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Richard Norton

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Richard K. Norton is a Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning. He also holds a joint appointment as Professor with the University of Michigan's Program in the Environment, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. He earned his Ph.D. in city and regional planning and his J.D. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, along with master degrees in public policy studies and environmental management from Duke University. Dr. Norton teaches and conducts research in the areas of planning law, sustainable development, land use and environmental planning, and coastal area management. His most recent research has focused on the challenges of managing shorelands along the Laurentian Great Lakes. He contributes actively to public service through community-engaged research and teaching, and by serving on the planning law committee of the the Michigan Association of Planning (MAP). In that role he has taken the lead in preparing draft legislation for the Michigan Legislature to reform the state's planning and zoning enabling laws. He has also written friend-of-the-court appellate briefs to the Michigan Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court on behalf of the American Planning Association and MAP regarding planning and zoning disputes in the state. Prior to completing his graduate studies, Dr. Norton worked in professional practice as a consulting environmental policy analyst and planner in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, California.

Recent Publications

  • Loh, Carolyn G., and Richard K. Norton. 2015. Planning consultants’ influence on local comprehensive plans. Journal of Planning Education and Research 35(2):199-208.
  • Norton, Richard K., and David S. Bieri. 2014. Planning, law, and property rights: A U.S.-European cross-national contemplation. International Planning Studies 19(3-4):379-397.
  • Norton, Richard K. and Guy A. Meadows. 2014. Land and water governance on the shores of the Laurentian Great Lakes. Water International 39(6):901-920.
  • Norton, Richard K., Lorelle A. Meadows, and Guy A. Meadows. 2014. What if (inland) sea levels are falling…then rising…then falling? Global climate change and shoreland management on the Laurentian Great Lakes. Geography Forum Review 34:59-73.
  • Norton, Richard K. 2014. Agenda 21 and its discontents: Is sustainable development a global imperative or globalizing conspiracy? The Urban Lawyer 46(2):325-360.
  • Loh, Carolyn G., and Richard K. Norton. 2014. Planning consultants and local planning: Roles and values. Journal of the American Planning Association 79(2):138-147.
  • Norton, Richard K., Guy A. Meadows, and Lorelle A. Meadows. 2013. The deceptively complicated ‘elevation ordinary high water mark’ and the problem with using it on a Great Lakes shore. Journal of Great Lakes Research 39(2013):527-535. Norton, Richard K. and Mark A. Wyckoff. 2012. Lessons from Michigan's Perfect Storm: Term-limited legislature restores mining's exemption from local zoning. Planning & Environmental Law 64(1):3-10.
  • Norton, Richard K. 2011. Who decides, how and why? Planning for the judicial review of local legislative zoning decisions. Urban Lawyer 43(4):1085-1105.
  • Norton, Richard K., Lorelle A. Meadows, and Guy A. Meadows. 2011. Drawing lines in law books and on sandy beaches: Marking ordinary high water on Michigan's Great Lakes shorelines under the public trust doctrine. Coastal Management 39(2):133-157.

Recent Conference Presentations

  • Norton, Richard K. May 2016. “The Reach and Limits of State and Local Authorities to Manage Michigan’s Great Lakes Shorelands: Reconciling Police Power Prerogatives, Public Trust Interests, and Private Property Rights.” Annual meeting of the Association on Law, Property, and Society. Ann Arbor, MI.
  • Norton, Richard K. February 2017. “Implementing Adaptation: Developing Land Use Regulations and Infrastructure Policies to Implement Great Lakes Shoreland Area Management Plans.” Annual meeting of the International Academic Forum on Planning, Law and Property Rights. Hong Kong.
  • Norton, Richard K. June 2016. “Public Trust Duties, Liability, Powers, and Constraints Along Laurentian Great Lakes Shores.” Annual meeting of the International Association of Great Lakes Research. Guelph, Ontario.
  • Norton, Richard K. May 2016. “Coastal Management: Lessons from the Great Lakes.” Symposium on Marine Spatial Planning in Northern Ireland, Ulster University, Belfast, Northern Ireland, U.K.
  • Norton, Richard K. May 2016. “The Problem of Social Reason: Law and Planning as a Useful Alternative to Law and Economics.” Annual meeting of the Association on Law, Property, and Society. Belfast, Northern Ireland, U.K.