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Planning and Law: Shaping the Legal Environment of Land Development and Preservation

April 2010

Citation: ELR 10419

Author: Charles M. Haar and Michael Allan Wolf

Editors' Summary

It has been more than a century since the City Beautiful movement captured the imagination and attention of public officials throughout America. Today, many states and localities continue to wrestle with the need for, and legal and social significance of, comprehensive planning. In most of the country, zoning preceded planning, a fact that is often evident when one studies current land use patterns. In the last few decades, planning law has reached a new level of sophistication, as courts, commentators, and public officials have explored the ways in which environmental protection and land use controls intersect, at times in a complementary fashion and at other times in conflict. To be successful in this new legal milieu, the modern land use attorney needs to have a healthy respect for planners and planning theory, keeping in mind the needs and desires of their clients and the ways in which poor planning and zoning decisions and the footprint of the modern public-private partnership often have a lasting, negative effect on the unbuilt environment within and beyond our artificial political boundaries.

Charles M. Haar is Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. Michael Allan Wolf is the Richard E. Nelson Chair in Local Government Law at the University of Florida Levin College of Law.

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