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Constitutional Ecology: The Case for Aligning Science and the Law in Urban Design
From Research Journal Vol. 05.01 (Special Issue: National Science Foundation Workshop on Architecture and Engineering of Sustainable Buildings)
This paper discusses current trends in research related to the design of cities, primarily focused on the relationship between regulations that are put in place to control development and the outcomes resulting from the regulations. Unlike other arenas of urban research, where the desired outcome is the health, safety and welfare of the general public, research into the impact of regulations on a population is almost nonexistent. There are few protocols for tying the performance of regulations to outcomes and little testing of the regulations to ensure the outcomes align with their intentions. This paper makes the case that regulations have a significant impact on health, safety and welfare, and that their implementation and adoption should be tied to basic research and testing, and further, that there should be legal and scientific mechanisms in place to monitor the efficacy of the adopted regulations and to modify the regulations based on alignment with stated intentions.