Sara Bronin

Sara Bronin is a Mexican-American architect and attorney whose interdisciplinary research focuses on how law and policy can foster more equitable, sustainable, well-designed, and connected places. As a leading voice on historic preservation law and related land use practices, Bronin was recently nominated by the Biden administration to chair the U.S. Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP). The council advises the president and congress on decisions and policies that promote the preservation and enhancement of national historic resources.

In addition to her books and treatises on land use and historic preservation law, Bronin has written over two dozen articles on renewable energy, climate change, housing, urban planning, transportation, real estate development, and federalism. Her forthcoming book, Key to the City (W.W. Norton Press), will explore how zoning rules rule our lives.

Through the Legal Constructs Lab, she created the National Zoning Atlas to translate and standardize tens of thousands of zoning codes across the country. She has advised the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Sustainable Development Code, has served on the board of Latinos in Heritage Conservation, and founded Desegregate Connecticut. Previously, she led the award-winning, unanimously-adopted overhaul of the zoning code and city plan of Hartford, Connecticut. Bronin holds a juris doctor from Yale Law School, a master of science from the University of Oxford (Rhodes Scholar), as well as a B.Arch. and B.A. from the University of Texas–Austin.

Academic Research/Specialty Areas

  • Adaptive reuse
  • Cities
  • Community-based planning and development
  • Historic preservation planning
  • Housing
  • Infrastructure planning
  • Land use/spatial planning
  • Real estate development
  • Sustainability
  • Transportation planning
  • Urbanism

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Classes (Selected)

  • CRP 6630 Historic Preservation LawOverview of American legal system and the sources of law used to protect historic resources. The course considers the primary tools for preservation, including historic district and landmark designation, the use of the police power, taxation, and eminent domain.
  • CRP 6490: Special TopicsSpecial topics course focused on zoning regulation and analysis. The course aims to create a zoning atlas for a limited geographic region, using methodologies and being incorporated into the National Zoning Atlas project.

Awards, Grants, and Fellowships (Selected)

  • Richard H. Driehaus Form-Based Code Award for Hartford Zoning Code, Form-Based Codes Institute and Smart Growth America (2020)
  • Pro Bene Meritis Award, University of Texas (2019)
  • Co-Investigator, Transportation, Technology, and Society Research Group, UConn Provost Academic Plan Grant (2017–2020)
  • Municipal Resilience Planning Assistance Grant for the UConn Center for Energy and Environmental Law, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and State of Connecticut Department of Housing Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Program (2018)

Exhibitions and Presentations (Selected)

  • University of Texas School of Architecture, Commencement Address (2022)
  • University of Maryland Marvin Breckinridge Patterson Lecture, The Hidden Power that Shapes Our Historic Places (2022) 
  • Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation Paul S. Byard Memorial Lecture, Can Preservation Law Evolve in its Second Century? (2022) 

Publications (Selected)

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