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32 URB. LAW. 391 (2000)


Our Topic—"The City in the Twenty-first Century"—is truly daunting. In preparing my remarks, I took some solace from the realization that a seminar that I have taught several times has forced me to contemplate how municipal affairs evolve over the centuries. I have named the seminar Urban Legal History: The Development of New Haven. As this title suggests, its focus is on the regulation of the physical development, since its founding in 1638, of the Connecticut city in which my law school is located. The seminar has proven to be exceedingly popular with law students. It enables them to study legal issues in context. Local libraries, historical societies, and government offices all contain primary materials for the seminar's students to excavate. Facing an audience of law professors who teach courses in urban government, I recommend that each of you consider offering a seminar on the legal history of your law school's municipality. Lynn Baker, for example, could present one on Austin; Bill Buzbee, on Atlanta; and Georgette Poindexter, on Philadelphia. Because New York City is so large, Richard Briffault's ambitions might have to be restricted to Morningside Heights, and Clay Gillette's to Greenwich Village.

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