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Land Use without Zoning

Land Use without Zoning

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The conversation about zoning has meandered its way through issues ranging from housing affordability to economic growth to segregation, expanding in the process from a public policy backwater to one of the most discussed policy issues of the day. In his pioneering 1972 study, Land Use Without Zoning, Bernard Siegan first set out what has today emerged as a common-sense perspective: Zoning not only fails to achieve its stated ends of ordering urban growth and separating incompatible uses, but also drives housing costs up and competition down. In no uncertain terms, Siegan concludes, "Zoning has been a failure and should be eliminated!"
Drawing on the unique example of Houston-America's fourth largest city, and its lone dissenter on zoning-Siegan demonstrates how land use will naturally regulate itself in a nonzoned environment. For the most part, Siegan says, markets in Houston manage growth and separate incompatible uses not from the top down, like most zoning regimes, but from the bottom up. This approach yields a result that sets Houston apart from zoned cities: its greater availability of multifamily housing. Indeed, it would seem that the main contribution of zoning is to limit housing production while adding an element of permit chaos to the process.
Land Use Without Zoning reports in detail the effects of current exclusionary zoning practices and outlines the benefits that would accrue to cities that forgo municipally imposed zoning laws. Yet the book's program isn't merely destructive: beyond a critique of zoning, Siegan sets out a bold new vision for how land-use regulation might work in the United States.
Released nearly a half century after the book's initial publication, this new edition recontextualizes Siegan's work for our current housing affordability challenges. It includes a new preface by law professor David Schleicher, which explains the book's role as a foundational text in the law and economics of urban land use and describes how it has informed more recent scholarship. Additionally, it includes a new afterword by urban planner Nolan Gray, which includes new data on Houston's evolution and land use relative to its peer cities.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781538148631
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 12/08/2020
Series: Mercatus Center at George Mason University Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 298
Product dimensions: 6.11(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.85(d)

About the Author

Bernard H. Siegan (1924–2006) was a preeminent defender of property rights and economic liberty. He received his JD degree from the University of Chicago in 1949 and for more than 20 years practiced law in his native Chicago. During that time he published Land Use Without Zoning (Lexington Books, 1972) which began to transform how Americans think about land use regulation. A year after that book’s release, Siegan joined the faculty of the University of San Diego. For the last three decades of his life he was Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of San Diego and specialized in constitutional law.

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables vii

About the Author and Contributors ix

Foreword to the Rowman & Littlefield Edition David N. Schleicher xi

Foreword to the First Edition Ranald H. Coase xv

Introduction xvii

Part I Zoning and Nonzoning 1

Chapter 1 Zoning: Politics and Planning 3

Chapter 2 Nonzoning: Economies and Consumers 23

Chapter 3 Are Restrictive Covenants "Virtually identical to Zoning Ordinances"? 77

Part II The Effects of Zoning 85

Chapter 4 The Effects of Zoning on Housing 87

Chapter 5 Zoning Curtails Development 123

Chapter 6 Zoning Reduces Competition 135

Chapter 7 Publishers, Pop Architecture, and Minorities 141

Part III Differing Solutions to Land Use Problems 147

Chapter 8 The Current Zoning Scene 149

Chapter 9 Federal and State Zoning Solutions 161

Chapter 10 Current Efforts against "Exclusionary" Zoning 173

Chapter 11 The Last Forty Acres under Zoning and Nonzoning 191

Part IV The Courts 201

Chapter 12 The Supreme Court and Zoning 203

Chapter 13 The Recent Cases: A Tale of Two States (and Perhaps Others) 209

Chapter 14 Zoning, an Anomaly to the Rights of Property 221

Part V Toward Zero Zoning 229

Chapter 15 Eliminating the Zoning Ordinance 231

Chapter 16 Conclusion 247

Afterword to the Rowman & Little-field Edition: Houston after Siegan M. Nolan Gray 249

Notes 255

Bibliography 271

Index 275

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