• Urban Law Bulletin

The Urban Law Bulletin: June 3, 2019

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


Housing and Development #housing

New Rule Proposed by HUD to Vacate Mixed-Families From Public Housing Faces Pushback

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development published a rule proposing the disqualification of families from living in public housing and receiving housing vouchers if an undocumented individual lives with the family. Housing experts argue the rule puts mixed-families on the street without substantially reducing the waitlist. Secretary of HUD Ben Carson defended the proposal’s benefits stating, “there are hundreds of thousands of children, as well as elderly and disabled, who are on the waiting list who are legal American citizens.”


Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson testifying at a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Tuesday. (AP/Andrew Harnik)

Urban Mobility #mobility

Using Big Data to Transform Mobility for Disabled Communities

Universities, advocacy groups and startups are gathering data on city sidewalks to map accessible routes for Americans with disabilities. Efforts to access data is leading to lawsuits compelling the improvement of city infrastructure censuses. One lawsuit against the city of New York revealed 80% of the city’s curbs were not compliant with the American Disability Act. The suit ended in a settlement agreement that will update all of New York’s sidewalk curbs for accessibility.


Environment and Sustainability #sustainability

Davenport Looks to Solve Flooding Issue Without Labeling It

Two weeks ago, Davenport, Iowa was hit with record level flooding. Mayor Klipsch of Davenport and other municipal leaders discussed stronger preventative methods to shield the city from flooding. For several reasons, they chose not to label the increase in flooding as an effect of climate change. “We have to think about what the next 20 years look like and be cognizant that this 100-year flood might be happening more than once every hundred years,” said Paul Rumler, the chief executive of the local chamber of commerce."



The Mississippi River, which gushed into downtown Davenport, Iowa, at record levels two weeks ago, has finally retreated toward its banks.CreditCreditDaniel Acker for The New York Times

City Administration and Urban Governance #administration

"You Can't Just Show Up": Alicia Glen on Amazon's Queens Defeat

In an interview with CityLab, former Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen spoke in depth about the controversy surrounding Amazon’s decision to abandon the HQ2 deal in Queens after multiple contentious city council meetings forced Amazon to publicly announce its policies: “I don’t think they took seriously that when you come to a city like New York, you have an obligation to engage with community stakeholders in a transparent and authentic way.”


Then-Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen speaking at the Dock 72 groundbreaking at the Brooklyn Grange on May 5, 2016. Amy Sussman/AP Images for Rudin Development

City Administration and Urban Governance #administration

Statesville Sues To Bring Down U.S. Flag in Accordance with Flag Ordinance

Statesville, North Carolina is in court with Camping World over a 40-by-80 foot U.S. flag waving outside Camping Word’s property in violation of the city’s flag ordinance. Camping World refuses to remove the flag despite Statesville fining the company $50 a day, which now totals over $12,000. A petition on change.org has garnered 190,000 signatures to keep the flag flying. Outrage over the incident has led to a death threat against a city councilman and their family.

Scholarship Corner #scholarship

“As the Supreme Court heralds a new era of First Amendment rights preserved by access to the airwaves, technology, and ever-widening forums of communication, the bind between speech rights and access to resources is renewed and reinforced. Those with property enjoy wider freedom of speech. Those with funds may purchase advertising time and space. Those with real property may display their beliefs or host events to promote such beliefs. In contrast, the speech of those without property is increasingly marginalized and, in the case of graffiti artists and activists, criminalized.”

Jenny E. Carol, Graffiti, Speech, and Crime, 103 Minn. L. Rev. 1285 (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

Stephanie Salomon

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