Law 165 - Land Use, Planning, and Local Politics: The Past and Future of the American City

Jonathan M. Zasloff

Jonathan M. Zasloff

Professor of Law
B.A. Yale, 1987
J.D. Yale, 1993
M.Phil. International Relations, Cambridge, 1988
M.A. History, Harvard, 1990
Ph.D. Harvard, 2000
UCLA Law faculty since 1998
Course Description:

This MLI class will consider the politics and history of the planning of American cities, in particular by focusing on the career of America’s most (in)famous planner: Robert Moses. At mid-century, Moses was hailed as the “Master Builder” who established hundreds of parks, thousands of acres of parkland, parkways, roads, and bridges. In 1974, Robert Caro won the Pulitzer Prize for The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York, which argued that Moses had destroyed New York City and many of its low-income communities and ignored the people whom he claimed to serve. More recently, historians have re-re-considered Moses’ career, and offered revisions of the revisions. Moses uses the levers of politics to assemble vast power, of a kind no local or state official had achieved before or since: much of modern planning law essentially attempts to ensure that no one like Moses can ever arise again. This course will focus on sections of The Power Broker and the recent revision, as well as film accounts of his attempts to build expressways throughout New York City.
This MLI is appropriate for anyone interested in planning, local government, American politics, and the future of US cities.

Course Learning Outcomes:

The specific course goals are an understanding of how politics works, specifically how different people and agencies can gain power to achieve their goals.