• Urban Law Bulletin

The Urban Law Bulletin: June 19, 2019

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


Public Health #health

Groundwork is Laid for Opioids Settlement That Would Touch Every Corner of U.S.

Recent federal litigation against opioid manufacturers in Cleveland, Ohio has introduced a proposal that could prompt a comprehensive national opioid settlement with the pharmaceutical industry. The proposal would create a “‘negotiation class’ consisting of every municipality in the country.” For the settlement to be accepted, 75% of the class would have to agree to a judicially approved offer.


Judge Dan Aaron Polster of Federal District Court in Cleveland is presiding over a collection of nearly 2,000 federal opioids cases.CreditCreditMaddie McGarvey for The New York Times

Public Health #health

Childhood Asthma: A Lingering Effect of Redlining

A recent study found that residents of redlined neighborhoods are at a higher risk of developing asthma. These neighborhoods were designated in the 1930s by the federal Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC) to determine creditworthiness based in part on racial demographics, contributing to patterns of segregation. The study found that people in these redlined neighborhoods are 2.4 times more likely to go to the emergency room for asthma than residents of HOLC-determined “low-risk” areas.


A redlining map of Oakland. University of Richmond

Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion #equality

How Governments Are Transitioning Their Gender Policies to Nonbinary

A growing number of cities and states are beginning to provide residents with the option to identify as gender nonbinary instead of male or female. In 2017, Washington, D.C. was the first U.S. jurisdiction to offer nonbinary gender driver’s licenses. Currently, at least thirteen states allow nonbinary identities through licenses or birth certificates.



Some states have begun to consider how allowing nonbinary IDs will affect other parts of government, like prisons, that are traditionally split into male and female facilities. (AP)

Law and Justice #justice

Hong Kong Protesters Return to the Streets, Rejecting Leader’s Apology

The Hong Kong legislature delayed consideration of a controversial law which would allow for the extradition of people to mainland China after opponents called for a second mass protest. Following the protests, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive issued a public apology, but did not withdraw the bill from the legislature.


Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, spoke during a news conference on Saturday, when she announced the shelving of an unpopular proposal to allow extradition of criminal suspects to China.CreditHector Retamal/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Law and Justice #justice

The Right to an Attorney

U.S. cities, including New York and Washington D. C., have begun to provide access to counsel for low income tenants facing eviction. Counsel can be particularly instrumental in helping tenants understand the complexities of eviction proceedings and their rights. However, many tenants facing eviction still do not have access to counsel. Other cities are pushing for legislative change and preventative programs such as the eviction diversion program Richmond, Virginia launched in January, “which will use taxpayer money to pay for attorneys who will help negotiate rent disputes between landlords and tenants.”



Attorney Helen Hardiman

Scholarship Corner #scholarship

“As local governments are responsible for the lion’s share of land use decision-making and infrastructure development in coastal communities in the United States, local governments in the coastal zone will play a key role in adapting to the changing climate. Local decision makers are facing hard questions about whether to build new infrastructure, adapt existing infrastructure to new standards, continue maintaining existing infrastructure as is, or abandon infrastructure altogether.”

Shana Campbell Jones et. al., Roads to Nowhere in Four States: State and Local Governments in the Atlantic Southeast Facing Sea-Level Rise, 44 Colum. J. of Env’t L. (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

Thomas Lloyd

Hema Lochan

Carolyn McGuigan

Justin Meshulam

Stephanie Salomon

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