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Ordering (and Order in) the City

49 Pages Posted: 30 Dec 2004  

Nicole Stelle Garnett

Notre Dame Law School


Over the past two decades, the "broken windows" hypothesis by George Kelling and James Q. Wilson has revolutionized thinking about urban policy. This now-familiar theory is that uncorrected manifestations of disorder, even minor ones like broken windows, signal a breakdown in the social order that accelerates neighborhood decline. The response to this theory has been a proliferation of policies focusing on public order.

Largely missing from the academic debate about these developments is a discussion of the complex and important role of property regulation in order-maintenance efforts. This Article attempts to fill that property law gap in the public-order puzzle by tackling the complicated relationship between property regulation and order-restoration efforts.

Keywords: Order maintenance, broken windows, land use, zoning, public order, urban development

JEL Classification: H70, R14, K10, K11

Suggested Citation

Garnett, Nicole Stelle, Ordering (and Order in) the City. Stanford Law Review, Vol. 57, pp. 1-58, 2004. Available at SSRN:

Nicole Stelle Garnett (Contact Author)

Notre Dame Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 780
Notre Dame, IN 46556
United States
574-631-3091 (Phone)


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