Tuesday, September 28, 2021
Non-fungible tokens—or NFTs, as they are better known—have taken the world by storm. The idea behind an NFT is that by owning a certain thing (specifically, a digital token that is tracked on a blockchain), one can hold property rights in something else (either a real or intangible asset). In the early part of 2021, NFTs for items ranging from a gif of a pop-tart cat with a rainbow tail, to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s first tweet, to a New York Times column (about NFTs!) have sold for millions of dollars over the internet. Promoters assert that NFTs are the “future of digital property,” and that they herald a day when “government will lose its unique power to mint currency and protect property.” And these promoters reach beyond the typical crypto crowd. Giants of finance and industry are promising to extend the use of NFTs to securities, industrial assets, and real estate in the coming years. Moreover, this crypto token craze comes at a time when the American Law Institute and the Uniform Law Commission are in the midst of recommending revisions to U.S. commercial law to accommodate the digital age. In this Article, we take a more sober look at the tokenization phenomenon and, in doing so, describe what exactly it means when it comes to property rights. What can a purchaser of a token expect? How is a token actually connected to the underlying asset, if at all? What does the law—not the hype—have to say about it? We show that tokenization under the law actually has a long history, backed by practical economic considerations and animated by strong theoretical underpinnings. We also show that NFTs have neither of these attributes. Additionally, our Article surveys a dataset of terms of service from the most prominent NFT platforms in order to exploit both their disconnect from real legal effects and their puzzlingly contradictory promises about the relationships between buyers, seller, and the platform. Our project aims not only to inform current commercial law reform efforts, but it also offers a policy prescription for policing the NFT market.
Wednesday, August 4, 2021
AALS Section on State and Local Government Law
2022 AALS Annual Meeting
Call for Proposals
Program Description: The AALS Sections on State and Local Government Law and Community Economic Development are seeking speakers for our joint main program at the 2022 AALS Annual Virtual Meeting, “Progressive Perspectives on Local Economic Development Moving Forward.” This program will explore new ideas for local governments to consider with respect to economic development in a post-pandemic era. The session will focus on law reform and scholarship that seeks to build forward-looking movements that create inclusive economic development, and considers the relevance of core legal tensions concerning regionalism and localism, the limits of government intervention in the economy, impacts of market forces on policy, and similarities and differences to past periods of local growth. The program is intended to be broad in focus. Potential topics include:
- What economic development structures did COVID-19 expose as not meeting community needs? How did plans change at the time during the COVID-19 pandemic and how does that inform what should be done for the future (in a progressive, big thinking way)?
- How might contested relations between states and localities limit new ideas about local economic development?
- What is the role of regionalism as a concept and regional institutions in practice in fostering/frustrating local economic development?
- How can economic development tools and process be used to address past economic inequality and ensure future equitable distribution of economic growth?
- How does resiliency fit into the conversation around economic development?
Submission Guidelines: If you are interested in participating, please send a 250-500 word abstract of your proposal. Scholarship associated with the proposal may be at any stage of the publication process from work-in-progress to completed article, but if already completed, scholarship may not be published prior to the Annual Meeting. We welcome legal scholarship across a wide variety of methodological approaches and encourage untenured scholars in particular to submit their work. Each potential speaker may submit only one abstract for consideration. Abstracts must be submitted by Friday, August 20, 2021. Abstracts should be submitted electronically in Microsoft Word format to both Kellen Zale (email@example.com)and Ted De Barbeiri (firstname.lastname@example.org). The subject line should read “AALS 2022Joint Program Submission: Local Economic Development.” Submissions will reviewed by members of both Sections’ Executive Committees, and the selected presenters will be notified by early September. Speakers are responsible for paying their own registration fees (AALS will be offering school-wide registration again this year).
Friday, July 16, 2021
The Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University seeks to fill one or more tenure-track positions. We will consider all subject areas but primarily seek candidates with research and teaching interests in Torts, Property, and other first year courses such as Contracts, Criminal Law, and Civil Procedure. The Law School is particularly interested in faculty members who also have research and teaching interests in Environmental Law, Bankruptcy and/or Commercial Law. All candidates must have a strong commitment to serious scholarship. We are particularly interested in candidates who willenhance the diversity of our faculty.
As a leading national and regional educational institution, Hofstra Law is a distinguished center of legal scholarship in the service of justice and is committed to serving its local communities (which include Americans from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds and range from extraordinary affluence to entrenched suburban poverty), participating in the national scholarly dialogue, and educating attorneys for the local bar as well as the broader national community. Hofstra Law recently completed a successful multiyear capital campaign and the University has recently opened new schools of medicine, public health and engineering.
Candidates should send a cover letter and resume, including a description of areas of interest, and copies of representative works to Professor Linda Galler, Chair of the Faculty Appointments Committee, LawSchoolFacultyJobs@hofstra.edu.
Hofstra University is an equal opportunity employer, committed to fostering diversity in its faculty, administrative staff and student body, and encourages applications from the entire spectrum of a diverse community.
Thursday, July 1, 2021
WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW invites applications from entry-level or junior lateral candidates for tenure-track positions, to begin in the fall of 2022. We will consider candidates in all subject areas, but we are particularly interested in private law, including property, torts, and contracts, as well as evidence, civil procedure, and other areas of teaching need.
We are also searching for candidates at all levels whose scholarly agendas sit at the intersection of race, law, and social inequality, and who would be hired in connection with Washington University’s Race and Ethnicity Cluster Hire Initiative. More information about this initiative is available at https://provost.wustl.edu/programs-initiatives/faculty-diversity/race-and-ethnicity-cluster-hire-initiative/ and at https://source.wustl.edu/2021/06/first-race-and-ethnicity-cluster-hires-arrive-at-washington-university/.
Candidates must have at a minimum a JD, a PhD, or the equivalent in a related field. In addition, candidates should have strong scholarly potential and a commitment to excellence in teaching. Duties will include teaching assigned courses, researching and publishing scholarly work, advising students, and participating in law school and university service. The strong candidate will demonstrate the ability to create inclusive classrooms and environments in which all students can learn and thrive. The committee will be reviewing applications submitted through the AALS Faculty Appointments Register but we are also willing to consider materials submitted outside of the FAR process.
Candidates who are not applying through the FAR process may submit applications directly to Professor Daniel Epps, Chair of the Appointments Committee, Washington University School of Law, by emailing them to email@example.com. Although there is no deadline, applications from candidates not participating in the FAR process will have the best chance of full consideration if they are received by August 18, 2021. Application materials should include a cover letter, a resume which includes at least three references, and a job-talk paper if available.
Washington University in St. Louis is committed to the principles and practices of equal employment opportunity. It is the University’s policy to recruit, hire, train, and promote without regard to race, color, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, protected veteran status, disability, or genetic information.
Wednesday, April 7, 2021
The Association for Law, Property & Society (ALPS) is an organization for those engaged in scholarship on all aspects of property law and society. Its annual meeting brings together scholars from different disciplines and from around the world to discuss their work and to foster dialogue among those working in property law, policy, planning, social scientific field studies, modeling, and theory. This year, the ALPS annual meeting is going all virtual and all day!
For 24-hours on Friday, May 28, 2021, and Saturday, May 29, 2021, ALPS will be hosting a virtual conference for property scholars from around the world. The conference will begin at 7:00am (New Orleans, GMT - 5) / 1:00pm (Belfast, GMT + 1) / 8:00pm (Beijing, GMT + 8) on Friday, May 28, and will end at 7:00am (New Orleans) / 1:00pm (Belfast) / 8:00pm (Beijing) on Saturday, May 29.
There is no cost to register. A limited number of previously unpublished papers will be presented throughout the 24-hour conference. Given the dynamics of this 24-hour virtual conference—cutting across time zones and spanning around the globe—selected papers will be scheduled based primarily on the time availability of presenters; papers will not be slotted thematically. This virtual conference will be a novel, exciting, informative “round-the-clock” discussion of property!
Anyone interested in attending the conference and/or submitting a work-in progress for consideration to present at the 24-Hour Virtual ALPS Conference must compete this registration form by Friday, April 16, 2021. If you are submitting a work-in-progress to present, you must upload your abstract by Friday, April 16, 2021 following the instructions on the registration form.
Questions? Email Jess Shoemaker or Sally Richardson at ALPSConference2021@gmail.com.
Sunday, March 7, 2021
UMKC Seeks Visiting Professor
The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law is hiring a visiting associate professor in Property, Real Estate Transactions, Fair and Affordable Housing, and related subjects which will begin in Fall 2021, with the further opportunity to apply for a tenure-track position beginning in Fall 2022. A J.D. or equivalent degree is required. Previous teaching experience is strongly preferred. Applications must come through the UMKC Human Resources portal at https://info.umkc.edu/hr/careers/academic-positions/.
UMKC School of Law has a tradition of strong scholarship and engagement in the field of property, as well as outstanding training for students as part of our J.D. and LL.M. emphasis in Urban, Land Use, and Environmental Law. The School of Law boasts an extraordinary relationship with the local bench, bar, and civic community, providing opportunities for research and service in cutting-edge entrepreneurial urban development. Service to the community is supported through two clinics focused on property law: an abandoned housing clinic and a tenant eviction defense initiative.
UMKC is the urban law school of the University of Missouri System and is located on a beautifully landscaped campus in the Country Club Plaza area of Kansas City, Missouri. It is the only law school in a diverse and vibrant metropolitan area of more than two million people and offers courses leading to J.D. or LL.M. degrees for approximately 450 students. It benefits from its metropolitan location, a university with opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration, a dedicated faculty and staff, and strong community and alumni support.
Equal Opportunity is and shall be provided for all employees and applicants for employment on the basis of their demonstrated ability and competence without unlawful discrimination on the basis of their race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, disability, protected veteran status, or any other status protected by applicable state or federal law. This policy shall not be interpreted in such a manner as to violate the legal rights of religious organizations or the recruiting rights of military organizations associated with the Armed Forces or the Department of Homeland Security of the United States. For more information, call the Vice Chancellor - Human Resources at 816-235-1621. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the duties and functions of this job. If you believe you may have difficulty performing any of the duties or functions of this job, please contact the Office of Affirmative Action at (816) 235-1323.
For more information, contact Professor Julie Cheslik, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, February 16, 2021
Peter Gerhart, a friend to all of us and a longtime professor and former dean at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law, passed away on February 7, 2021. To honor his memory and the many contributions he made to property law, we highlight this 2015 symposium, hosted by the Texas A&M University Journal of Property Law, on his book Property Law and Social Morality (Cambridge University Press 2013):
Sunday, February 7, 2021
Blog readers will doubtlessly be interested in a recent symposium hosted by the Law and Political Economy Project and centered on the new book A Liberal Theory of Property by Hanoch Dagan (Tel-Aviv University).
The symposium features reviews by David Singh Grewal & Jedediah Britton-Purdy, Nestor Davidson, Rashmi Dyal-Chand, Katharina Pistor, Ezra Rosser, and Lua Yuille.
Hanoch's reply, which is now available on SSRN (https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3779397), recaps the book’s core thesis and then addresses the reviewers’ two main challenges: whether liberal property is potentially self-destructive, and whether it might be a distracting utopia.
Monday, February 1, 2021
Daniel R. Mandelker (Washington University) has posted Billboards, Signs, Free Speech, and the First Amendment on SSRN. Here's the abstact:
This Article reviews the competing demands free speech law makes when applied to sign and billboard ordinances. It describes the free speech doctrines that apply, explains ambiguities and conflicts, and makes recommendations for sign regulations that can avoid constitutional problems. The Article first explains how state courts decided the constitutionality of billboard controls before free speech law applied. It then describes the litigation problems municipalities face in sign litigation, and considers the overbreadth and severability doctrines that litigants can use to strike sign ordinances down. Ordinances that regulate signs typically regulate commercial speech. The Article explains the criteria the Supreme Court adopted for laws that regulate commercial speech, and how the Court liberally applied these criteria in a case upholding an ordinance that prohibited billboards. Lower court cases that applied this case are discussed next. They followed the Supreme Court’s approach in billboard cases but sometimes added new requirements. The Article then describes the free speech time, place, and manner rules that are an alternative to commercial speech doctrine, and how courts apply these rules to sign ordinances. Regulations for digital billboards are discussed next. The Article concludes by discussing the constitutional protections courts provide for noncommercial speech, and the constitutional restrictions they require for signs that regulate content.
Monday, January 11, 2021
Check out Sara Bronin's (Connecticut) JOT review of Lisa Alexander's (Texas A&M) article, Community in Property: Lessons From Tiny Homes Villages, 104 Minn. L. Rev. 385 (2019). Cribbing from the JOT intro:
Our nation’s housing situation gets worse by the day. Even before the pandemic, subprime lending, exclusionary zoning, and modern-day redlining forced millions of households into unstable, unsafe, or unaffordable living situations. Now, with the pandemic wiping away jobs, we appear to be on the verge of an unprecedented national housing crisis that will start when the evictions and mortgage relief end. We need creative solutions now more than ever.
That’s why Lisa Alexander’s most recent law review article, Community in Property: Lessons from Tiny Homes Villages, is such a timely, significant contribution.
Check out the rest here!
Monday, January 4, 2021
For all you aspiring property law profs out there, come hang out with a bunch of wonderful people here in Iowa City!:
Iowa Law Faculty Fellowship
The University of Iowa College of Law seeks applicants for the Iowa Law Faculty Fellowship. This program provides research opportunities, faculty mentoring, and career development for promising legal scholars and teachers. The Iowa Law Faculty Fellowship combines law teaching with scholarly research and writing, especially research with an interdisciplinary focus and reach, and aims to further the University of Iowa’s goal of recruiting and retaining a more diverse campus community of faculty, staff and students.
The University of Iowa has long had a commitment to increasing diversity in the legal profession. The Iowa Law Faculty Fellowship is a successor to the Faculty Fellows program, which provided aspiring legal academics with an opportunity to develop their scholarship and teaching, and ultimately seek long-term academic positions.
Iowa Law is especially well known for its strong focus on law teaching, exceptionally comprehensive law library, and collaborative atmosphere. The University of Iowa itself is a major public research university located in Iowa City, a quintessential college town brimming with writers, students, and scholars.
Iowa Law Faculty Fellows concentrate on those aspects of academic life that are most likely to be helpful in preparing for a faculty career in legal education. Typically, faculty fellows teach one course during the academic year, with the remainder of the fellow’s time devoted to research and development of one or more major works of scholarship. The fellow works closely with a primary faculty mentor and advisory team of faculty members. Faculty fellows participate fully in the life of the College, but will have limited service assignments so as to permit the fellow to concentrate on teaching and scholarship. Fellows will be expected to contribute to diversity, equity, and inclusion goals at the College and University.
The Iowa Law Faculty Fellowship does not have a specific subject matter focus, but prioritizes applicants who seek to conduct interdisciplinary research that connects with other fields of study at the University of Iowa. Selection criteria include the potential for legal teaching and scholarship, interdisciplinarity of research, contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and the degree to which the applicant’s research proposal aligns with institutional resources and opportunities.
Initial Faculty Fellowship appointments are for one year and can be renewed once. Fellows will be appointed at the rank of Visiting Assistant Professor of Law. Most Faculty Fellows will serve for two years and participate in the law hiring market during the second year of the fellowship. The salary for the 2021-22 Academic Year will be competitive with well-regarded law fellowship and VAP programs. In addition, Faculty Fellows will be provided with research support including research, travel funds and the opportunity to hire law student research assistants. Fellows will be expected to be in full-time residence at Iowa Law during the academic year.
To apply for the Iowa Law Faculty Fellowship program, an applicant should submit the following through Jobs@Iowa:
- cover letter, including a description of the applicant’s contributions to diversity, equity and inclusion and research plan to be carried out during the fellowship.
- graduate and professional transcripts (including law school transcripts)
- academic writing sample
- three letters of reference providing support for the applicant’s potential as a legal scholar and teacher
- A JD or equivalent, or Ph.D. from a relevant field of study.
- Strong potential for legal teaching
- Strong potential for legal scholarship
- Demonstrated contributions to diversity, equity and inclusion
- Strong communication and interpersonal skills
- A demonstrated ability to conduct interdisciplinary research
- Alignment between the proposed research plan and collegiate and university resources and opportunities.
Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. For fullest consideration, submit applications before February 15, 2021. For more information, please contact Adrien Wing, chair of the Faculty Appointments Committee, at email@example.com.
The University of Iowa is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply and will receive consideration for employment free from discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, age, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, religion, associational preference, status as a qualified individual with a disability, or status as a protected veteran. The University also affirms its commitment to providing equal opportunities and equal access to University facilities. Women and Minorities are encouraged to apply for all employment vacancies. For additional information on nondiscrimination policies, contact the Coordinator of Title IX and Section 504, and the ADA in The Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, 319/335-0705 (voice) or 319/335-0697 (text), The University of Iowa, 202 Jessup Hall, Iowa City, Iowa, 52242-1316.
Persons with disabilities may contact University Human Resources/Faculty and Staff Disability Services, (319) 335-2660 or firstname.lastname@example.org, to inquire or discuss accommodation needs.
Prospective employees may review the University Campus Security Policy and the latest annual crime statistics by contacting the Department of Public Safety at 319/335-5022.
Friday, December 18, 2020
Like #BlackLivesMatter, #BlackHomesMatter is more than a moment — it’s a movement.
The virtual #BlackHomesMatter event will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, 6PM ET. Click here for information on how to join.
The City of Detroit and Wayne County have stolen tens of thousands of homes and generations of wealth from Detroit homeowners.
Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, Dr. Cornel West, and Rev. Dr. William Barber II will speak out against Detroit’s illegally inflated property taxes, which have caused the greatest number of property tax foreclosures in any city since the Great Depression.
Join us to call on Michigan’s Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, to investigate and end this injustice and create a plan to compensate Detroit homeowners who have overpaid or lost their homes.
The event will end with a performance from Detroit's legendary gospel artists, The Clark Sisters.
This event will be livestreamed on YouTube. Register here for the event.
Wednesday, December 16, 2020
Just in from John Infranca (Suffolk):
TWO FULL-TIME VISITING FACULTY POSITIONS
AT SUFFOLK UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL
Suffolk University Law School in Boston invites applications for two visiting faculty positions for the upcoming 2021-2022 academic school year. We are seeking full-year coverage for the following courses: (i) first-year Property and (ii) Trusts and Estates, though candidates seeking one-semester visits are also welcome to apply. Applications should be received by Friday, January 29, 2021 (although applications will be considered on a rolling basis until the position is filled) and must include a letter detailing desire and qualifications to teach Property and/or Trusts and Estates, as well as a curriculum vitae. Applications should be addressed to Professor Christopher Gibson (email@example.com) and uploaded to the Suffolk University website via Jobvite.
Suffolk University is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer. The University is dedicated to the goal of building a diverse and inclusive faculty and staff that reflect who contribute to the robust exchange of ideas on campus, and who are committed to teaching and working in a diverse environment. We strongly encourage applications from groups historically marginalized or underrepresented because of race/color, gender, religious creed, disability, national origin, veteran status or LGBTQ status. The search committee is especially interested in candidates who, through their research, teaching, service and/or experience, will contribute to the diversity and excellence of the academic community. Candidates are encouraged to describe previous activities mentoring members of underrepresented groups, describe how diversity issues have been or will be brought into courses, or how their scholarship contributes to building and supporting inclusive communities.
Suffolk University does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, religious creed, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, age, genetic information, or status as a veteran in admission to, access to, treatment in, or employment in its programs, activities, or employment.
Wednesday, November 25, 2020
Daniel R. Mandelker (Washington University) and Trevor Alexander (WashU Student) have posted Minority Discrimination Through Popular Vote in the Land Use Process (Zoning and Planning Law Report) on SSRN. Here's the abstract:
Voter participation in the land use process can discriminate against minorities. Assume a city council approves an amendment to the zoning ordinance that authorizes an affordable housing project. The amendment attracts opposition because the project will be open to minorities. Voters who oppose the project place a referendum on the ballot, an election is held, and the amendment is rejected by popular vote. Similar problems arise when voters adopt a constitutional or city charter amendment that bars effective action to prevent minority discrimination. Assume a city adopts an inclusionary housing program that requires developers to provide affordable housing and prohibits minority discrimination. Voters place an initiative on the ballot that would amend the city charter to prohibit inclusionary housing programs, an election is held, and they adopt the charter amendment.
Initiatives and referenda like these are facially neutral but raise minority discrimination problems, which the Supreme Court considered in a series of cases. Its decisions are mixed, and it rejected initiatives that had racially discriminatory impacts in some cases. The constitutional basis for these cases was not always clear, and some preceded the critical holding in Washington v. Davis that proof of racial discrimination under the Fourteenth Amendment requires proof of discriminatory intent. The Court changed direction in a recent case, where a plurality upheld an initiative that prohibited afﬁrmative action in higher education.
Commentary suggests that cases holding initiatives unconstitutional applied a political process doctrine based on a famous footnote in U.S. v. Carolene Products Co. In that footnote, Justice Stone asked “whether prejudice against discrete and insular minorities may be a special condition, which tends seriously to curtail the operation of those political processes ordinarily to be relied upon to protect minorities, and which may call for a correspondingly more searching judicial inquiry.” The footnote’s application to the land use process is clear. In the examples at the beginning of this article, a referendum or an initiative rejected a decision made by legislative representatives, and curtailed a political process used to protect minorities. Rezoning for housing available to minority groups was displaced by popular referendum, and an initiative rejected a legislative program that beneﬁted minorities.
The political process doctrine has two prongs. The ﬁrst prong requires that an issue that raises a political process problem must be minority sensitive “in that it singles out for special treatment issues that are particularly associated with minority interests.” The second prong requires a showing that voters removed a decision associated with minority interests to a higher level of government, where it was insulated from change except through change at the higher level. A mere repeal of protective legislative action does not satisfy this prong. There must be repeal plus a modiﬁcation of the normal political process for making political decisions. An initiative can accomplish this change.
Supreme Court cases that rejected initiatives because they were racially discriminatory did not explicitly embrace or explain a political process theory, but acceptance of this theory is implicit. A recent plurality decision by the Supreme Court, Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Afﬁrmative Action, Integration and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary, damaged these early decisions, damaged judicial protection against racial discrimination by popular vote, and rejected the political process theory. We begin with Supreme Court cases, discussed in Schuette, that invalidated racially discriminatory initiatives. We then discuss Schuette, and what it means for the future of racial plebiscites as they affect the land use process. We then discuss two Supreme Court cases not discussed in Schuette where the Court upheld racially discriminatory initiatives, and what these cases mean for the Schuette decision.
Friday, November 13, 2020
Thursday, November 12, 2020
Hanoch Dagan (Tel-Aviv) has posted chapters 1 and 9 of A Liberal Theory of Property (Cambridge University Press) on SSRN. The title is coming out next month, December 2020. Here's an overview of chapters 1 and 9:
Property enhances autonomy for most people, but not for all. Because it both empowers and disables, property requires constant vigilance. “A Liberal Theory of Property” addresses key questions: how can property be justified? What core values should property law advance, and how do those values interrelate? How is a liberal state obligated to act when shaping property law?
In a liberal polity the primary commitment to individual autonomy dominates the justification of property, founding it on three pillars: carefully delineated private authority, structural (but not value) pluralism, and relational justice. A genuinely liberal property law meets the legitimacy challenge confronting property by expanding people’s opportunities for individual and collective self-determination while carefully restricting their options of interpersonal domination.
“A Liberal Theory of Property” shows how the three pillars of liberal property account for core features of existing property systems, provide a normative vocabulary for evaluating central doctrines, and offer directions for urgent reforms.
Thursday, October 29, 2020
Gregory Stein (Tennessee) has posted The Impact of Autonomous Vehicles on Urban Land Use Patterns (Florida State University Law Review) on SSRN. Here's the abstract:
Autonomous vehicles are coming. The only questions are how quickly they will arrive, how we will manage the years when they share the road with conventional vehicles, and how the legal system will address the issues they raise. This Article examines the impact the autonomous vehicle revolution will have on urban land use patterns.
Autonomous vehicles will transform the use of land and the law governing that valuable land. Automobiles will drop passengers off and then drive themselves to remote parking areas, reducing the need for downtown parking. These vehicles will create the need for substantial changes in roadway design. Driverless cars are more likely to be shared, and fleets may supplant individual ownership. At the same time, people may be willing to endure longer commutes, working while their car transports them.
These dramatic changes will require corresponding adaptations in real estate and land use law. Zoning laws, building codes, and homeowners’ association rules will have to be updated to reflect shifting needs for parking. Longer commutes may create a need for stricter environmental controls. Moreover, jurisdictions will have to address these changes while operating under considerable uncertainty, as we all wait to see which technologies catch on, which fall by the wayside, and how quickly this revolution arrives. This Article examines the legal changes that are likely to be needed in the near future. It concludes by recommending that government bodies engage in scenario planning so they can act under conditions of ambiguity while reducing the risk of poor decisions.
Friday, October 9, 2020
Just in from the reporter himself, John Lovett (Loyola-NOLA Law): the final version of the Uniform Easement Relocation Act was officially released this week. The act itself, as well as the prefatory note and comments, can be accessed here. Cribbing from the ULC website:
The Uniform Easement Relocation Act allows the owner of a real estate burdened by an easement to obtain a court order to relocate the easement if the relocation does not materially impair the utility of the easement to the easement holder, or the physical location, use, or value of the benefited property. The burdened property owner must file a civil action, give other potentially affected real property interest owners notice, and bear all the cost of relocation.
Tuesday, October 6, 2020
Texas A&M School of Law professor Thomas W. Mitchell has been named a 2020 fellow of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for his work in reforming laws and developing policy solutions that help disadvantaged families deprived of their land, homes and real estate wealth.
The “genius grant,” considered to be among the most prestigious prizes in academia, is given to individuals “who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction.” The distinction comes with a $625,000 no-strings-attached stipend.
Fellows are nominated anonymously by leaders in their respective fields and considered by an anonymous selection committee. Selection criteria includes exceptional creativity, promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishments, and potential for the fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work.
Mitchell said he was overcome by the news.
“When I started nearly 25 years ago, my ideas for law reform to help disadvantaged property owners were considered nearly impossible to achieve. I tell my students that they can make a real difference,” Mitchell said. “No matter how inevitable and seemingly permanent any injustice may appear to be, if you use your imagination and think boldly, develop a strategy, cultivate allies, and remain determined, change can come.”
Mitchell’s research primarily addresses real property issues that impact poor and disadvantaged communities, many of which are rural. He seeks to understand how the ability or inability of individuals or communities to build and retain assets can impact inequality.
Robert Ahdieh, dean of the School of Law, has known Mitchell for almost 30 years and was not surprised by the announcement.
“From the time I first met him as a law student, I have always been struck by Thomas’ commitment to positively impacting law and society,” Ahdieh said. “With his incredible work on reforming the law of partition, he has managed to do so in ways that are fundamental and lasting — and to which most law professors can only aspire.”
Mitchell has served since 2016 as a professor of law and co-director of the Program in Real Estate, which focuses on urban and rural real estate, housing, land use and community development law challenges.
He is the principal drafter of the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act (UPHPA), which was promulgated by the Uniform Law Commission to improve the ability of families who own so-called heirs’ property owners to maintain ownership of their properties and preserve their real estate wealth. The UPHPA has been enacted in 17 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands since 2011, and was drawn upon in the Farm Bill, which was passed by Congress in 2018 in part to help heirs’ property owners maintain ownership of their property and access government assistance programs for farming and ranching operations.
“I am absolutely delighted that the MacArthur Foundation recognized the brilliant work of Thomas Mitchell,” said Michael K. Young, president of Texas A&M University. “His scholarship and indeed self-described life mission of helping disadvantaged property owners is the core value of selfless service in action that we teach students.”
Sunday, September 13, 2020
The rise of the sharing economy benefits consumers and providers alike. Consumers can access a wider range of goods and services on an as-needed basis and no longer need to own a smaller number of costly assets that sit unused most of the time. Providers can engage in profitable short-term ventures, working on their own schedule and enjoying many new opportunities to supplement their income.
Sharing economy platforms often employ dynamic pricing, which means that the price of a good or service varies in real time as supply and demand change. Under dynamic pricing, the price of a good or service is highest when demand is high or supply is low. Just when a customer most needs a good or service – think bottled water after a hurricane – dynamic pricing may price that customer out of the market.
This Article examines the extent to which the rise of the sharing economy may exacerbate existing inequality. It describes the sharing economy and its frequent use of dynamic pricing as a means of allocating scarce resources. It then focuses on three types of commodities – necessities, inelastic goods and services, and public goods and services – and discusses why the dynamic pricing of these three types of commodities raises the greatest inequality concerns. The Article concludes by asking whether some type of intervention is warranted and examining the advantages and drawbacks of government action, action by the private sector, or no action at all.