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Apr 5, 2022Liked by Addison Del Mastro

I was TA in school for an economics class that read lots of court decisions. They twist themselves into logic pretzels all the time using fallacies, and get to a conclusion of complete nonsense. Not surprising to see they did it for zoning too. They're supposed to be logical geniuses and they lead off with basically "one apartment building implies many apartment buildings." Nice going, team.

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The extent to which the social attitudes of the day or even just of the majority of justices comes through is really kind of dispiriting

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Butler was the lone Catholic.

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Cool, thank you! I had not heard of him before until I looked up these cases to write this.

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Apr 6, 2022Liked by Addison Del Mastro

Urban planning and legal history - two of my favourite topics, blended into one tasty treat. I had been on the fence about subscribing to one more substack, but especially after this, I just couldn't resist any longer. You are doing extraordinary work. Thank you!

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Thank you!

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I would say the Euclid decision and the 1942 publication "The Little House" by Virginia Lee Burton were the foundational texts that seeded the American cultural ground with the (somewhat) unconscious notion that city = bad, country = good, which ultimately landed us in the exurban wasteland we now call home. https://www.amazon.com/Little-House-Board-Book/dp/0547131046

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"I don’t know what, exactly, the connection is, but it’s unsettling."

Zoning, eugenics, universal compulsory schooling, the Fed, modernism, total war, etc, etc—all of these ideas and institutions emerged during the Progressive Era. The zeitgeist of the day was *technocracy*: the great many should live according to a system wisely planned and capably managed by the elite few.

Brave New World was published near the end of this period, and is always worthy of a re-read.

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It's useful to understand zoning in a narrow way. Zoning should be understood as permissible land use as determined by zoning maps. There are many other local regulations nested within the codes which are not zoning per se, and many of these regulations are law in unzoned Houston.

The Euclid decision is evidence that Victorian social reformers won. The Supreme Court was enforcing the Victorian Dream. These reformers promoted an ideal family: a nuclear family free of interlopers (boarders, friends, or extended family). They also believed an ideal family thrived when the patriarch commuted into the city while the rest of the family was protected by a detached, single-family house in the suburbs. Furthermore, these ideal houses needed to be surrounded by other ideal houses. This end required a strict sorting of land use, and it was more coherent to extend the sorting operation to people.

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