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Cornell Real Estate Review

Abstract

Over the past century, ever-expanding urban and suburban growth in the United States has offered a clear sign of America’s economic vitality, but it has not come without unique challenges of its own. Indeed, efforts to promulgate “smart growth” legislation as an antidote to suburban “sprawl” have proliferated in the past three decades, but it is time we ask ourselves whether their benefits outweigh their unintended consequences. States and local governments that once enthusiastically touted such legislation are beginning to confront unforeseen obstacles – and litigation – that raise the need for immediate reform. This Article explores the impact of growth management acts on preexisting property rights, noting the inevitable and growing conflicts between the two sides that legislatures (and courts) are increasingly being forced to confront. We assess the problems with creating truly intelligent urban and suburban growth, from political pressures to inconsistent judicial determinations to NIMBYs to constitutional takings jurisprudence.

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