• Urban Law Bulletin

The Urban Law Bulletin: July 7, 2020

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


City Administration and Urban Governance #administration

Over 700 Cash-Strapped Cities Halt Plans to Repair Roads, Water Systems or Make Other Key Investments

As municipalities slash spending in the face of the pandemic, the National League of Cities (NLC) has released a report stating that “more federal aid is necessary to ensure that local financial woes do not imperil the country’s economic recovery.” An NLC survey found that “69% of municipalities have not received any money from the $150 billion federal program [created in the recent CARES Act], either allotted to them from the Treasury Department or their home states.” The survey also found that “about 65 percent of cities [have] either delayed or outright canceled their planned capital expenditures or infrastructure improvements.”

Patrick Semansky / AP


Environment and Sustainability #sustainability

How Cities Are Trying to Avert Gridlock After Coronavirus Lockdown

There is evidence that “driving is increasing faster than public transit use” in many large cities as “coronavirus lockdowns loosen around the world.” However, “the pandemic has given leverage to city officials to do things that had been politically contentious in the past, like taking space from cars.” San Francisco, Bogotá, and Milan have focused on increasing bike lanes, while London, Pôrto Alegre, and New York City have proposed congestion taxes.

Kham / Reuters


Housing and Development #housing

Sleeping Outside in a Pandemic: Vulnerable Renters Face Evictions

Economists are warning about a potential eviction “avalanche” as rent freezes expire. “20 states, including Louisiana, Texas, Colorado and Wisconsin, have since lifted their restrictions . . . Eviction bans in nine other states and at the federal level are set to expire by the end of the month . . . [and] 28 million households are at risk of being turned out onto the streets because of job losses tied to the pandemic.”

Ryan Christopher Jones / The New York Times


Housing and Development #housing

Most Americans With Disabilities Struggle to Find Accessible Homes

Rental marketplace Apartment List released a report finding “a huge gap between the availability of accessible homes and the number of people who need them,” with accessible homes available only to “9 percent of households with someone who has a physical disability.” Although the Fair Housing Act of 1991 “mandates accessibility requirements for complexes of at least four units . . . the law doesn’t apply to buildings with three units or less, townhouses or those constructed before 1991.”



Scholarship Corner #scholarship

“Conversations about police reform in lawmaking and legal scholarship typically take a narrow view of the multiple, complex roles that policing plays in American society, focusing primarily on their techniques of crime control. This Article breaks from that tendency, engaging police reform from a sociological perspective that focuses instead on the noncriminal functions of policing. In particular, it examines the role of policing in the daily maintenance of racial residential segregation, one of the central strategies of American racial inequality. Unlike previous work that touches on these issues, this Article argues that police reformers and police leaders should adopt an anti-segregation approach to policing.”

Monica C. Bell, Anti-Segregation Policing, 95 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 650, 650-765 (2020).


Law and the New Urban Agenda (Nestor M. Davidson & Geeta Tewari eds., Routledge 1st ed. 2020). #international

Given COVID-19’s impact on cities globally, it is more important than ever to highlight the significance of urban law and policy for students. Law and the New Urban Agenda examines the legal dimensions of the United Nations' New Urban Agenda (NUA), a globally shared understanding of the vital link between urbanization and a sustainable future.

Law and the New Urban Agenda underscores the value of urban law as a discipline in supporting the healthy development of inclusive cities for all. This timely volume sheds light on the many complex challenges that urban growth poses for legal systems around the globe, and I commend this eclectic group of scholars for their engagement with the New Urban Agenda.

Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director, UN-Habitat

This book is available from Routledge here.


We thank the Urban Law Center’s Urban Law Research Fellows for assisting in preparation of The Bulletin. The Bulletin categorizes 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

Urban Law Student Fellow Contributors

Quinn D’Isa

Justin Meshulam

John Planamento

Daniela Weinstein

Haleigh Zillges