Bernard H. Siegan, RIP


To me, the legal scholar Bernard Siegan's greatest claim to fame was writing Land Use Without Zoning, a classic study of Houston's zoning-free approach to land use planning. But he did a lot more than that, playing a pioneering role in rehabilitating the view that the Constitution should protect economic liberties. He died this week at age 81. Rest in peace.

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  1. Is that book worth reading?

  2. Yes MP, everything the guy wrote was worth reading. So, the rule of threes hits again; Weinburger, Knopfzinger, and Siegan. Three key Reaganites in the span of a week. Siegan was one of the first legal scholars to seriously question commerce clause jurisprudence and openly advocate going back to the Lockner standard.

  3. And speculative development in the Houston area was infamously behind the real estate crash of ’87.

    Great theory…


  4. JMJ,

    The risk of real estate speculation means we should have goverment regulation that is best implemented via zoning laws?

    Now there’s an interesting chain of logic…

  5. Actually, zoning takes all such criteria into consideration. Zoning, planning, whatever – you can’t just have people developing willy nilly.


  6. “you can’t just have people developing willy nilly”

    You never could develop willy nilly in Houston. A lot of development restrictions were part of the deeds. It is a different type of zoning in Houston, it’s not completely controlled from city hall like most other cities.

  7. JMJ, the first chapter of Land Use Without Zoning is about all the things that the typical zoning board hearing process does and doesn’t take into consideration. It’s worth reading.

  8. And speculative development in the Houston area was infamously behind the real estate crash of ’87

    Horror of horrors! Overpriced property becomes affordable for the poor and landless.

    Typical pro-rich-landowner “liberal”: “Oh, but I care about the poor!” Fuck you, you fucking liar.

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