"Transportation, Land Use, and the Sources of Hyper-Localism"

Michigan Law Authors
Areas of Interest
Publish Date
2021
Publication
Iowa Law Review
Publication Type
Journal Article
Abstract

This Essay identifies the convergence of big-city land use and transportation politics on a shared form—marked by hyper-local control and the privileging of the most vocal opponents to change—despite remarkably different legal regimes. While land use law mandates that cities provide notice to the neighbors, hearings for them to speak at, and veto opportunities for local city council members, transportation law does none of these things. Yet there are still public meetings, the neighbors still turn out in opposition, and city council members still exercise an effective veto over projects in their districts. Based on this convergence, this Essay sounds a note of caution about recent arguments that legal reforms to land use procedure can improve land use outcomes. Hyperlocalism has deep roots, located outside the legal regimes governing land use’s public participation and decision-making processes. Legal procedural reform alone can only do so much, absent a more thoroughgoing political transformation of the land use process.

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