• Urban Law Bulletin

The Urban Law Bulletin: July 24, 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 #preemption

The FCC’s Confusing Attempt to Change a San Francisco Law

This month, the FCC struck down part of a San Francisco ordinance that gives tenants the freedom to select their internet service provider, preempting the ordinance “to the extent it requires the sharing of in-use wiring…” The FCC reasoned “[r]equiring sharing of in-use deters broadband deployment…” “Our hope is that the decision . . . changes nothing because it addresses a problem that doesn’t exist,” the director of a San Francisco-based service provider said.


FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said part of San Francisco's law was inconsistent with federal policy. Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Environment and Sustainability #sustainability

Recycle or Burn? Local Governments Must Choose for the Long Term

Local governments in the U.S. are facing challenges in responding to recycling disruption. This past year, China stopped accepting a majority of the U.S.’s recyclable products, causing a sudden and dramatic increase in waste volume. One solution to the problem has been waste incineration. However, according to the EPA, burning municipal solid waste “emits nearly as much carbon per unit of energy as coal - and almost twice as much as burning natural gas.”



A truck dumps waste to the incinerator. (Shutterstock)

Housing and Development #housing

Without Parking, People Who Live in Vehicles Have Nowhere to Go

“Many cities have forced vehicle residents to move around within or between communities and out of public spaces . . . increas[ing] law enforcement and social service outreach costs, while further destabilizing vulnerable and isolated neighbors." A study conducted by a Seattle funded nonprofit, found that "at least 53% of people who slept outside throughout King County [Washington state] were in a vehicle."


Without off-street space, vehicle residents crowd available public parking in Seattle. Graham Pruss, CC BY-NC-ND

Scholarship Corner #scholarship

“[C]ity speech should enjoy the constitutional protection of the First Amendment. Such protection is necessary for the values of city speech to withstand state-led threats. In contrast to one traditional view of cities as creatures of the state, this Article argues that there is a doctrinal path for the recognition of city speech as a constitutional and organizational right.”

Yishai Blank, City Speech, 54 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 365, 367 (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

Hema Lochan

Carolyn McGuigan

Justin Meshulam

Stephanie Salomon



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