Comments

Reprinted at 23 Pace Envtl. L. Rev. 905 (2006)

Document Type

Article

Abstract

This Article explores the prospects of achieving policy coherence in the field of land use regulation. It explains how, as municipal governments react to pressures and crises at the local level, they discover and adopt new strategies in a constant process of experimentation. Through a properly constructed legal framework, critical information can be relayed from local to higher levels of government, state and federal legislators and judges can respond, and a "system" of law can evolve. Using theories developed in the fields of systems analysis and diffusion of innovations, the Article describes the process by which local communities perceive land use challenges at the grassroots level and react through the adoption of responsive laws. It argues that state and federal governments, by being attentive to local innovations, can hasten needed change and create a coordinated and efficient system of land use law. The Article presents and analyzes case studies at the federal, state, and local level that illustrate how law reform occurs and that demonstrate the interdependence of all the components within the system. It explains the interplay of bottom-up and top-down forces and the importance of developing a legal framework for ordering the roles, resources, and competencies of each level of government involved.