Taubman College

Faculty Directory

Teaching Areas:

  • Planning Law; Land Use and Environmental Planning
  • Intergovernmental Growth Management
  • Coastal Area Resource Management

Richard K. Norton is an associate professor in the urban and regional planning program. He serves as chair of the program, as well as faculty coordinator for the land use and environmental planning concentration for the master of urban planning degree. He also holds a joint appointment as associate 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. with honors at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also holds master degrees in public policy studies and environmental management from Duke University. Dr. Norton teaches and conducts research in the areas of sustainable development, land use and environmental planning, and planning law. He is interested in local governance for land use and development management, particularly as it relates to the theory and practice of urban and regional planning for sustainable development. He contributes actively to the Michigan Association of Planning (MAP) by serving on its planning law committee. Through those efforts he has taken the lead in preparing draft legislation for the Michigan Legislature to reform the state's planning and zoning enabling laws, including reforms adopted by the Legislature in 2006 and 2008. He has also written amicus curiae 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

  • 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. 2011. Reconciling sustainability with private property rights in planning law and policy: Review of Takings International, by Rachelle Alterman (2010), Journal of Sustainable Development Law and Policy 7(1):89-99.
  • 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.
  • Brief Amicus Curiae on the case of Burleson v MI Dept. of Environmental Quality, prepared by Richard K. Norton on behalf of the Michigan Association of Planning for the Michigan Court of Appeals in support of the State of Michigan for oral arguments, filed March 30, 2010 (coastal shoreline dynamics and state regulatory boundaries on Michigan's Great Lakes shorelines).
  • Norton, Richard K. 2008. Using content analysis to evaluate local master plans and zoning codes. Land Use Policy 25(3):432-454.
  • __________. 2007. Planning for school facilities: School board decision-making and local coordination in Michigan. Journal of Planning Education and Research 26(4):478-496.
  • Norton, Richard K., A. Brix, T. Brydon, E. Davidian, K. Dinse, and S. Vidyarthi. 2007. Transforming the university campus into a sustainable community. Planning for Higher Education 34(4):22-38.

Recent Conference Presentations

  • Norton, Richard K. 2011. "Public Trust interests, private property rights, and Michigan's Great Lakes shorelines: The law of accretion, erosion, reliction, and avulsion on a Great Lakes shore." Annual Meeting of the International Academic Association on Planning, Law, and Property Rights. Edmonton, Alberta.
  • Norton, Richard K. 2010. "Managing public trust interests and private property rights on Michigan's Great Lakes shorelines." Annual Meeting of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning. Minneapolis, MN.
  • Norton, Richard K. 2010. "Integrating research on coupling conservation biology and land-use planning at the urban-rural fringe." Annual meeting of the Society for Conservation Biology, Edmonton, Alberta.

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