PLACE: Program in Law, Communities and the Environment

PLACE: Program in Law, Communities and the Environment

PLACE: Program in Law, Communities and the Environment

UVA Law School



Environmental challenges are rarely simple. From climate change to local conservation, the challenges of sustainability and long-term environmental health raise complex scientific, ethical, economic and political questions that defy easy answers.

PLACE at UVA empowers students to confront these questions so they can build the practical skills, analytic tools and hands-on experience needed to effect change as environmental leaders in government, business and the not-for-profit sector.

The program combines outstanding legal teaching with opportunities for interdisciplinary study, clinical experience, skills training and scholarly inquiry. Interacting with faculty who research and shape the law at the local, regional and global levels, students at the University of Virginia experience environmental law firsthand as it is practiced today, and study how it can better meet the next generation of challenges. With a wide range of courses, conferences, student groups and opportunities for independent study, students at the University of Virginia are part of a vibrant intellectual community that crosses boundaries of academic disciplines and between practice and scholarship.

The Setting

Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Charlottesville and surrounding Albemarle County provide a beautiful and fruitful setting for the study of land use and environmental issues. The area faces regional growth concerns, including the need to protect biodiversity and open space, provide affordable housing, and respond to climate change. These sometimes conflicting policy demands test relationships among urban, suburban and rural communities, all at a scale that makes the issues realistically accessible to student investigators. The proximity of the Shenandoah National Park, the Jefferson National Forest and the Chesapeake Bay (the Law School is in the bay watershed) provides further opportunity to study problems in regional growth, natural resource policy and watershed management.

Michael Livermore Explains UVA Law’s Environmental Law Program
Michael Livermore
Faculty Director
  • Professor of Law
  • Director, Program in Law, Communities and the Environment (PLACE)