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College of Environment and Design


The primary objectives of the Preservation Law Course are for students to understand key substantive legal issues involving the use, development and preservation of land and historic properties; to learn the principles and thinking process by which the legal system reaches decisions intended to resolve these issues; and to learn to spot these issues in practice.  Discussion of how land use, preservation, and environmental laws and regulation reflect the fundamental tension in our society between government regulation and constitutionally protected rights of individuals, and discussion of the role that the legal system can have in helping to define the balance between the means used to achieve public goals and the protection of private property rights.

A student successfully completing the course will be able to:

  • develop the ability to read and comprehend legal briefs, cases, legislation and related writings
  • understand the constitutional basis for heritage resource protection
  • trace the evolution of historic preservation law and the basis for legal challenges under the U.S. and state constitutions
  • identify private and public techniques for land control
  • describe federal, state and local protective measures
  • possess an adequate vocabulary of related legal terminology
  • conduct basic legal research, “brief” a case, and write clearly and persuasively on a preservation law topic
  • discuss legal issues knowledgeably and confidently
  • appreciate the social and political impact of the application of heritage resource law


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