S.

A nice post on toll roads also over at Property Law Prof Blog.

Stephen R. Miller


December 1, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

What's new and what's hot on SSRN

Here are links to all of the new land use-related articles posted on SSRN in November (search term "land use," time frame "one month").


Incl. Electronic Paper Can Shale Gas Help Accelerate the Transition to Sustainability? Widener Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 14-24 John C. Dernbach  and  James May  Widener University - School of Law  and Widener University - School of Law 
Date posted: 
01 Nov 2014
Last revised: 
17 Nov 2014
Accepted Paper Series 21 Downloads
2 Incl. Electronic Paper Infrastructure's Long-Lived Impact on Urban Development: Theory and Empirics Motu Working Paper No. 14-11 Arthur Grimes  , Eyal Apatov  , Larissa Lutchman  and Anna Robinson  Motu Economic and Public Policy Research Trust  , Motu Economic and Public Policy Research Trust  , Motu Economic and Public Policy Research Trust  and Motu Economic and Public Policy Research Trust 
Date posted: 
01 Nov 2014
Last revised: 
12 Nov 2014
working papers series 18 Downloads
3 Incl. Electronic Paper Sue to Adapt? Minnesota Law Review, Forthcoming 2015 Jacqueline Peel  and Hari M. Osofsky  Melbourne Law School  and University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - School of Law 
Date posted: 
14 Nov 2014
Accepted Paper Series 18 Downloads
4 Incl. Electronic Paper Temporary Takings, More or Less in CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS ON OCEAN AND COASTAL LAW: U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES (Oxford University Press) (2014 Forthcoming) Timothy M. Mulvaney  Texas A&M University (TAMU) - School of Law 
Date posted: 
08 Nov 2014
Accepted Paper Series 16 Downloads
5 Incl. Electronic Paper Requiem for Regulation Environmental Law Reporter, Vol. 44, p. 10923, 2014, U of Maryland Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2014-42 Garrett Power  University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law 
Date posted: 
06 Nov 2014
Accepted Paper Series 15 Downloads
6 Incl. Electronic Paper Housing Consumption and Urbanization World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 7112 Nancy Lozano-Gracia  and Cheryl Young  World Bank  and World Bank 
Date posted: 
16 Nov 2014
working papers series 8 Downloads
7 Incl. Electronic Paper Modelling Changing Rural Land Use in New Zealand 1997 to 2008 Using a Multinomial Logit Approach Motu Working Paper No. 14-12 Zachary Dorner  and Dean Hyslop  Monash University  and Victoria University of Wellington 
Date posted: 
13 Nov 2014
working papers series 6 Downloads
8 Incl. Electronic Paper AEP v. Connecticut's Implications for the Future of Climate Change Litigation Yale Law Journal Online, Vol. 121, 2011 Hari M. Osofsky  University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - School of Law 
Date posted: 
05 Nov 2014
Accepted Paper Series 5 Downloads
9 Incl. Electronic Paper What the Public Trust Doctrine Can Teach Us About the Police Power, Penn Central, and the Public Interest in Natural Resources: A Tribute to Joe Sax Environmental Law, 2015, Forthcoming Robin Kundis Craig  University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law 
Date posted: 
29 Nov 2014
Accepted Paper Series 3 Downloads
10 Incl. Electronic Paper 중국 토지공급체계의변화와 개혁과제 (China's Land Supply System and its Reform) KIEP Research Paper No. Policy References-13-02 Pil Soo Choi  and Sungchan Cho  Korea Institute for International Economic Policy  and Independent 
Date posted: 
31 Oct 2014
working papers series 3 Downloads
11 Incl. Electronic Paper Monocentric City Redux Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Working Paper No. 14-09 Jordan Rappaport  Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City 
Date posted: 
22 Nov 2014
working papers series 1 Downloads

Here are links to the Top 10 downloads in the Property, Land Use & Real Estate eJournal and the State and Local Government eJournal.  Happy reading!

Stephen R. Miller







December 1, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)