I attended the dinner for the conference by the International Academic Association on Planning, Law and Property Rights held here in Portland, Oregon last evening. As any land use geek might imagine, I had a fabulous time talking about land use systems throughout the world. But the most interesting thing to me was that some of our international guests had come to the conference with preconceived notions about how planning is done in this country, thinking it was more like Houston without zoning, rather than the complex systems we have in Oregon and Washington.
In speaking with one gentlemen from Belgium, I remarked that at one point there was an attempt (although admittedly a weak attempt) to create a National Land Use Policy Act. Here is an interesting law review article discussing that attempt. He seemed shocked that the US had even contemplated this, much less almost 40 years ago. Furthermore, he seemed stunned that the experiments with urban growth boundaries in Washington and Oregon seemed to parallel planning efforts in Europe where population densities are much denser and land for resources is precious.
I had a lot of fun. So to celebrate the international flavor of this conference I thought I would share a favorite new discovery of mine which is a local music blog Ghost Capital which highlights a lot of obscure off-the-beaten-path music from around the world. Just as the conference helped bring ideas from around the world together to create new discoveries, this blog does this by exposing us to sounds from around the world.