17 Va. J. Soc. Pol'y & L. 373 (2009-2010)
Enabling Urban Sprawl: Revisiting the Supreme Court's Seminal Zoning Decision Euclid v. Ambler in the 21st Century

handle is hein.journals/vajsplw17 and id is 377 raw text is: ENABLING URBAN SPRAWL: REVISITING THE SUPREME
COURT'S SEMINAL ZONING DECISION EUCLID V AMBLER IN
THE 21 ST CENTURY
Wayne Batchis*
ABSTRACT
Today, many urbanists look back at our built environment with
bemusement.    The  outcome    of  over fifty   years  of  post-war
suburbanization has fundamentally reshaped America's manmade
landscape. From coast to coast, amorphous urban sprawl envelops
America as far as the eye can see - and scholars have just begun to
struggle to understand its causes and assess its impact. In this article I
examine the phenomenon of urban sprawl and its relationship to
exclusionary zoning. I argue that the Supreme Court in 1926 played a
key role in enabling sprawl though its permissive zoning jurisprudence
in Euclid v. Ambler. Had the Court scrutinized America ' early zoning
laws with greater rigor, these     laws could   have  been   deemed
constitutionally suspect - effectively stopping sprawl in its tracks. I
conclude by exploring four significant flaws of the Euclid decision in
light of the modern epidemic of sprawl.
CONTENTS
A b stract ................................................................................................. 373
I. Introduction  ....................................................................................... 373
II. Sprawl -  Its Definition  and  Impact .................................................. 374
III. Exclusionary Zoning - A Foundation of Sprawl ............................ 379
IV. The  Constitution  of Sprawl ............................................................. 383
V. Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty - The Birth of Euclidean
Z on in g  ............................................................................................  387
V I. Euclid's  Four  Flaw s ........................................................................ 392
V II. C onclusion  .................................................................................... 402
I. INTRODUCTION
Today, many urbanists look back at our built environment with
bemusement. The      outcome   of  over fifty   years  of   post-war
suburbanization has fundamentally reshaped America's manmade
landscape. From coast to coast, amorphous urban sprawl envelops
America as far as the eye can see - and scholars have just begun to
struggle to understand its causes and assess its impact. An examination
of the Constitutional foundations of urban sprawl, specifically the
Supreme Court's role in enabling pernicious exclusionary zoning in
. Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Delaware; Ph.D. Johns
Hopkins University; J.D. University of Pennsylvania Law School.

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