Understanding american land use regulation since 1970: A revisionist interpretation

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64 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-301
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Planning Association
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Urban Studies


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