Academic journal article Environmental Law

Foundations of Insider Environmental Law

Academic journal article Environmental Law

Foundations of Insider Environmental Law

Article excerpt

I.    INTRODUCTION                                     632 II.   HERE IS FOUND HERE, NOT THERE                    635       A. Planning to Protect Their Own Values:          Town of Weare, New Hampshire                  637       B. Different Spaces, Different Places:          Town of Brookhaven                            638          1. The Hamlet of Brookhaven/South Haven       638          2. The Hamlet of Medford                      639       C. Portland as an Environmental Community        640       D. Celebrating Local: Christmas in July          642       E. The Here of Regulating                        643 III.  VALUING LOCAL GOVERNANCE AND FRAMING THE       DECENTRALIZATION DEBATE                          643       A. Decentralization Debate in the United States  644          1. Self-Governance and Private Rights         646          2. Spirit and Form                            646          3. Public Good                                648       B. What Is in These Rationales?                  650 IV.   INSIDER PERSPECTIVE AND INSIDER ENVIRONMENTAL       GOVERNANCE                                       651 V.    CONCLUSION                                       655 


Those inside a community understand and interact with the environment in a fundamentally different way from those on the outside. From the perspective of those outside, a city and its environs may be understood through an external perception of what is "good" or "bad" about the city. The outsider might visit a city to witness natural wonders, architectural or artistic features, famous marketplaces, or events such as festivals, concerts, and parades. The outsider can preserve the visit in a photograph so as to say, "I was there" or "I have seen that," and check off the items from lists found in Frommer's, lonely planet, Rick Steves, and Fodor's, travel guides that provide the essential information an outsider needs to appreciate a city. The lonely planet, for example, tells the outsider what to see during a visit to Paris: "From the heights of Sacre Coeur to the gently rolling Seine, feel the joie de vivre of Europe's crowning glory. ... With discerning information on everything Paris has to offer, this guide gives you the city at your fingertips." (1)

However, there is something missed by the outsider. In contrast to the outsider's visit to "there," the insider declares that "this place is us" or, even better, "we are here." The outsider does not share the insider's history, context, and value. The insider's use of and identification with the word, "here," is a reference to situatedness and a recognition that the speaker is in a particular place, challenged by and benefiting from what that location has to offer. "Here" is the moment sense of place begins.

Sense of place is the foundation of the insider's perspective. The insider's perspective attributes deep meaning to words like "here," "us," and "ours" that is often missed or misunderstood by the outsider. The reference to "here" means something concrete to the insider (yet something different to each insider in their respective community) and may include more than the externally appreciated highlights of a city. It may conjure memories, values, and other traits an outsider cannot access by simply visiting or viewing a place. The insider's perspective of place provides a unique view into the inner-workings and character of a community. The insider's perspective raises images, feelings, traditions, culture, and history that may elude an outsider. Despite how rudderless it may feel to an outsider, "here" carries a particular meaning to a community in a specific place. What "here" means to one community is different from what "here" means to others. This specificity based on place eludes the outsider.

Just as the insider's perspective sheds light on the interaction between community and place, it also helps explain how that interaction influences regulation of the local environment. …

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