Land Use

Global market for ecosystem services surges to $36 billion in annual transactions

New article in Nature Sustainability tracks global payments for ecosystems services

In the early 1990s, New York City began paying for land management in the Catskills watershed to ensure safe drinking water for the city, avoiding the cost of building an expensive water treatment plant. New York City provides just one example of a growing number of programs – called payments for ecosystem services (PES) – …

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What Will Driverless Cars Do To The Climate?

A Formidable Challenge for Policymakers and Modelers

It’s no longer a question of whether driverless cars will appear on the market; it’s when and how many. The answers so far seem to be: 1) soon; and 2) lots. German automakers are so confident of this that they are already negotiating with Nokia to compete to Google’s self-driving cars. For Legal Planet, that means we …

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Shut Up, Texas

Environmental Factors Smack Down Another Right-Wing Meme

If like me you are tired of Texans gloating about their supposed “miracle,” today’s post from Kevin Drum brings some good news: For years, business lobbyists complained about what they derided as “job killer” laws that drive employers out of California. Rival state governors, notably former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, made highly publicized visits to …

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Will Regulatory Takings Always Be A Mess?

Takings law is a legal quagmire. It’s likely to stay that way.

I recently reread an article that my late colleague Joe Sax published exactly fifty years ago.  It’s a striking piece of scholarship, all the more impressive so early in his career. But one particular statement made a particular impression on me: “Nevertheless, the predominant characteristic of this area of law is a welter of confusing …

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Can Los Angeles Reinvent Itself Around Rail?

New op-ed explains key challenges and opportunities

A city famous for its car culture now has three new rail transit projects under construction.  Can Los Angeles reinvent itself around rail-oriented development? Passenger vehicle transportation plays a major role in contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. But building more rail, alone, is not enough to get folks off the road and onto public transit. …

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The ballot-box and urban infill

How the initiative power affects land-use decisions in California

Here at Legal Planet we’ve been paying a lot of attention to how CEQA affects land-use decisions.  So has the legislature.  And that’s fair enough.  CEQA is important.  And CEQA may well be deterring an important range of urban infill development that is environmentally important. But it’s not the only thing that affects urban infill …

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Supreme Court Rules for Property Owner in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District

The U.S. Supreme Court today decided Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District. But unlike the previous two, unanimous Takings Clause rulings issued this Term by the justices in Arkansas Game and Fish Commission v. United States and Horne v. Department of Agriculture, the decision in Koontz reflected a sharply divided Court, in a …

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Which City Has the Best Parks? Trust for Public Lands Releases Annual ParkScore Ranking.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) recently released its annual ParkScore index, which ranks the park systems of the fifty largest U.S. cities.  As with all scorecards, the methodology is imperfect and the metrics are somewhat crude; but seeing how U.S. cities compare across uniform parameters is a good starting point for a larger conversation …

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(Another) Bad Day for Economists

One interesting project for future intellectual historians will be figuring out how economics became the queen of the social scientists when virtually none of their predictions have come true and so much of their empirical work is downright shoddy.  Perhaps it will lie in the way ideology can take over the discipline because of data …

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California Supreme Court Upholds Abolition of Local Redevelopment Agencies

The California Supreme Court waited until the very end of 2011 to issue the year’s most important land use decision. While the specific issues relate to arcane issues of public finance and state constitutional law, today’s decision in California Redevelopment Association v. Matosantos is likely to have major consequences for local land use authority and …

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