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The Road to Euclid v. Ambler: City Planning, State-Building, and the Changing Scope of the Police Power

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 April 1999

Florida International University


“We must reckon first with the fact that Americans take for granted their right to do on their own property anything they please regardless of their neighbors,” Edward Bassett told his compatriots in the New York City zoning movement in 1913.Appended Report, Zoning and Districting, Minutes of the Heights of Buildings Commission, June 9, 1913, Heights of Buildings Commission, New York City Municipal Archives, Box 2507. Bassett, who has come to be known as the father of zoning, captured the thoughts of many planning advocates when he criticized the legal system for giving real estate owners almost total control over the use of their property. American cities would remain ugly, disorderly, and inefficient, Bassett and other aspiring planners feared, because the law did not adequately permit municipal authorities to regulate the use of private property.

Research Article
1999 Cambridge University Press

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