• Urban Law Bulletin

The Urban Law Bulletin: August 28, 2019

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


Law and Justice #justice

Sacramento files unusual suit to ban 7 people from neighborhood

On August 9, 2019, the city of Sacramento filed a lawsuit to ban seven people from a local neighborhood, alleging that these individuals have repeatedly caused a public nuisance. In support, Sacramento City Attorney Susana Alcala stated that injunctive relief is sought if “criminal activity in an area has become excessive when compared to similar neighborhoods, and other enforcement remedies have not proven successful.”

Photo: KCRA


Housing and Development #housing

When a Transit Agency Becomes a Suburban Developer

Harrison, New York’s Halstead Avenue project, a $76.8 million mixed-use real estate development built in collaboration between the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and developer Avalon Bay Communities, will result in sale of Metro-North owned land for transit-oriented development, including “143 apartments, 27,000 square feet of retail space, two pedestrian plazas, and a 598-space parking garage, most of which is reserved for the public and commuters.”

The Metro-North Railroad's Hudson Line leaves the Croton–Harmon station in Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y. Seth Wenig/AP


Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion #diversity

Dress Coded

In the 1990s, American public schools began to adopt stricter regulations and policies aimed at reducing violence and crime, including dress codes. A recent National Women’s Law Center study found that “74 percent of D.C. public high schools with publicly accessible dress codes authorize disciplinary action that can lead to missed class or school.” Many students argue that dress codes impact girls more than boys, and “protests in recent years . . . have ignited a national discussion about dress codes and fairness.”



Technology #technology

Ransomware Attacks Are Testing Resolve of Cities Across America

In 2019, over forty municipalities have been victims of ransomware cyberattacks. These attacks cripple local governments, often by locking access to city administrative systems, through changing the passwords. The cyberattackers then solicit ransom payments from these governments for the new password. The majority of attacks target “small-town America” because they are less likely to have updated cyberdefenses or routine data backup.

Computers were shut down at the E.M. Gilliam Memorial Library following a ransomware attack in Wilmer, Tex.CreditCreditCooper Neill for The New York Times


Transportation and Technology #transportation #technology

For Ride-Hailing Drivers, Data Is Power

In March, Uber Drivers filed a lawsuit against the ridesharing company for breaching the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in withholding the data that is collected about them while signed into the app. And in opposition to a 2016 worker’s rights claim, Uber used a driver’s personal data to argue that “he made under minimum wage some days was because he’d declined several rides . . . ” Uber’s tight grip on information is part of a long pattern for the ride-hailing titan, which has often tangled with local regulators over its vast trove of trip data.”

London Uber driver James Farrar's trip data, mapped across the city. Courtesy of James Farrar


Scholarship Corner #scholarship

“In order to understand the crisis of fair housing law, and civil rights law more generally, in failing to alleviate concentrated poverty and ameliorate residential segregation in the nation’s urban and suburban neighborhoods, and no less in failing to envision fair housing in the broader terms of environmental health and justice, this Article turns to law reform within the crucible of community-centered clinical practice.”

Eugene Mazo, Black, Poor, and Gone: Civil Rights Law’s Inner-City Crisis, 54 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 329, 337 (2019).


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