A Legal Guide to Urban and Sustainable Development

for Planners, Developers and Architects


by Daniel K. Slone and Doris S. Goldstein (Wiley, 2008)



“This is the first book on legal aspects of New Urbanism and sustainable development, and it’s hard to imagine that anyone will soon surpass it. The book contains much that new urbanist planners, developers and architects need to know, all of it presented clearly in everyday English.…


Immensely practical, this guidebook is loaded with techniques that can enable New Urbanism to jump hurdles erected by the legal system, the political apparatus, and the day-to-day difficulties of community life. Each chapter stands on its own, and there are case studies and dozens of sidebars, so you can read the book from start to finish or you can jump in and out. This book is so informative that new urbanists will soon be asking themselves how they ever got along without it.”


--Philip Langdon (New Urban News, September 2008)

Table of Contents:


1. To Suburbia and Back: How Urbanist Law Is Different


2. Sustainable Urbanism

            (Case Study: Noisette)  


3. Tweaking the System: Getting Projects Built and Codes Changed within the Existing Zoning Framework


4. Changing the Rules: New Approaches to Zoning


5. Fiefdoms and Fire Trucks: Overcoming Impediments in the Subdivision, Plat-Review, and Site-Plan Processes


6. Retooling the Common-Interest Community

             (Case Study: Seaside)


7. Special Building Types


8. Litigation

               (Case Study: I’On)         


9. Federal Policy, Initiatives, and Alliances


10. Strategies for Change

Why we wrote the book. The book is a collaborative effort with Dan Slone, an attorney who represents developers, green businesses and municipalities around the world and who serves as national counsel for both the U.S. Green Building Council and the Congress for the New Urbanism. In a dialog that continues throughout the book, we share what we have each learned in our separate practices--and offer different perspectives--about overcoming the legal and political obstacles to building New Urban communities.


While the design issues have been covered in some other excellent books, this book is the first to discuss the various legal issues—which we have defined broadly—that are triggered by sustainable urban design. Much of this material appears in print for the first time.


Practical and experience-based, with more than 150 photographs and graphic illustrations, the book focuses on recognizing and overcoming the legal and political impediments to building urban, sustainable places. Written for non-lawyers, it includes, in addition to the main text, many sidebar discussions and real-world examples.


Andy Gowder contributed the chapter on litigation, and Andrés Duany graciously contributed the foreword. The book benefits particularly from a well-rounded discussion of zoning from the differing viewpoints of our remaining contributors: Chris Brewster, Chad Emerson, Matt Lawlor, Brian Ohm, Robert Sitkowski, Bill Spikowski and Mark White.

Please note: Doris Goldstein is licensed as an attorney only in Florida.