Students and faculty in the Center for the Comparative Study for Metropolitan Growth contributed research to a new book from UN-Habitat, “Effectiveness of Planning Law in Land-Rich Developed Countries.”
The book examines land use law implementation in 18 cities which represent “Land-Rich Developed Countries” around the world. College of Law faculty and students researched Cleveland, OH, Gainesville, Fla., Killeen, Texas, Los Angeles, Modesto, Calif., Raleigh, N.C. and Springfield, Mass.
Karen Johnston, associate director of the Center for the Comparative Study for Metropolitan Growth, oversaw the College of Law’s involvement in the project. She enlisted the help of graduate research assistants to find data on the cities. Students were responsible for conducting research that included calling city planners in their assigned cities to gather data about everything from population density to whether or not the city had acquired property by eminent domain in the last five years.
The goal of the book project, which was led by the Policy, Legislation and Governance Section of UN-Habitat, is to “help city managers to rethink the sustainability of the urbanization model; and create systems that can result in equity, shared prosperity and environmental sustainability.”
Third-year law student Audra Durham, who worked on the project, says she learned how cities play a key role in regulating urban growth. Durham is pursuing a dual degree, master’s in city & regional planning and a J.D., and hopes to work in environmental law. This summer, she is doing a virtual summer internship with the Environmental Protection Agency.
“A lot of states delegate land use planning to local government, so it’s municipalities that determine growth management,” Durham said. “I learned tons, not just about substantive issues, but also the importance of working with a wonderful team toward a common goal.”
In addition to providing an opportunity for students to make connections and conduct research, Johnston says she hopes that this research will help inform future legislative efforts as cities strive to create sustainable and equitable communities.
The book is available for download here.
Written by Kelundra Smith