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Ordering the City: Land Use, Policing, and the Restoration of Urban America

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ISBN-13: 978-0300124941
ISBN-10: 0300124945
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This book is a wonderful re-articulation and deepening of Nicole Garnett's thinking that is sure to shape debates over urban land use policy and regulation for a long time to come."—Sheila R. Foster, Albert A. Walsh Professor of Law, Fordham University
(Sheila R. Foster)

"Ordering the City is a worthy meditation on the role of land-use regulation and urban police work in reviving our largest cities.  Its arguments are nicely illustrated by many real-life examples."—William A. Fischel, Dartmouth College
(William A. Fischel)

About the Author

Nicole Stelle Garnett is a professor at the University of Notre Dame Law School.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (December 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300124945
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300124941
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,811,645 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Most of this readable little book focuses on the interaction of land use regulation and preservation of order - by which she means not merely prevention of predatory crime, but also of the sort of low-level obnoxious behavior which, although often not criminal, nevertheless makes a place unpleasant to live in (such as panhandling or litter-creating businesses).

Garnett notes that for much of the 20th century, governments sought to reduce disorder by separating disorder-creating commerce from housing. Although this strategy was popular in suburbs, it did not work so well in cities: many poor urban neighborhoods have very little economic activity, and nevertheless are very disorderly places. Similarly, downtowns dominated by 9-to-5 businesses tend to be scary places after dark.

Today, the intellectual trend tends to be in favor of mixing land uses. Garnett sympathizes with this view. Although she favors a more go-slow approach than some might, she favors more aggressive deregulation in poorer areas where the status quo has clearly not worked. She also discusses new urbanist form-based codes; she approves of their general intent to mix uses, but wonders whether they are too prescriptive regarding architectural details.

Garnett also discusses policies designed to deal with prostitution and homelessness; she points out that governments have gone back and forth between concentrating disorderly activity in red-light districts (thus causing crime to "spill over" into nearby neighborhoods) and dispersing such activities throughout the city (creating a risk of widespread problems). She suggests that neither strategy is a clear winner. Similarly, public housing projects sought to concentrate poverty in a few "bad areas", and now seek to disperse the poor into a broader variety of neighborhoods.
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