How Can We Legalize Cities? - with Brooke Fallon & Randal O'Toole

In episode 10 of the Market Urbanism Podcast, we talk about the vast legality and regulation that grips U.S. cities, and how it can be loosened. In segment 1 we speak with Randal O'Toole, of the Cato Institute, about the "disparate impact" clause in federal housing policy, and how it could be used to make a legal case against zoning. In segment 2 we speak with Brooke Fallon, of the Institute for Justice, about her efforts to weaken state occupational licensing laws.

0:49 Scott Beyer starts his editorial on the ever-present legalese that grips U.S. cities, and asks the hosts what they think is the most egregious example

2:15 Martha Ekdahl says density zoning

2:59 Antonio Grana says anti-charter school regulation

4:01 Sergio Rodrigues says regulations that force car reliance

6:17 Beyer describes how the "disparate impact" argument could build a legal case against zoning

10:18 start of interview with Randal O'Toole

15:40 Beyer asks O'Toole what political coalition is needed to bring zoning before the courts

18:12 O'Toole describes the sort of plaintiff needed for such a case:

In the Bay Area, the number of blacks living in the region has been steadily declining - they've been forced out by high housing prices. The number of native Hawaiians who live in Honolulu has been declining - they've been forced to the other islands...So the important thing legally is to find a member of a minority group that is being impacted by these rules, and use them as a plaintiff.

18:56 Ekdahl challenges O'Toole on whether sprawl housing and infrastructure is really the wisest way to grow

21:42 Grana notes that loosening anti-density regs, and not just anti-sprawl regs, would be an act of liberalization

26:30 write-in question from David Van Balen about whether cities should be designed for walking rather than the automobile

31:19 start of interview with Brooke Fallon

33:40 Fallon describes the growth of occupational licensing

Just to give you a sense of how much things have grown, in 1950 about 1 in 20 people needed occupational licensing to go through their career. And now that number is 1 in 4. And we find that this really disproportionately affects lower-income people, and prevents them from entering professional occupations.

36:04 Ekdahl asks Fallon about the intersection of occupational licensing and zoning

40:54 Beyer asks Fallon if Institute for Justice will start to litigate against zoning

42:24 call-in question from Ethan Finlan about occupational licensing in Massachusetts

43:25 hosts respond to interviews