This article challenges the conventional accounts of the history of American land use regulation over most of the last two decades. It traces the emergence of centralized regulation in the early 1970s and presents the standard (but contradictory) explanations of what has happened to it since: the liberals' interpretation that the regulation faded and the conservatives' interpretation that it bloomed excessively. The article offers a third, more pragmatic interpretation, which reconciles the other two–that centralized regulation quietly succeeded, even into the late 1980s' as it increasingly overcame its initial practical disadvantage of unfamiliarity. The article ends by examining this revisionist interpretation's surprisingly optimistic political and professional implications for planners.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Urban Studies