San Diego Law Review


John Nivala

Library of Congress Authority File


Document Type



This Article argues that the exterior design of a private single-family house is a First Amendment-protected expression for the inhabitants. The exterior design of the single-family house speaks on behalf of the inhabitants, expressing who they are and how they choose to live. The Article explores the genesis of aesthetic regulation and its threat to First Amendment values. Any municipality that applies aesthetic standards to regulate this expression must justify the regulation by establishing a substantial governmental interest. The interest must be advanced by the application of narrowly and clearly defined standards.

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