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Richard Norton

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Richard K. Norton is a professor in the urban and regional planning program and serves as chair of the program. He also holds a joint appointment as professor with the University of Michigan's Program in the Environment, in the 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 especially on the challenges of managing shorelands along the Laurentian Great Lakes. He contributes actively to public service primarily through the Michigan Association of Planning (MAP) by serving on its planning law committee. 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, including reforms adopted by the Legislature in 2006 and 2008. 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

  • Wyckoff, Mark A. and Richard K. Norton. February 2015. “Planning and Regulating Vacant Land for Open Space in Detroit.” Annual meeting of the International Academic Forum on Planning, Law and Property Rights. Volos, Greece.
  • Norton, Richard K. October 2014. “The Problem of Social Reason: Law and Planning as an Alternative to Law and Economics.” Annual Meeting of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning. Philadelphia, PA.
  • Norton, Richard K. June 2013. “Agenda 21 and its Discontents: Is Sustainable Development a Global Imperative or Globalizing Conspiracy?” Annual Meeting of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning. Dublin, Ireland.
  • Norton, Richard K. April 2013. “A Purpose-Behavioral Conceptual Model of Individual and Collective Decision-Making: Using Ecosystem and Planning Process Knowledge to Promote More Resilient and Sustainable Communities.” Meeting of the National Adaptation Forum. Denver, CO.