Securitization and Suburbia

54 Pages Posted: 19 Aug 2011 Last revised: 24 May 2012

See all articles by Heather Hughes

Heather Hughes

American University - Washington College of Law

Date Written: August 18, 2011


This article explores the relationship between one typical form of real estate development finance - the securitized mezzanine loan - and one controversial phenomenon - suburban sprawl. It asks foundational questions about the connection between financial transactions and real-world applications of the capital they raise. In this work, sprawl serves as an example of an environmental consequence of applications of capital raised with a common form of transaction. This Article considers the extent to which commercial finance laws release forceful incentives driven by capital markets upon land use decisions, potentially undermining the collective, morally informed determination such decisions require. It rejects the aesthetic aversion to looking beyond transactional structures in the abstract to consider what results as commercial actors use typical deals to fund typical growth patterns. To the extent that standardized forms of financial transactions fund recurring land uses that many find problematic, the terms and structures of the transactions themselves should be a subject of critical inquiry.

Keywords: finance, land use, securitization, secured transactions, environmental impact

Suggested Citation

Hughes, Heather, Securitization and Suburbia (August 18, 2011). Oregon Law Review, Vol. 90, p. 359, 2011, American University, WCL Research Paper No. 2012-20, Available at SSRN:

Heather Hughes (Contact Author)

American University - Washington College of Law ( email )

4300 Nebraska Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20016
United States

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