« The Weeds

Time Machine: Buchanan v. Warley (1917)

2021-07-27

Vox's Jerusalem Demsas joins Matt and Dara on a time machine trip back to a WW1-era Supreme Court decision that shaped land use policy, zoning, and racial discrimination in housing. Discussion of Buchanan (and the related Euclid case decided nine years later) leads our hosts to talk a lot about the interrelated histories of zoning and racism in twentieth-century America.

Resources:

Buchanan v. Warley, 245 US 60 (1917)

Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty Company, 272 US 365 (1926)

"The racial origins of zoning: Southern cities from 1910–1940" by Christopher Silver (Planning Perspectives; May 8, 2007)

"Prelude to Euclid: The United States Supreme Court and the Constitutionality of Land Use Regulation, 1900-1920" by Joseph Gordon Hylton (Washington University Journal of Law & Policy; January 2000)

"Race, Ethnicity, and Discriminatory Zoning" by Allison Shertzer, Tate Twinam, and Randall P. Walsh (NBER; 2018)

"The National Rise in Residential Segregation" by Trevon Logan & John Parman (NBER; Feb. 2015)

"The Impact of Zoning on Housing Affordability" by Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko (NBER; March 2002)

American Society of Planning Officials Report on Rooming Houses (1957)

Hosts:

Matt Yglesias (@mattyglesias), Slowboring.com

Dara Lind (@DLind), Immigration Reporter, ProPublica

Jerusalem Demsas (@JerusalemDemsas), Policy reporter, Vox

Credits:

Erikk Geannikis (@erikk38), Producer

Ness Smith-Savedoff, Engineer

As the Biden administration gears up, we'll help you understand this unprecedented burst of policymaking. Sign up for The Weeds newsletter each Friday: vox.com/weeds-newsletter.

The Weeds is a Vox Media Podcast Network production.

Want to support The Weeds? Please consider making a contribution to Vox: bit.ly/givepodcasts

About Vox

Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines.

Follow Us: Vox.com

Facebook group: The Weeds

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Once upon a time there lived a princess called upon, so those waiting for prints to come safer, but really it was time for that. She ordered a ladder with prime one day delivery and started a hairdressing empire, obviously trying to change. Everything is one for this episode. Council clicker lose an average of three hours every day switch on which we all our work apps, but you can get them back with Cloacam flexible platform. That brings all your central tools at one place: legal prioritize tasks, collaborate on docks, chat with your team and track comes it's. Why companies like Hoover and website use click up is that Mission Control Centre, placing every other aptly we're using before. up even guarantees to help you save one day a week and get more done. It's completely customizable and it's free forever to dry click up. Today. Click up without com, slash weeds We need some time machine effects. I don't
Magellan doing this is this a prank? Are you franking? We also? If you don't do it, you might be like Livy and get caught in the time machine. We allow welcomed him of absolute reads on the box media Potass network. I met replace yes here with terrible in Jerusalem terms. Us and we are being a another. Its couldn't be the final weeds time, machine episode, at least of our series, but I had a lot of fun with ESA. We got a lot of requests to do. A lot of other historical moment is a lot of great choices out there, a lot of famous moments in american history, because I'm a little perverse. I am going to have us. Do aid not famous
moment in american policy history, we're gonna, be cranking the time machine back to the year. Nineteen, sixteen in which the Supreme Court issued a decision Buchanan be widely which related to a topic noon my heart zoning, and they said that you cannot use zoning to enforce racial segregation, which is interesting both because civil rights was not a big thing in the nineteen sixteen era of american politics. We did not see a lot of concern for racial equality, in the decision. As we will see, they actually are like a quite pains to say that like they're still super racist, but they will not allow this zoning provision and then, a few years later in eighteen, twenty six we get the village of Euclid. The Amber Realty company which the litigant there or tries to say. Look like you can't. This zoning against multi family residences,
You know in their citing these similar precedents that there's property rights, etc. But the Supreme Court gives the thumbs up to all kinds of exclusionary zoning practices as long as they are efficiently race, neutral workers quite familiar with idea of like visually race, neutral policies. Nevertheless, having disparate impacts or perhaps having clear discriminatory intent. There's a lot of legal doctrine round that, but the fact that this sort of emerged so early before the civil rights movement before this of Rights ACT, before world war. Two means that the land use code actually kind of had this whole system kind of built into it. But for we started making your policy changes around race and racism in a way that I think, is interesting and has left us with that fraud legacy. So we are going to enter the time machine
do some jurisprudence? None of US lawyers. So I think that's probably better, but you know now, let's go and yours. I promise we gotta. Do this on television. Doesnt work, another sound effects, so gay were setting the weeds time machine for the middle of world war. One litigation here we go. One of these days are over to see felt the time machine, but today is not that day, MATS Bella
so here we are. We are in Louisville Kentucky nineteen sixty in a felony Buchanan, a white guy he's trying to sell his house to a black tie, name wily there in Louisville and Louisville has an ordinance that says that if a majority of residents block or white by person can move in two that jurisdiction, so their local court tries to block the sale. There's various lawsuits about it. The Kentucky Court of appeal says you have, as was fine, they go to the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court at this time has two conflicting strands of jurisprudence kisses Corn. To understand this had been explained to be once is like an early civil rights case, but an important ways is not the Supreme Court in policy be Ferguson and a couple of other related cases at this point had said that segregation is fine.
That. You can maybe do a narrow lawsuit, arguing that you haven't been giving equal, segregated accommodations, but segregation is as great as a totally legitimate government function we're all in on it. The civil rights cases have already happened in which the court largely guts, the original reconstruction era, civil rights laws. By saying look, private property owners can do what they want. They also have these other cases that we often short hand as Lacheneur, saying that private property rights are really important. There really into freedom of contract
at this point in time, and the very sceptical of like minimum wage laws and other kinds of regulations there say: look you have a right to do what you want and Buchanan case here is really that it's a lock nor style property rights case not really a racial justice case, and he is trying to say look man, my our second seller to go. I want to add this. Are we going to Greece with that? I mean the one place where they get into. I guess the Rachel Justice peace is that they say look. Segregation is But we have all these white people in Louisville who have black, maids and other stuff like that. So there is no bona fide public interest in this kind of spatial segregation that people are trying to uphold here,
and so, if you want me to say that the opinion is like not actually that detailed, but they are simply saying on the basis of cows, keepers and nanny, is that this vision of segregation is kind of bad faith and that Louisville does not have a public security interests. I mean again I'm trying to the opinion that do my view. They say that, like segregated schools or segregated train cars, have some public safety benefit or you're trying to prevent messaging nation ass, a that's fine according to them, but keeping black neighbours out. They say is not a legitimate and their property rights need to try. I'm fear something. That's it. That's important is that in these sort of law,
universe, I don't suppose do, but the tradition is to see this case as an example of bad property rights, jurisprudence that this is part of the pre progressive, reactionary Supreme Court doesn't allow business regulation and, if you- say that this is an example of the Supreme Court doing something good, the kind of at least like conventional, progressive, too is that that's wrong, and it is later Euclid case is good, that this is the Supreme Court, embracing regulation and modernism. But part of the gimmick of the type maturity and right is that, at least at the time. I don't think people understood how this historiographer was going to develop an at a minimum. I'm sure Mr Worley was
probably glad that this report, let him by the house and move into this block, and we see that at least at this point in time there was less residential segregation. Then there came to be later on and one of the things that I think is interesting with these cases, because often, I think people think about civil rights cases, as coming into being, because you know someone who finally get sped up and they decide to sue- but like William Warley is like an attorney for then doubly cp. In this light, clearly, a planned enterprise they ve entered into- and often we learn about this- There is just like Rosa Parks, which just really tired, and she decided not to get up that dates like now. There's a plan, civil rights action that was leading towards crew, in case law that would eventually change the fundamentals there, but cut him more on the property rights thing. I think is very obvious here that they are not really I too way and on this question of what rights black people harvest, because the organs itself, while it says that you know a black person cannot be.
I a home on the street that has eight out of ten it is our own by white people. It also says that why people cannot own homes or by homes on a street that has ETA tat black people so visually its couch in this language of race, tragedy and from a perspective of people, who are, you know, probably lying themselves at some level, but like clearly are in the language talking about segregation like it is some sort of public good and talking about how there is raise, mixing, there's going to be the sort of necessary violence. That's going to occur from ouch, lynching or other kinds of mobs or rights. Are things like that and it's interesting to because the conception of property rights comes out of this decision, which is that you know property is more than just like what someone owns it's like includes the abyss to acquire it to sell it to use it, how you want to do when we think about moving to the twenty first century? How people think about property rights? Now very much so like you or not.
loud to build like an eighty, you on your property and most of America. Your knowledge, like turn your home into several apartments, or anything like that. But what this case is saying is that, of course, you should be allowed that? And I think it's really interesting, the evolution of like what we think of when we say someone owns a home has changed drastically from what the Supreme Court, saying now, what they end up saying much later on the thing wouldn't know is while its true that, like the jurisprudential history of this, is not a civil rights history like a what Jerusalem sings important right like at the time impact lily There's the underbelly cp understood that this was a way in which they could get the Supreme Court to embrace a civil rights agenda, which is important because it indicates that there are people who are so heavy enough to understand the civil or its implications of the jurisprudence, the court makes which is going to be super relevant when we get to the second ruling we're talking about. But the other thing I would say is that it is in one important respect: remedy.
of the way we have talked about racism in the civil rights and post civil rights era, because the phrasing that the court uses is that the way they characterized Louisville ordinance is that it based on a feeling race hostility and that that is unacceptable as a sufficient basis for a law. and that really sounds very similar to the modern. Post, civil rights, kind of mainstream or normie understanding of racism, which is that it's a feeling of Rachel Animus and it obviously an This is not a sufficient reason for a law by debt once it's something that is not about the feelings of individual people once it's part of a rationalized process. To use. You know some of the language of progressive reformers of the time then you're sides the whole idea of feeling of racial hostility, which creates an opportunity.
space when you're using language, that is that limited in scope. I think that's absolutely right. It's interesting that you know this is part of a litigation strategy, because eventually, obviously where this of words moving wants to go on forty fifty years after this is into a lot of regulation of private businesses wearing. This is like the main point of the sixty force of rights. Act really is to say that hotels and restaurants and other private businesses can't maintain segregation policies. We have a lot of employment discrimination law over the past fifty sixty years, but at this time there arguing on this sort of different terrain. Right in which a strong property rights argument serves their purposes and you see the adjusted it's a unanimous opinion which I think is worth underscoring
Is it matters sort of how this goes? I mean the whole case was set up to have it be a white plaintiff and it is very much a written as a decision that look. It's the white homeowners rights have been violated here. I think that was how the litigators thought they were most likely to win the case. They were cognizant of sort of civil rights benefits that they hoped would flow from it and the justices. You know that great pains to distinguish them from other things that have gone by, and this is what this whole era that I think we don't talk about that much in can. Embrace society should have between this case and brow, on which the into Blasi P and other plaintives bring a lot of civil rights cases that don't question the sort of policy precedent there's one I was reading about, where congressmen from Chicago he's gotta
class train ticket, I think from Chicago to New Orleans and when the train reaches Kentucky or someplace in the south. They like kick him out of the first class car because he has to go to the colored car, and so he sues- and he says well, look like didn't, have a first class car or for black people, and so they are now upholding the sort of tenets of separate unequal dislike years and years of litigation is not a practical solution to the problem of somebody on a train, but he wins the case, ultimately, that the railroad essentially can't maintained segregation in the first class passenger car because it would not be economical to have two of them on every single plain
so he continues to build up this kind of universe in which you chip away at some of the forms of Jim Crow, while leaving intact a lot of de facto segregation, either through restrictive covenants, which I think most people have heard a little bit about today, but also they have. Other case village of Euclid be Amber, Realty Company, which is a similar property rights. Question right. It's like! Can you tell the Emerald De Company that they can build apartment buildings in the suburbs of England, and this report is already said, look you can't say: will you can't sell the house to a black person, but the court basically agree is that, like apartment buildings are so tat about that. You absolutely do have a rational basis for saying you have to exclude them in it. Point in the decision they like call multi family housing like parasite? It's like very weird in some ways:
but this is just ten years later, nine ten years later, they step away from the kind of hard edged pro property rights view, but they open up the door to a lot of pretexts to regulate, and one thing that's important to underline- that what happens after Buchanan is that the desire for segregation does not go away this, because these governments are not able to have explicit racial soda clause. Some places like in Atlanta friend, since they used to have like a white, resented district and call residential too explicitly in the zoning owed and then it is renamed. Those are one and our two and I keep going like nothing really changes. But, more importantly, a lot of this starts moving towards private actors, who think is actually really important development and, if it had say, I think, would be living in a different world, because thousand Schwarzer is someone who worked a lot on these issues and she's an economist catch pitch one of the things that talks about it. Just that private actors break up.
A certain level of profit incentive right. So if you have a black person offering you fifty thousand dollars over asking price to break the racial governing your neighborhood, you probably to take that deal because it does. The state is gonna block you. It requires one of your neighbors to actually sue you and then win that suit, and then you know go to all the trouble of that entails and you don't have to as the White Property owner deal with any of the racist violence that black family might face. If they movements that name
I took the Costa Neves actually not really that high often and what we see happening when it moves to private space is theirs, obviously, still a ton of racial discrimination from realtors from landlords from white property owners who don't wanna critical ruin their neighbourhood by allowing the kinds of people in, and they feel bad about doing that to their fellow white neighbours. By at a certain level. You do see color line beginning to shift as black people are able to move in and what shirts or finds that end up paying like an extremely high premium. To buy these houses, it they're moving into racially segregated areas, but you know, I think, what s interesting about what happened to the Euclid is that it reinforces away and creates tools for its return to government control, which makes it a lot harder to break segregation
later on when it's the government doing it verses. When you have private actors who at some level will be subject to some desire to make a bunch of money as they can re, I definitely think it's worth highlighting Jerusalem, your first point about lake. It never goes away, it's not leg. Buchanan drops and governments all across the south are like well done. I guess we can't segregate neighborhoods anymore, we'll just have to like Sue and try to get this reversed in twiddle our thumbs. In the meantime, the other thing that happens is that, because they have to like invent these other ways of doing it becomes a little more integrated in the planning process along a trajectory. The dislike, pretty Millie you're to people who are broadly familiar with, like the difference between de facto into jury, segregation and the essence of like northern hypocrisy in the mid twentieth century did a lot of professionalized urban plan or types start becoming
the mechanisms via which cities can create a process that is going to result in residential segregation, but that doesn't run them a foul of the debate. courts law- and so this is one of those where, even though, We talk about Jim Crow. We are talking about us other institution, there's no way of getting around the fact that the progressive movement was kind of from the guinea enmeshed in this project. Preserving higher quality neighborhoods by keeping black people out yet showed? Let's take a break it, and I want to talk about that kind of evolution repeated what stuff curry was reading. Would you want to do that?
what about mullah you, suicide or Susan Army? What, if you could even discuss the books with these luminaries and hear their thoughts and reactions to these books? Listen has been very little innovation in the book up space, but literati is a new kind of club. You can decide whose book club you want to join, but your grandson, racks and Gay Jasmine Ward. They all have but clubs of literati. These authors, leaders and activists sparkle, lively conversations in twelve unique about clubs with readers around the world, the host exclusive interviews with the authors
You can even ask some questions directly plus, like every book called member can get prices that are so cheap at a vote. Or are you libraries that the steep discounts they look like cliff hangers? So we did there it's a great way to discover underrepresented authors truly compelling books. You might have missed and new perspectives that are going to wine Europe world. We imagine what a book club can be redeem. Your free trial, literati, dot com, slash the weeds head to literati, dot com, slash the reeds to learn more and we mark with literati. it feels like you, don't even of hours in the day to get everything done, might because you're missing out on three of them were those to me. I was up how he fell into a deep, dark abyss that opens up amongst which, between workers at those
we hours to all the productive time we miss out on thanks to at home distractions, disorganization fatigue. It's no wonder the days future work should work with clear up. It does look up as a flexible productivity platform, the wings or you work at one place. That's all you chats apps docks and ass one centralized place like Michigan from companies like Goober Google, you cook up to make the days more per managed projects, people and goals more effectively, but for teams of all sizes industries cook up to pleasingly fast feature. One thousand plus integrations must have for anyone wanting to track, manage and tackle their work in one place. You're always back with clear up trade free today took up the dot com, slash weeds. So one thing that's interesting to me about All of this is that the village of Euclid decision, which is obviously not like Germany, is not the only tool that
used to maintain de facto segregation and kill for a lot of historiographer sort of treats this decision, giving the go ahead Just single families. Zoning as part of a broader tradition of the Supreme Court, turning away from hard edged property rights jurisprudence and stepping into the sunshine of what would become the new deal era re. But when you look at the ground level history. Of what happens after they give the sums up. The zoning there's a great article called the racial origins of american zoning by silver, and he talks about things like Charleston South Carolina. They want in the twenty years to shore up segregation in the city, and so they hire a planning. Could Sultan Morris Knolls from Pittsburgh to help them draw up? As owning Boardman said, you know, as do all city planner
when zoning first comes in and they have a variety of different objectives like maintaining segregations, not the only thing that they are trying to do in Charleston, but it is one of the things that they are trying to do, when the same is true in Atlanta Birmingham, hired a city planner from Boston I saw Northern sort of progressive technocrats go south to consult? With Southern said he is on how to create legally defensible segregation regimes and then, as great migration, dynamic start happening. The knowledge is re imported into northern cities in New York, Regional zoning code was mostly driven by store owners. We're trying to maintain, but Fifth avenue was like a nice place for shopping. It was a EAST discrimination element. But you know these same things start coming into play. And shares our who Jerusalem mentioned. Has a study of the evolution of zoning in Chicago
go you know when she shows if they move undesirable, uses that Jason to the areas where black families are living, and they also try to make it difficult for by families to move into the white areas, and you have this overlapping wedge things. You know People fear irregular violence from their neighbors. They have challenges with discrimination for real estate operators. There are covenants, but this is all back stopped by the sort of basic reality that glitters is booming: population migrating, north and there's money to be made throng up apartment buildings to rent to the people who were moving the Chicago. There are big parts of the city where you can build an apartment building not exclusively because you're trying to keep by people out, but certainly in part. For that reason, because of all
technical expertise. That's developed the ninety twenties of how to do this in ways that will hold up a court. I think was really interesting about the Euclid case too, that I find essentially that the city is allowed to tell this really company that it cannot build the types of things at once to build an often, I think, people. talk about zoning as something that is preserving land values. Making sure that you're like doing something that is going to increase profits for the property owner would actually ends up happening right. Is that at least the reality company alleges that, with their original use case, the land value is at thousand dollars an acre, but if you forced them just to use it for residential purposes and the weight of the city wants, it goes down to twenty five hundred dollars an acre, and I This is something I think is like not intuitive to other people, but the value the land changes substantially. When you tell people that you can't zone specific things on its like, if you're, only waterfront property- and you tell people- you only have one home for every you know three acres, you can make a lot less money doing that that if you have even a bunch of home
x to each other or single dummy homes, and you could render to a bunch different people and is not just about the prophet incentive for the developer. That matters, but has also just general increase in welfare there's, a lot more people that can enjoy that waterfront and can enjoy what's going on there, and so I think that, like understanding zoning as being of tool with which people are actively regulating value of the land itself is really important. Talking about zoning issues today, where people are often concerned that, oh, if you up zone, if you take the current zoning regime and has the potential to make things denser and obviously going to reduce property prices, there's a bunch of reach That's now showing that, in many contacts, if you actually up zone, you increase the ability for people to make money off their land, because you are saying there's a higher value case that could exist in that space and then, of course, Matt mentioned about disk
action against apart in buildings and particular heading which really interesting here, is something that I think is still a strain of thought right now. Is this inability to kind of distinguish between crowding and density? So there's a bunch of problems that are actually happening along these cities, where, like you, have overcrowded areas, predominantly populated by southern black, to have moved into these bases and also for generation immigrants and because there's a problem of poverty. People are crowding in together in order to afford to live in these cities or in these places that they want to live near jobs or whatever. And of course it becomes a lot of people. Overcrowding and with also the city failing to provide basic things like sanitation or other public services, and what gets linked in people's minds it is really important here is that it becomes a link not through poverty or to the fact that you're not providing necessary public works, but that it is density in particular that is a nuisance, and it is a problem and then he should be separated and it's taken as just fact. Throughout his opinion, Euclid, not apartments are a nuisance identity as a problem that, of course no one could ever disagree with it.
Did you hear that living multi family housing is just a horrible death of iniquity? I guess it's worth quoting the like exact rhetoric that they use in the Euclid case they say, with particular reference to apartment houses. Its pointed out that the development of detached house sections is greatly retarded by the coming of apartment says which is sometimes result in destroying the entire section for private house purposes. Then such sections very often the apartment house, is a mere parasite constructed, nor did take advantage of the open spaces and attractive surroundings created by the residential Character of the district sitting really have in this interesting way. We ve moved out of the racial zoning case into this kind of peace Discrimination in the base of the building form, but its disliking, credible, like visceral disdain for people who might live in a party of buildings, which I guess, if you wanted generously construe, that is lacking. Any kind of
or ethnic subtext. That's fine, but look. It only makes it weird, honestly that it's like parasites becoming into your neighborhood because they live in like a three story. Building with six units are something it's weird, but even at a time when there was enough commitment to property rights that they were like, despite the incredible levels of racism that were present in American cited quite overtly. At that time they will. I know you can't just have a rule. This is no black. People can move into the block, but their nine years later there like holy shit apartment buildings like we gotta, put a stop to that red. Like did these awful parasites, that's no like bake deep into the cake of american
land. He swayed that like in the way, there's a kind of presumption that, like I can't just have like toxic gas spewing everywhere that it's like an apartment building. That's like a pretty special kind of ask here, and cities need to defend themselves against them yeah. I think there are a few ways and, like it's worth kind of pulling back the curtain a little bit and showing how this is. Never all that far from experts racism and from perpetuating what Jerusalem, the first segment of like the Atlanta system just removing things and hoping that everything all right. The first is that you can draw direct line from this kind of fear density in its own right and assuming, density is the problem rather than crowding too
urban renewal in the mid twentieth century right where there is the same kind of assumption that if you just get rid of the bad housing that people will move- and it does not create any need for the government to play those people in better situations or even to Lake, provide opportunities for them to be in better situations. Their obligation ends when they ve gotten rid of the kind of festering den of iniquity, which of course implies that its people's own fault for wanting to live in such had placed to begin with and perpetuates culture of poverty stuff. The other thing that I think is really important is that, while we talk about the relationship between zoning and preservation of property values in a lot of since this isn't a regime based on who can own the poverty its regime based on who can live on the pattern, and you can actually you know- or factually imagine in which the zoning happens,
in ways that prevent white homeowners from renting two black renters and therefore ends up meaning that black city residents are more likely to own homes. But that's not what happens when you instead have is a world where the wealth. still accruing to the white people who have moved out and who have subsequently rented their homes to the black people. Moving in which kind of the lie to the there goes the neighborhood the anti racist rhetoric of the mid twentieth century that it's not that people are themselves unwilling to live near black people, it's just that they don't want to reduce them the value of their own homes because of their home, buyers are going to be racist, and it also who ends up becoming a pretty big wedge between black and white homeownership rates, which of course ends up becoming a thing at the end of the twentieth, beginning of the twenty first century. When that's one of the arguments that sub prime mortgage lenders are using to just five hawking black family,
into terrible mortgage deals. I think one thing: that's really important to point out that I think it's not help bull, often think about her learn. History is just that you couldn't Joining in particular is actually extremely impact, full the shirts or as some inventions. She is a paper that that mentioned about Chicago and before you could happens before you how this kind of citywide zoning laws you have a lot of mixed use. Going on, you have people living in residential districts with it also industrial uses in there's, also commercial users, so, like p, living. These have two neighborhoods. It are pretty common and other places in the world, and there are clear harms here that the progressive do article eight rhetoric is not great to have some kind of like environmental pollutants. Next to a place where children are growing up at a young age, and I think we really important about that. Is that- and I think it's probably like a lesson that allowed people to take today as well as that, when you designing policies about things that you think are legit
problems. You also to think about how that policy tools going to be used by people who are bad people or how they can be used by people. You think, are not actively on your side and while these browsers, like Matt, mentioned or directly working to be a part of the project of segregation, a lot of people, There were just specifically using zoning, at least, as they first imagined it, to separate these types of uses and were not, I think, fully thinking out through the implications of what would occur when you created this tool that could be useful segregation and I think what's important here is that before all these zoning laws- and we see a sharp increase in segregation in the early 20th century before that in many cities, you had black people living in almost every single neighborhood there's like measures at like in Baltimore and every single neighborhood. You had blocked American. This is pretty great migration and that a lot of what occurred as the great migration and ass zoning laws get implemented, especially at this city wide level is that you see segregation actually being put into place by these kinds of policies that they allow times. People think about American here
they assume segregation is happening, the entire time, both segregation of like residential verse, com, showed an industrial and also segregation terms of race, but that's actually not true, and not what was going on for a lot of our history, yeah trees on Login and John Parma, and have a study looking at old senses records. They can turn a very deep hell level that the amount of segregation roughly doubles between nineteen hundred Nike forty, you know relatively late in the game and they also show that it happen. in the north and the south in rural areas and in urban once there is a kind of historical urban legend that segregation was the outcome of urbanization, that sort of there had been integrated pest. And in the countryside double moved into the cities, and there was a kind of segregation of the dwellings. But that's apparently not true. When you look at the kind of block level, I think to what Jerusalem was saying, though I think the point is that the originators of
The pro zoning jurists, their idea was it was important to allow locality, is to use zoning to protect people from harms. And so then people have different ideas about what harms our and it is true that one harm is smoke from a factory but like the idea of the harm, is left up to the discretion of these planing commissions and people had a very good faith like not true but like Jenny, we felt view that living near people of a different race, and especially living near people who live in apartment buildings, was a harm to them. And we see that legacy carried forward today. I was on a plan with a guy like a real, like Texas, business guy, with a cowboy hat and everything, and he asked me what I was doing and I said I was going to do a talk on land use policy
You know. I am sceptical of regulation, you said son, you know you have come to you did some day, I could put a nickel smelting plan right across the street from a school and no one could stop me. It doesn't really true. But what is true is that use has unusually lacks land use regime for the United States by Houston, nonetheless, has a very extensive mandatory parking requirements weight, because the view is that if I build a building- and it doesn't include off street parking- that's gonna me and other people, my part on the street, where you already live, so you were being harmed by my apartment, building in much the way that you might be harmed by a nickel smelting plant or another environmental toxins, and that's not- I don't like if you ve ever park, aren't street. It's like it's not false that there is a certain harm to you of other
people also trying to park on the street, but if you're thinking about environmental policy and like a macro aware, a right like regulating extra parking is not a pro environmental policy. Right like a party buildings? Are more energy efficient, the less parking you have the better it is? You have more people walking using transit bicycle and you don't need to use like coercion. Deathlike force people out of their cars. You can just let things sort of fall where they may, but the paradigm, the Djinn shrined by Euclid, is that you can sown out harms and that the locality gets to decide basin fairly piquet on considerations like what nature of the harm is right, rather than a more centralized definition of like what the harms are. So like I dont want. These
kids going to my kids school. That is a harm that people in effect zone against. I dont, want to be harder to get a parking. Space is a harm, but from like the social standpoint, gets not bad for people to attend integrated schools. It's not bad for people to ride the bus. Things like that, and so we get kind of conflict. We should take another break there once upon a time there lived a princess, colder Panza belong, I want you know anyway. She was stuck in a tower waiting for prints to come safer, but really
it's time for that she ordered a ladder with prime one day. Delivery started a hairdresser empire. Obviously, thank you. The current approach, which is coming here by the right and the Prince Biogas reply, but changed everything today, MRS Aubert's bringing up, because we have the reforms in this regard, coming in big cities and sort of push
back again single families. Zoning- and that is very you know, there's a classic, libertarian critique of zoning and work done by Glaser other brighter centre people on this subject. It is the red states that tend to have lack sir land use regimes, but am in Jerusalem. I know you covered alarmed that sort of Bristol Justice considerations. I think, have motivated alot of people in blue states in blue cities to rethink some of this, and I do think historically, at least like that is correct. That's like the right way to look at the origin of these systems potentially good reason to look at revising them, are pulling down. I think it's just pulling on the threat that you ended with last administers idea like what happened with nuisances and what happens since law in general, and I think that the existence of this kind case law leads to like absolutely absurd behaviour over the story. Well, about how essentially there city maple would Missouri, where
essentially said that you have to have like an occupancy permit in order to live in that place and if you don't hear islet like rain or own anything within the city limits and another ordains, which basically was like this nuisance ordinance, which basically qualify calling nine one one, if you are a woman who is experiencing domestic violence, also is a nuisance. And so you have people who were experiencing veggie violence, calling the police and you would get your occupancy permit revoked and you would essentially be kicked out of town. You are now, I'd live, not place legally and there's a lot of this being documented, I mean not Desmond, looks at best in constant- and you know he has an absolute zero sorted. He finds where basically the converse Jane with nuisance is between the property owner and the city and the state. So what s happening is that the police contact them Gordon say: hey. Your tenant keeps calling the cops, because she has an abusive partner, huge figure make the stop or you'll have to victory and the landlord replies.
in e mail to the city official yeah. I advised her to get a gun and shoot him. She hasn't. So I'm going to a victor, and so when you have these types of nuisance laws this idea that, like nuisances or Asia, could bother essentially upper middle class white homeowners. That includes anything from I hear someone else is expire. using abuse to as Matt points out parking lots, and I think that a lot of these things are unaware. And did consequences of illegal regime that prioritizes thee like irritations of wealthy and connected homer, hers over general social welfare and as as I mentioned, your seeing a lot of this change be pushed by this hope for racial, just as has happened in Minneapolis Regimes California, you're saying this in Connecticut and other states across the country
we see that Council economic Advisory, the White House in that department has an urban development catch a lot of this language in racial justice, language and its very clearly correct. When you look at the historiographer that this is a massive social justice but because it's become so encoded in how we view property rights. Its now a class issue, its now agenda rights issue when you're looking at what's happening to victims of domestic violence. It is vital to the point where there are so many ways to criminalize behaviour, to the point where the state has potentially reasonable justification for zoning out that nuisance yeah, I mean I've water critique, the idea of unintended consequences a little bit because it something that I was thinking a lot about in pressing for this episode because, like if you look at the Map history of decades before this rights at the Supreme Court, said you can't do explore Rachel Segregation, but you can do facial neutral things that achieved the same ends and a bunch of jurisdiction said great will do just that like it casts what happens after the passage of this
Rights ACT in a different light rate, because it means that we're not discovering for the first I'm the visually neutral, was as a successor to explicitly racist laws can perpetuate the exact same inequities like that is something that could have been visible at that point, and so it I think, the further back we go time machine the harder it is do not play a hindsight game. I struggled with that with this so just like. I struggled with it with the last episode, but it at a certain point worth pointing out that, like the facts on the ground were there at the time, and so what got strategically ignored and why a sum Things were being made on the part of the laws proponents that the tools they were creating would be used in good faith are worth interrogating. The other things think is important, is like yeah. Ok, the specific consequences any given nuisance. Ordinance might not be foreseeable at the time because you haven't created the ordinance yet, but its generally true that he gets to decide, is an employee
question of all public policy. Like you were saying you know early Jerusalem, that kind of is incumbent on policy makers to think about. What would this tool look like when wielded by people, whose idea of the good or idea of what is a nuisance or whatever doesn't gibe with nine. The problem is that, especially at the local level, it's really hard to abstract the policy process. To that degree is so often the things happen, because of a very Committee aid group of cities, who are absolutely convinced that a their problem is the most important problem, be their proposed solution will solve it. The two abstracted not just to the level of like how can we do to keep it various stakeholders, which is often the process by which policy gets made, but also? How can we future proof this so that it doesn't create massively skating, unintended consequences for people whose definition of the good is
front from ours like there is a certain extent to which that's a difficult thing to do, but it also is a reason standard to hold policymakers to what I am on the subject of unintended consequences, a few months ago I was Morgana peace, and I was ready dimension of handedly that the postwar to crack down on roaming houses in which widows are empty, nesters, would like rent out spare rooms in their place. I was going to say that this had these like Dyer uninjured consequences in increasing homelessness buddy, American, citing planning officials has done this really nice thing tat, they should probably actually undue witches. They post, like they're all documents up on their website and their invite.
Billy horrifying, and they have this nineteen. Fifty seven were poor. Unlike why city should crackdown on roaming houses, I think intellectuals like unintended consequences stories, and so I had this idea that it was like well, these were supposed to make live conditions better for the people living in the booming houses, but it had the unintended consequence of pushing be bought the streets actually just say: look many rooms a real down in our waters and the atmosphere of. Roominghouse in which they predominate is likely to be bleak and that Hundreds of zoning ordinances have loopholes that permit group living arrangements, and so they were just like encouraging cities to get rid of these down. An outer is because they were just like people and you should get rid of them and if you dont have them living in your town, you're towns, we better off and given the sense in which that's true right to Darras point about who decides for some definition of down in powders,
if you have some down and elders living in your town, that creates a challenge for yourself a service provision verses, if you have a rule that says that, like only rich people can live in your town, that makes life a lot easier for. Like you, too Hers and your school principles, the cops have less to do like you, anyone, we can solve a localised problem by criminalizing poverty. The com is it like America can't solve poverty by having the country say: oh no, you're not allowed to be down and out here right, the doubters go someplace else. They go to what we now have is like tent encampments in parks in a lot of american city is an that's much worse right, like the intended consequence of empowering localities to sort of push out,
undesirable people is to create a much more intense form of the problem where people are on the streets rather than an roominghouse is a more concentrated version. Were there in a handful jurisdictions rather spread around and were also which is like it so much harder You know Senor down and out right, but, like you want to get back on your feet into well, if we're leaving, Roominghouse, it's like ok, it's crowded like you would like to live someplace else, but you still haven't dress you can wash you know. You can go, get a job which is very challenging. If your homeless, too, like move into a better set of circumstances, you can't accumulate any possessions, it's really bad and it comes from empowering the wrong groups of people to make decisions. Neck is a bad people right, but because they have a parochial perspective, like the town Planning Department is not interested in the nation wide impacts
of these iterative policy decisions, but it's not a good system that we have created just sort of say that we have such weak property rights over housing and that determinations about who can live where and what build should be made on the basis of these very localised considerations. But what I mean
sure about knowing the history known, the reality is like how much should we emphasize the racial dimension of this first class? Because I mean one thing: people say as I look. Nobody saying that, like Cliff Huxtable, can move into your neighborhood with like his wealthy family, and it's like it happens to be the case that not many by people are that both the, but you know so much the better verses. Like I don't know it seems bad. It certainly has a disparate impact. It is facial we raise neutral by law for over a hundred years, and I keep like flipping back and forth. I'm like what what good does it do to excavate this history? I think there are a couple of things here. So one is this question of what is the role of persuasion in a policy context like this, where the Paul
super salient to a small group of people and like Super unknown, like the vast majority of Americans at the like it actually like matters- and you know you have contacts liking. California, words a lot more salient as it becomes a much bigger problem, because property prices, it ran, suggested rising to a point where even rich people are having trouble affording basic things. So that feels to be that that changes things. But I think I'll also to say here that what matters less is persuasion and countries of this and more what matters is changing aware. Levers of power exists because, even if you have a should right, where, like every individual person at the local level with equally and power to have
say it: zoning visions, a there, are more homeowners and there are renters in the country and exact. Sixty three percent of people are homeowners. Verse, like forty seven percent, are renters and be. I think people have internalize law, this Newton stuff without realising the biggest impact of zoning laws, which is like decreasing housing supply and it's a complicated economic storytelling, normal people, who I don't care- and I shouldn't have a care about to stop and should not to like know all this kind of stuff to have like housing provided to them. And so I think, what's more important here is that you actually ensure that the structural disadvantage when you create a system air its, whether or not you shop to his only meeting and talk about these issues is how you get your preference is met, is what's gonna happen here, because, as men like yeah, you are solving a localised problem by getting rich This new sense, but you can't do that across Amerika and what's happened, is that all the powers
make sure that were actually solving homelessness and not just like getting rid of homeless people in one part of LOS Angeles is the LOS Angeles level, but the people that it harms are at the California level and at the United States of America level, but there's very few things right now that policymakers find feasible to actually do at the state. Why level or the? U S level. So I think there's a lot of energy. shins about like what role persuasion place here. I think you know we ve seen in Minneapolis into the suburbs here that racial just arguments have led to a change in the zone in code. But you know after Minneapolis has balancing openly zoning. We haven't seen a bunch of like perplexes rise because they're, a bunch of other ordinances that are making it hard to build these types of things. So I think, when you have this kind of one off persuasion can and it can be really good at censuring the harm. That's happened and, of course, on top of that also making a policy change that affect people's lives, but at the end of it
Say you can't have is like one by one: ok, let's get rid of this building code and make sure that setbacks aren't absurd and height limits aren't crazy, unlike removing that one by one is going to be a laborious process, verses, making sure that states or regions have the power to just say like ok, I don't care how you do it. You are responsible for excellence of housing units being produced in your area over why a number of years- and I think that- really the only six year and persuasions cannot play a huge role at the individual level, but it might play some role at the official level or at. I think that's well said, happy to leave it at that. So thank you. So much Jerusalem, joining us thanks to everybody out there in the listening world for joy, Thus, on this time, machine adventure, I hope that we will have some future opportunities to use this. Now that we have developed a time travelling technology, it seems like a shame to never use it again. Thanks is always to sponsors to our producer economic costs and which in fact
on Friday,
Transcript generated on 2021-08-02.