• Urban Law Bulletin

The Urban Law Bulletin: July 9, 2019

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


Transportation and Infrastructure #transportation

A Lawyer Explains Why Electric Scooter Laws Don’t Work

As e-scooters continue to expand into new markets, cities are struggling to keep up with regulation. A Consumer Reports survey found that over 25% of e-scooter users were uncertain of the traffic laws they should follow. In 2019, cities responded to the e-scooter increase by introducing some forty-four e-scooter regulations in twenty-six states. However, much confusion remains for users regarding state laws, local vehicle codes, and agreements between cities and scooter providers.

So far, the e-scooter has been nimble enough to avoid all kinds of legal potholes. Amanda Morris/AP


Public Health #health

No More E-Cigarette Sales: San Francisco First Major U.S. City to Ban Them

San Francisco is the first major U.S. city to effectively ban e-cigarettes after city supervisors passed an ordinance to prevent the rising epidemic of teen usage. The ban covers physical and electronic sales of e-cigarettes shipped to the city. E-cigarette manufacturer Juul Labs argues that “the prohibition of vapor products for all adults in San Francisco will not effectively address underage use and will leave cigarettes on shelves as the only choice for adult smokers.”

(TNS/Sipa USA/Richard B. Levine)


Urban Planning and Space #planning

How Land-Grant Universities Can Enrich the Future of Communities

The Morrill Act of 1862 granted federal land to states to support the development of America’s first public colleges. Congress later expanded the mission to include research and service responsibilities that help the surrounding communities. In recent years, decreased attention has been paid to the needs of communities from these institutions. Recent efforts to fix this include the Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Program, which assists universities in economic and community support.

West Virginia University (Shutterstock)


Housing and Development #housing

Oregon Blocks Single-Family Zoning

The Oregon State Senate passed a bill removing the state’s ban on duplexes for single-family lots. The move, if signed into law by the Governor, would allow the state to build larger multi-family units to address the state’s housing issues. Bills like Oregon’s are being passed across the U.S. allowing for “upzoning,” which plans for larger housing to be built on land that used to be limited to single-family units.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown could soon sign a law increasing the density of housing in the state's cities.


Scholarship Corner #scholarship

“Pension reform is on the agenda of state legislatures and city councils across the country. The issue is the sustainability of defined benefit pension funds. Long the gold standard for retirement in the United States, the defined benefit pension fund guarantees workers fixed payments in retirement . . . Such pension plans have largely disappeared in the private sector, but they have survived in the public sector as the dominant form of retirement plan for state and local government employees.”

David H. Webber, Reforming Pensions While Retaining Shareworld Voice, 99 Boston U. L. Rev. (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 e-mail 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