• Urban Law Bulletin

The Urban Law Bulletin: August 13, 2019

The Urban Law Bulletin is a bi-weekly e-newsletter highlighting significant news and legal developments in the field of urban law.

Technology #technology

Cities Ban Government Use of Facial Recognition

Oakland became the third city in the U.S. to ban facial recognition technology since MIT and Stanford University researchers found both “skin-type and gender biases” in facial recognition programs. Concerns over surveillance continue to amass after discovery that federal investigators were scanning the photos of millions of Americans in state driver’s license databases without permission. The chair of Oakland’s Privacy Advisory Commission believes that facial recognition could “obliterate the First Amendment.”


A security camera in the Financial District of San Francisco. (AP/ Eric Risberg)

Housing and Development #housing

How Washington, D.C., Fought Housing Displacement

Communities throughout the country continue to face affordable housing challenges. “[C]ity leaders have begun to give greater consideration to shared equity housing models that use public subsidies to place housing and land under community control and ownership . . . .” Earlier this year, Washington, D.C. made a $138 million public investment for eleven affordable housing projects across the city.


Environment and Sustainability #sustainability

Court Upholds Village's Stormwater Fee Ordinance

In 2014, a village in Illinois adopted a storm water ordinance that imposed a fee on the owners of village property to provide a funding source for various improvements to the storm water system. Mark Green, a village resident, filed a lawsuit in 2015 against the village, claiming the fee was an unlawful tax. Last month, an Illinois appellate court upheld the village’s ordinance determining that there was a rational basis to support it.


Health #health

Alexandria, VA joins growing list of dementia-friendly cities

“Alexandria[, Virginia] joins a national network of over 200 cities working to train businesses, citizens and government officials, optimize infrastructure and develop technology to help an aging population . . . .” The city’s needs assessment and plan, prepared by the Alexandria Commission on Aging, covers six categories: social participation, respect and social inclusion; housing; transportation; communication; health and community services; civic participation and employment.


(Credit: Thomas Quine, Flickr )

City-State Relations and Preemption #preemption

As Ohio and Texas Shootings Bring Calls for Change, Officials Try to ‘Thread the Needle’

The discussion over the adoption of “red flag” gun laws has been renewed in the aftermath of the devastating mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas. These laws typically authorize courts to issue a special protection order, allowing police to temporarily confiscate firearms from individuals who are found to be a danger to themselves or to others.


The memorial to the shooting victims in Dayton, Ohio


Scholarship Corner #scholarship

"A sizable number of Americans believe that voter fraud occurs. To combat voter fraud—or at least the perception that it exists—many states have recently enacted laws that impose documentary identification requirements on their voters. These so-called ‘voter ID laws’ typically require a citizen to prove his identity with a government-issued ID before he can cast his ballot. Such voter ID laws come in various guises and are currently in force in thirty-five states. In most states, these laws, which have been enacted along strictly partisan lines, have been divisive and controversial."

Eugene Mazo, Finding Common Ground on Voter ID Laws, 49 U. Mem. L. Rev. 1234 (2019).


Now Available: Global Perspectives in Urban Law: The Legal Power of Cities

Global Perspectives in Urban Law: The Legal Power of Cities is a collaborative scholarly focus on comparative and global perspectives in the growing field of urban law. This brand new volume offers diverse insights into urban law, with emerging theories and analyses of topics ranging from criminal reform and urban housing, to social and economic inequality and financial crises, and democratization and freedom for individual identity and space. Particularly now, social, economic, and cultural issues must be closely examined in conjunction with the rule of law not only to address inadequate access to basic services but also to construct long-term plans for our cities and our world. The book is now available from Routledge here.

Global Perspectives in Urban Law: The Legal Power of Cities (Nestor M. Davidson & Geeta Tewari eds., Routledge 1st ed. 2018). #international


We thank the Urban Law Center’s Urban Law Student Fellows for assisting in preparation of The Bulletin, which provides news in major areas of urban law, and categorizes the stories as follows:

· City Administration and Urban Governance #administration

· City-State Relations and Preemption #preemption

· Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion #equality

· Environment and Sustainability #sustainability

· Housing and Development #housing

· International/Global Urban Law #international

· Law and Justice #justice

· Public Health #health

· Technology #technology

· Transportation and Infrastructure #transportation

· Urban Mobility #mobility

· Urban Planning and Space #planning


If you have an article, legal decision, or commentary that you would like to share in an upcoming Bulletin, please email it to urbanlaw@fordham.edu.

Subscribe to The Urban Law Bulletin here.


The Urban Law Center at Fordham University School of Law

Nestor M. Davidson

Faculty Director, Urban Law Center


Geeta Tewari

Associate Director, Urban Law Center


Urban Law Student Fellow Contributors

Quinn D’Isa

Justin Meshulam

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