For those still at sea over Kelo v. City of New London and eminent domain, The Lincoln Land of Land Policy has a nice, evenhanded item titled “Squaring the Eminent Domain Circle: A new Approach to Land Assembly Problems ” at

I am behind in reading. This was published in “Land Lines” in January but it is worth digging up if you missed it.

The article recognizes the need for land assembly to evolve more functional settlement patterns and the concern of legitimate property rights well as the real dangers of land speculation. There is a nice picture of Susette Kelo, a reprint of the picture of WaPo picture of Architect Sprigg’s holdout and a site plan for the Fort Trumbull redevelopment.

For the record: The Fort Trumbull plan is a disaster and it is not worth taking down an outhouse to build. It is an autonomobility fostering abomination. There are many 50s and 60 Urban Renewal plans that are superior, it fact this looks just like one of them. But that is another story.

What I really like about the article is that is advocates a variation on the process we designed 20 years ago to insure equity is served in Subdivision Recycling processes such at that which has been at the heart of a lot of RB projects and of METRO West. We outline this strategy in “The Shape of the Future.”

In other, more current news check out the Affordable and Accessible Crisis story that Jim features in “The New Homeless” but do not miss the story in WaPo Business on Alan Greenspan. (He foresees the possibility of a recession by fall.)

All of those who have been championing Business-As-Usual and glorifying the “Capital Accumulation” of a Winner Take All Economy that leads to Mass Over-Consumption get out your apron and be ready to man the soup kitchen. Autonomobiles and home building are not likely to pull us out of this one. We have no built ourselves into such unsustainable settlement patterns that a lot, if not all of us, are going to be hurt.

Yes Tobias, Jingoistic bragging and international advertising that promotes an Over-Consumptive lifestyle in the US of A has induced a lot to migrate. On that score see the current “Unte Reader’s” collection of articles on Illegal Immigrant Slavery.

Lets see, we have the Access and Mobility Crisis, the Affordable and Accessible Housing Crisis, the Illegal Immigrant Crisis, the War(s) in the Middle East, …

Did someone say the stock market went go down this morning? Where Oh Where can someone get a decent return on their gambling / speculation? Real estate is rotten, now stocks, what next? The NCAA tournament is near, perhaps you can score the winning bracket.

Have a Nice Day :>)


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5 responses to “NEWS OF THE DAY”

  1. E M Risse Avatar

    Sorry, a misspelled word in the most important sentence. It should read:

    We have now built ourselves into such and unsustainable settlement patterns that a lot, if not all of us, are going to be hurt.


  2. Jim Wamsley Avatar
    Jim Wamsley

    Meanwhile Bloomberg reports Central Banks Diversify From Dollar

    The hard life on the family farm may start looking like the good life in comparison to suburban life.

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    It will be interesting to see the results of the clash set up by the recent General Assembly over eminent domain.

    They passed a law that barred the use of eminent domain for economic development purposes.

    Then they passed the transportation/land use reform package and inserted new language concerning the Statewide Transportation Plan to say the first and foremost the plan “. . .shall promote economic development. . .”

    Does that mean that it is OK to use eminent domain on road projects to promote economic development?

  4. What, exactly, is the danger in speculation? That somebody might hold out for what the land is worth? If the assembled land is worth more than the individual pieces then it seems to me that the assemblers are speculating that they will make a profit through eminent domain. It is little different from the kind of speculators who buy property and wait, or those who assemble properties through patience, skill, and fair bargaining, except that those who do it using eminent domain get a substantial effective subsidy.

    If there is such a huge (and as you point out, efficient) need for the land for this new project then the land ought to sell for a huge price relative to its previous value, simply because a new use now exists. To change the conditions by admitting a new use, and then to demand that the land be sold at the price of the old use, is simply stealing.

    When you are assembling land you get the value of the land and the value of the assemblage, and you shoule should expect to pay the full cost of the assembled price.

    What eminent domain does is allow the real speculator to pay something near the price of the land and near nothing for the value of the assemblage, which government takes care of. In such a case, where does the capital accumulation go? To the new speculator, who can turn his plan quickly (with government help) and get quick short term gains. The original landowner, who held his investment for years, and paid taxes for years, and got no help from the governement for years, is the one who gets left holding the bag.

    To the extent that we earn money that is over and above our basic needs, capital is going to accumulate, and it is going to be invested somewhere. Some “invest” in video games or fancy cars, some in land, some in Chinese stocks, some in savings accounts, which are mostly invested in land.

    I don’t see any point in promoting the idea that someone should be able to put his big ideas into effect, and create his capital, through the use of government force applied against the guy who has smaller ideas and smaller capital.

    If you can’t put your big ideas together without the cooperation of the little guys, tough luck. Go figure out a way to make him a willing participant in the new venture, instead of a victim of it.

  5. Jim Wamsley Avatar
    Jim Wamsley

    Back to George. The value of keeping land off the market may be higher for someone then the value of the land or the assembled value of the land.

    Owning one small parcel of city land can increase the value of another assembled parcel. How do we keep the speculator from buying a checkerboard of parcels to keep the competition from assembling land?

    A variation of the Lincoln Institute Approach has been used in Arlington, where neighbors have assembled the tracts and offered them to developers. It requires all the homeowners in a parcel to get together on the sale. Changing the Eminent Domain rules to encourage this type assembly may be a better solution then placing the government in the middle of the process.

    The current situation where the small owner has to deal with the developer who offers only the residual value of a lot when his development is completed is a good example of a monopoly market. This situation occurs when one acre single family lots are assembled for apartment development. The holdout may end up surrounded and his property value may plummet. A free market requires many buyers and many sellers. How do we translate free market values to monopoly markets?

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