Rachelle Alterman

Technion - Israel Institute of Technology
Center for Urban and Regional Studies

Center for Urban and Regional Studies
Technioin IIT
alterman@technion.ac.il |  Visit Personal Website

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I am a planner and a lawyer. My research focuses on the interrelationships between urban planning policies and law, with an international comparative perspective. My extensive cross-national comparative research shows that land use planning law is almost universal today, yet there are major differences among jurisdictions on almost every aspect of land use law and policy. Few jurisdictions are happy with their current planning laws. My research is intended to create knowledge platforms for cross-national exchange and learning. See for example, my 2010 book, "Takings International: A Comparative Perspective on Land Use Regulations and Property Rights" and "National-level Planning in Democratic Countries: An International Comparison of City and Regional Policy Making." Current research: - Capturing the increment in property values caused by planning decisions (cross-national) - Conflicts over historic preservation of the built environment: law and policy (cross-national) - Property rights of farmers in advanced economy countries - Eminent domain (expropriation) from a cross-national perspective - Developer agreements – between planning policy and the law – a cross-national perspective - The centralization and decentralization dilemmas in statutory planning and development control – cross national - The right to information in planning laws – cross national

Alterman, Rachelle. 2010. "The U.S. Regulatory Takings Debate through an International Lens." The Urban Lawyer, 42(4): 331-355.
Abstract: The United States leads the world in the complexity of its regulatory takings law, the amount of academic writing devoted to the topic, and the intensity of the surrounding public debate. This is one of the (ancillary) findings of a large-scale comparative study of regulatory takings law. A look from the “outside” may shed light on American takings law and the “property rights” debate. An international looking glass can allow both sides in this debate either to find alternative models to support their own position (with appropriate adjustments) or to develop middle-of-the road approaches towards a reapproachment in this long-raging contest. In every country where land use regulations and development controls operate (the vast majority of countries today), they change the economic value of real property. The question addressed here focuses on the downwards effect — what Americans call “regulatory takings.” Do landowners have a right to claim compensation or some other remedies from the planning authorities? This topic addresses an inherent raw nerve of planning law and practice, bearing deep economic, social and ethical implications. However, not in every country does the issue generate the same intensity of legal and public debate as it does in the United States. This article draws on the findings of comparative research encompassing thirteen countries around the world. Readers of this Festschrift, who are acquainted with American takings law, will be able to view it from this new perspective. A comparative perspective can help to create a sense of scale and proportionality that conventional domestic legal analysis cannot offer.
URL: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2111158
Alterman, Rachelle. 2011. "Guest Editorial: Comparative Research at the Frontier of Planning Law: The Case of Compensation Rights for Land Use Regulations." International Journal of Law in the Built Environment, 3(2): 100-112.
Abstract: Purpose – This paper aims to present the merits of cross-national comparative research as a method for pushing the frontier of knowledge about planning laws. Since, in every country there is usually some dissatisfaction with its present planning laws or certain aspects of them, cross-national research can open an arena of alternatives based on real-life experiences. To demonstrate this argument, the paper focuses on a shared dilemma – how should the law handle the negative effects of some planning decisions on land values. This case is used to demonstrate both the comparative method and the usefulness of comparative findings. The conclusions point out the opportunities for cross-learning. Design/methodology/approach – The overall argument about the comparative research draws on the author’s extensive experience in conducting cross-national research on a variety of issues in planning laws. The research on compensation rights reported here draws on the author’s recent book which analyses the laws and practices in thirteen countries. To ensure a “common platform” for comparison, the author developed a method based on a set of factual scenarios and a shared framework of topics. A team of country-based researchers conducted the legal analysis, and the team leader conducted the comparative analysis. Findings – the thirteen-country analysis shows there is a great variety of approaches to compensation rights around the world and a broad range of degrees, from no compensation at all to extensive compensation rights; there is no “consensual approach." The search for similarities based on region in the world, legal family, cultural background, density or demography, shows that the differences cannot be “explained” on the basis of these variables. The degree of political controversy on this issue also varies greatly. The breadth of laws and practices offer a range of alternative models to enrich local debates. Research limitations/implications – any comparative research on a new topic is bound to be exploratory. There are not yet any established theories in planning law (or in comparative research) from which hypotheses can be derived and tested. However, the large sample of countries, covering 40 per cent of the OECD countries (at the time), and the careful shared method have likely produced reliable findings. Originality/value – most of the comparative research that the author has conducted over the years charted new grounds in both its topics and its comparative breadth. The paper reports in brief on cross-national comparative research on compensation rights. The full research, on which this paper draws (published as a book in 2010), is the first to look at this specific issue globally with a large 13-country sample of OECD countries.

Substantive Focus:
Law and Policy SECONDARY
Environmental Policy
Comparative Public Policy
Urban Public Policy PRIMARY

Theoretical Focus: