Wesley O'Brien
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Urban Planning

Wesley O’Brien is an Associate in the Real Estate Department of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP. He was previously General Counsel and Interim Director of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Environmental Coordination, and served as Assistant Counsel to the NYC Department of City Planning from 2006 to 2011. He has also worked in the Legal Support Office of the United Nations Development Programme, and on judicial and criminal law reform with the American Bar Association's Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative. With a LL.M. in International Legal Studies from New York University School of Law and a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School, he has lectured on issues relating to development and the environment in Senegal, Armenia and Mexico. Prior to his legal career, O'Brien was a carpenter on historic restoration projects in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Semester Course
Spring 2015 URPL-GP.1605.001 Land Use Law

This course is designed to give you a better understanding of the legal and administrative framework used to regulate land use at various levels of government, and the relationship of the planner to the law. We will cover basic legal procedures as well as statutory and regulatory materials relating to zoning, urban renewal and eminent domain, regulatory takings, inclusionary housing, historic preservation, and environmental law.

Politics, economics and social norms play a critical role in the use and development of land, often adapting or even flouting the “law on the books.” Although principally concerned with the official legal rules governing of land uses, this course also will examine the interplay of formal and informal controls in shaping land use patterns.


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Spring 2014 URPL-GP.1605.002 Land Use Law

This course is designed to give you a better understanding of the legal and administrative framework used to regulate land use at various levels of government, and the relationship of the planner to the law. We will cover basic legal procedures as well as statutory and regulatory materials relating to zoning, urban renewal and eminent domain, regulatory takings, inclusionary housing, historic preservation, and environmental law.

Politics, economics and social norms play a critical role in the use and development of land, often adapting or even flouting the “law on the books.” Although principally concerned with the official legal rules governing of land uses, this course also will examine the interplay of formal and informal controls in shaping land use patterns.


Download Syllabus