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Law Quadrangle (formerly Law Quad Notes)

Abstract

Though everyone thinks communities are important, they- unlike individuals and property- have never attained the formal protection of the law. So long as there is a public purpose, a town or a neighborhood can simply be extinguished to make way for a dam or an industrial park. I do not propose here to put forward a theory of rights for communities, or even to attempt a legally acceptable definition for that ambiguous and elastic word. Instead, this is a brief report about a little-known corner of public activity that has demonstrated sen-sitivity to preserving community life. My illustrative case suggests that it is possible for government to articulate and pursue policies that give content and importance to the idea of community. What larger conclusions might be drawn from this little story I do not, for the moment, suggest.

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