Land Use

What’s The Future Of California’s High Speed Rail System?


Join My KALW Radio Conversation Tonight With Authority Chair Dan Richard At 7pm

California’s high speed rail system has been moving at a low speed since voters approved a bond issue to launch it in 2008. That ballot measure authorized a bullet train from San Francisco to Los Angeles and eventually Anaheim, at speeds of 220 miles per hour and stops in Central Valley cities like Fresno and […]

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Obama Administration Takes On Local Barriers To New Housing


Restrictions on housing supply in high-wage cities have created a national economic and environmental crisis

The White House Council of Economic Advisers has been making noise in the past year about how local restrictions on housing across the country has created a national economic drag. But now the council has come out swinging against these “not-in-my-backyard” local policies. In a new “Housing Development Toolkit” [PDF], the White House summarizes how […]

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Does Light Rail Get People Out of Their Cars?


Hopeful Findings from a New Metro Survey

My nominee for Greatest Article Title Of All Time is Don Pickrell’s 1992 piece in the Journal of the American Planning Association. Pickrell argued that while planners and local governments poured money into light rail, it never got the hoped-for ridership. The title? “A Desire Named Streetcar.” Well, as it turns out now, Los Angeles […]

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Can Women’s Land Rights Combat Climate Change?

BANGUI, CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC - MARCH 13: A young African woman at work in the fields, checking the crops to be harvested just outside Bangui pictured on March 13, 2014 near Bangui, Central African Republic. (Photo by Thomas Koehler/Photothek via Getty Images)

Suggestive Links Between Gender Equity and Sustainability

I suppose that the holy grail of environmentalism, and environmental scholarship, is integrating equity concerns with global priorities. The environmental justice movement has sought to do this, sometimes with success and sometimes less so. Now Jennifer Duncan of Landesa, one of the most innovative think tanks focusing on land rights and the Global South, thinks […]

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What is the Price of Equality?

President Johnson signs the Fair Housing Act, 1968

Do Local Land Use Regulations Violate the Fair Housing Act?

One of the great things about studying land use is that it comprises so much of modern life. That creates some disciplinary problems: one UCLAW colleague who shall remain nameless (but comes from Pennsylvania) told me several years ago that he didn’t think land use was part of environmental law at all. (He has since […]

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California Supreme Court Holds Unanimously that the State May Restrict Mining Methods on Federal Lands

Court in People v. Rinehart Upholds State Moratorium on Suction-Dredge Mining

Last year, as I discussed in a prior post, the California Supreme Court granted the State of California’s petition for review in the case of People v. Rinehart.  I’m pleased to say that today, the Supreme Court has issued a unanimous opinion, authored by Justice Werdegar, in favor of the state’s moratorium on suction-dredge mining on federal lands. […]

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Conflicting Visions of the Future of the American West

map of west

The GOP favors the Old West of ranching, logging, mining, and oil. The Democrats have a different view.

The Democratic and Republican parties have very different ideas about the 640 million acres of land owned by the federal government, mostly in the West. It’s not just that the party platforms disagree about the balance between preservation and resource exploitation. It’s also that Democrats have a much different vision of the future of the American […]

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Pets, Parks, and Presidential Politics


Some unusual topics for a presidential campaign

While preparing a comparison of the candidates’ environmental positions, I saw some interesting positions by Hillary Clinton that didn’t fit neatly into the comparison. They deal with topics that aren’t usually covered in national campaigns: city parks, animal welfare, and improved stewardship by ranchers and farmers. I’ve written previously about the importance of city parks. […]

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Whither the 2016-17 Court on Environmental Cases?


Docket so far limited to a significant takings case, Murr v. Wisconsin

So far, the docket for the U.S. Supreme Court’s term beginning in October includes no significant statutory environmental case.  It does include an important takings case that could limit or expand the land use powers of all levels of  government to protect wetlands, endangered species habitat, and other ecologically sensitive parcels.  Whether the Court ultimately […]

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Reinventing Parks & Rec.


We need to protect city parks, not just rural wilderness.

“The few green havens that are public parks” is a phrase from the Supreme Court’s opinion in the Overton Park case.  The case involved a plan to build a highway through the middle of a major park in Memphis.  The Court put a heavy burden on the government to justify the project: “The few green havens […]

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