The Law of Sprawl: A Road Map


In the fall of 2004, I taught a seminar on “The Law of Sprawl” at Southern Illinois University (SIU) School of Law. This essay seeks to guide would-be teachers of a course on sprawl by showing how I taught the course.

Specifically, the article asserts that a seminar on sprawl belongs in law school curricula as well as planning school curricula, because a wide variety of legal rules contribute to sprawl. The article then goes on to discuss those legal rules and how I addressed them in my course. For example, the article discusses land use regulations that encourage automobile-dependent development, as well as state and federal highway, housing and education policies that favored suburbs over cities. As to each issue, the seminar addressed not only sprawl-producing government policies, but case law that upheld (or, in some cases, challenged) those policies.


Environmental Law | Land Use Law | Legal Education | Property Law and Real Estate | State and Local Government Law

Date of this Version

April 2006