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Local Land Use Power: Managing Human Settlements to Mitigate Climate Change

May 2021

Citation: ELR 10426

Author: John R. Nolon

Local land use law has evolved into a flexible and powerful technique for achieving sustainable development. This Article, adapted from Chapter 3 of Choosing to Succeed: Land Use Law & Climate Control (ELI Press 2021), looks at the authority and strategies that enable municipalities to lower their carbon footprint. It describes and analyzes many methods, both traditional and innovative, to use the power of local governments to reshape human settlements to mitigate climate change. The Article demonstrates that land use regulation can be retooled to greatly reduce or capture urban carbon emissions, and posits that mitigation efforts can lead to significant adaptation benefits, linking the two components of climate change management.

John R. Nolon is Distinguished Professor of Law at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University, where he teaches property, land use, dispute resolution, and sustainable development law and is Counsel to the Law School’s Land Use Law Center, which he founded in 1993.

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