Thesis

Municipal code enforcement: a case for beauty

This study concentrates on municipal code enforcement as a relatively new regulatory function of local government and endeavors to answer the question "Why did code enforcement appear in the American city?" In the first part, code enforcement is examined in a broad context of municipal activities. It is viewed among other law enforcers: the police officer, the building, housing, and health inspectors. The differences among them are discussed and their underlying unity is formulated: what unites the enforcers is their relation to the maintenance of communal order. Code enforcement is then defined as one of the order maintenance functions of a municipality. The second part looks at the history of American cities from the Colonial period to the present. It discusses the continuing process of urbanization and the challenges to order presented by the increased numbers of city dwellers. Municipalities' response to the challenges has been to utilize latest technology, pass new regulations, and expand personnel to enforce them. At the same time, the ideas about communal order have been expanding, and today our understanding of order includes more items than ever before. The character of laws has changed to include not only matters of health and safety but those of aesthetics. As result new laws and regulations have multiplied and required, in tum, new personnel to enforce them. The appearance of code enforcement is due to the proliferation of new laws defining order and the increasing specialization in municipal enforcement.

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