Dissolving Cities

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Michelle Wilde Anderson

Assistant Professor of Law, UC Berkeley School of Law & Visiting Assistant Professor of Law, Stanford Law School

“Dissolving Cities”

Drawn from her paper that was published in April of 2012, Professor Anderson told the story of citizens who, in response to long-term economic distress, are choosing to dissolve their city governments and become unincorporated. She emphasized the history of municipal dissolution in Oklahoma, including the dissolutions of many of the state's all-black towns. Her talk also presented a picture of the current dissolution phenomenon unfolding in struggling cities across the country and presented some ideas about modernizing the law of dissolution to assist cities facing fiscal crisis.

Michelle Wilde Anderson is a scholar of land use and local government law. Her current research focuses on county governments and their subdivisions, including the governance of high poverty, unincorporated urban neighborhoods and the dissolution of struggling municipalities.

Anderson developed a base of expertise in the fields of urban policy and city planning before law school. She earned a master’s degree in Regional and Urban Planning at the London School of Economics and Political Science and worked at the European Commission’s Urban Policy Unit in Brussels; an urban planning firm in London; and an organization dedicated to social justice in Connecticut public housing.

Anderson’s publications include “Dissolving Cities,” forthcoming in the Yale Law Journal (2012), “Sprawl’s Shepherd: The Rural County” forthcoming in the California Law Review (2012), “Mapped Out of Local Democracy” in the Stanford Law Review (2010), and “Cities Inside Out: Race, Poverty, and Exclusion at the Urban Fringe” in the U.C.L.A. Law Review (2008).

Download "Dissolving Cities" from SSRN.