Lee Fennell, "Property in Housing"

The question of how to structure and package the residential experience is a deeply interesting and difficult one. How physically large or small should residential holdings be? How densely should they be clustered? Should spaces for working, recreating, cooking, and bathing be contained within the private residential unit, shared with other households, or procured a la carte? How permanent should the connection be between a household and a living space? How much control should households have over the environment surrounding the dwelling unit? Answers to these and many other queries differ both within and between societies. A law and economics perspective that emphasizes problems of scale illuminates the ways in which law intersects with private decisionmaking to deliver housing, and can inform the task of configuring residential property optimally. This Chicago's Best Ideas lecture was recorded November 13, 2012. Lee Fennell is Max Pam Professor of Law and Herbert and Marjorie Fried Research Scholar at the University of Chicago Law School.