Category Archives: Development (and Law)

Article: “The Price of Equality: Fair Housing, Land Use, and Disparate Impact”

Article: Jonathan Zasloff, “The Price of Equality: Fair Housing, Land Use, and Disparate Impact,” 49 Columbia Rights Review (forthcoming, 2017).

What happens when local government policies run head-on into federal civil rights laws? Nowhere does this question assume greater importance than with land use and fair housing, yet in the nearly half-century since the passage of the Fair Housing Act (FHA), courts and commentators have skirted the question. With the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Inclusive Communities Project v. Texas, the most significant fair housing decision in the nation’s history, they can no longer do so. This Article represents the first sustained effort to show how the FHA affects land use, the most important power that cities have under American localism. The Supreme Court held for the first time that the FHA allows disparate impact liability, and outlined when such disparate impact cases can be brought. But it left many crucial questions unanswered, and this Article attempts to fill the gap. It concludes that when cities restrict affordable and multifamily housing, which often has a disparate impact on people of color, zoning ordinances must withstand intermediate scrutiny in order to be sustained. Courts must balance local policies with demands for inclusion: sometimes those policies will triumph, but in many instances they will not, for they rest on weak empirical or legal foundations, or they can be addressed in less restrictive ways. The Article sets forth a series of the most common scenarios and justifications for exclusionary zoning, and seeks to show that such justifications have far less purchase than is commonly supposed. The FHA comes nowhere close to abolishing zoning, but it does insist that local zoning must no longer exclude racial minorities, and the Court’s decision makes clear how fair housing advocates can and should use the law to fight such exclusion. If localities no longer have the discretion to exclude people of color, then that is the price of equality.


Article: Milan Markovic, “Lawyers and the Secret Welfare State,” 84 Fordham L. Rev. 1845 (2016).

Lawyers play an outsized role in the distribution of public benefits in the United States. This article suggests that, in assisting clients to circumvent stringent eligibility requirements for programs such as Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) and Medicaid, attorneys have created a secret welfare state that favors comparatively well-off Americans at the expense of the truly needy. Lawyers’ handling of evidence of non-disability in SSDI proceedings and participation in Medicaid planning is used to illustrate the argument.

News Article: “In ‘By the People,’ Designing for the Underserved and Overlooked”

News Article: Michael Kimmelman, “In ‘By the People,’ Designing for the Underserved and Overlooked,” New York Times, Sept. 29, 2016.

Op-Ed: “Adding a legal dimension to multidimensional poverty”

Op-Ed: Paul Prettitore, Adding a legal dimension to multidimensional poverty, Brookings Future Development Blog, May 19, 2016.

New Article: “Complexity’s Shadow: American Indian Property, Sovereignty, and the Future”

DSC_0035New Article: Jessica A. Shoemaker, Complexity’s Shadow: American Indian Property, Sovereignty, and the Future, forthcoming Mich. L. Rev. Abstract below:

This article offers a new perspective on the challenges of the modern American Indian land tenure system. While some property theorists have renewed focus on isolated aspects of Indian land tenure, including the historic inequities of colonial takings of Indian lands, this article argues that the complexity of today’s federally imposed reservation property system does much the same colonizing work that historic Indian land policies — from allotment to removal to termination — did overtly. But now these inequities are largely shadowed by the daunting complexity of the whole over-arching structure. 

This article introduces a new taxonomy of complexity in American Indian land tenure and explores particularly how the recent trend of hyper-categorizing property and sovereignty interests into ever-more granular and interacting jurisdictional variables has exacerbated development and self-governance challenges in Indian Country. The entirety of this structural complexity serves no adequate purpose for Indian landowners or Indian nations and instead creates perverse incentives to grow the federal oversight role. Complexity begets more complexity, and this has created a self-perpetuating and inefficient cycle of federal control. However, stepping back and reviewing Indian land tenure as a system — a whole complex, dynamic, and ultimately adaptable system — actually introduces new and potentially fruitful management techniques borrowed from social and ecological sciences. Top-down Indian land reforms have consistently intensified complexity’s costs. This article explores how emphasizing grassroots experimentation and local flexibility instead can create critical space for reservation-by-reservation property system transformations into the future.

News Coverage: “Can Neighborhoods Be Revitalized Without Gentrifying Them?”

News Coverage: “Can Neighborhoods Be Revitalized Without Gentrifying Them?

New Article: “Toward Inclusive Economic Development”

New Article: “Toward Inclusive Economic Development

Call-for-Papers: “2015 Policy Summit on Housing, Human Capital & Inequality”

Call For Papers
2015 Policy Summit on Housing, Human Capital & Inequality

June 18-19, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The Federal Reserve Banks of Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Richmond invite paper submissions for the 2015 Policy Summit on Housing, Human Capital, and Inequality, which will be held June 18-19 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The conference brings together researchers and practitioners interested in economic policy and development in low- and moderate-income communities.

OVERVIEW: As the nation continues its recovery from the Great Recession, it is important to understand how economic growth can more equitably benefit low- and moderate income individuals. With this in mind, and having selected a theme of economic growth and opportunity for the 2015 Policy Summit, we encourage the submission of high-quality research papers in the following areas: economic development, entrepreneurship, equitable development, recent trends in CRA lending (i.e., access to capital and credit for small businesses), workforce development, education reform, and related topics. In particular, we encourage the submission of research and work that is applicable to the Federal Reserve’s Third, Fourth, and Fifth Districts – comprising all of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, North and South Carolina, Washington, D.C., and parts of New Jersey and Kentucky.

The Policy Summit is a now-biennial forum that attracts an audience of several hundred academics, bankers, elected officials, funders, policymakers, and practitioners from across the eastern United States. If your paper is selected, you will be asked to present at the Policy Summit, which will be held June 18-19, 2015, at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Travel and accommodation expenses per Federal Reserve guidelines will be covered for presenters.

PAPER SUBMISSION PROCEDURE: The deadline for submissions is 5:00 PM, Friday, December 19, 2014. Please submit an extended abstract or a draft of your research paper by this date to We will notify submitting authors of accepted papers by January 31, 2015; full conference papers will be due June 4, 2015.

FURTHER INFORMATION: Please direct any questions about the call for papers to Dionissi Aliprantis at, Lisa Nelson at, or Shannon McKay at

Paul Krugman, Inequality Is a Drag –

Inequality Is a Drag –

Conference Materials Posted: World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty 2014

The conference materials (including papers and presentations) associated with this year’s World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty, Integrating Land Governance into the Post-2015 Agenda have been uploaded and are available here.