Volume 11, Summer 2014, Issue 4

  • Georgette Chapman Phillips

    “Zombie” is a Haitian Creole term used to denote an animated corpse that is brought back to life by mystical means such as witchcraft. Zombie cities, as I use the term here, are decimated urban areas that are brought back to life by mystical means such as public policy. The success of reviving and reanimating these zombie cities relies on the alchemy of initiatives — economic, social, and legal — that create the conditions that facilitate reanimation. This article focuses on the legal piece of the puzzle and turns on land use law and zoning codes that allow a city to reimagine itself in a rehabilitated form that is possibly quite different than its current dilapidated state. Land use law (and the planning policies that underpin such law) is deeply rooted in the concept of managing growth. The emphasis on growth is clearly misplaced for cities with huge population losses. The growth emphasis borders on perverse when one considers the link between the impact of single-use Euclidean zoning and the segregation of the poor into the urban core (where high-density and low-cost housing is available), which in many cases exacerbated losses in population. At best, traditional zoning law treats the city as a static concept; at worst, it imposes antiquated and unforgiving strictures that fail to provide enough flexibility for organic and dynamic change. For example, as cities lose population and increasingly contain hollow caverns of land as a result of the population shrinkage, local governments struggle to align the land use codes premised upon population growth with their new topographic reality. View More


  • Adrianna Exler

    The laws of innovation and intellectual property have been well established and prominently secured in the United States since the enactment of the U.S. Constitution. Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution states: “Congress shall have Power . . . To promote the Progress of Science and the useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” The patent rights granted to an inventor, upon successful acceptance by the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), are directly correlated to upholding the Constitutional principle of promoting innovation of the arts and sciences. View More


  • Anne E. Hoover

    What if parents had the power to gain control of a public school and force it to change or even close? In 2010, the nation’s first “Parent Trigger” law was passed in California, which did just this. Now the law in seven states (California, Connecticut, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio and Texas) and being considered in 25 others, Parent Trigger laws allow parents to step in and reform or even completely transform their child’s failing public school if fifty-one percent of other parents sign a petition in support of change. When parents in these low-performing schools collect enough signatures, they can force a number of actions including converting the school to a charter school (by handing control over to a private company or management group), replacing principals or teachers, changing the budget, or shutting down the school entirely. View More