• Urban Law Bulletin

The Urban Law Bulletin: November 25, 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

How St. Louis Took a Proactive Approach to E-Scooter Regulation

After St. Louis’ proposed bikeshare program failed to secure grant funding, the city instead created a permitting system for e-scooters to help people travel within the city. Scott Ogilvie, the transportation policy planner in the Planning and Urban Design Agency for St. Louis, said “the permit identifies a number of neighborhoods where we require there to be a percentage of dockless bikes or e-scooters every day.” By installing a permitting system, the city is able to control the supply, rider speed, and location of e-scooters.

(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Environment and Sustainability #sustainability

Cities Worldwide are Reimagining Their Relationship with Cars

Cities around the world are attempting to implement strategies to lower carbon emissions and congestion from vehicles in response to concerns about air quality and climate change. For example, the city of Madrid imposed a ban on gas-powered vehicles in portions of the city’s center after the European Commission reported that it failed to meet “its air-pollution reduction targets.” Beijing, London, and New Delhi are other cities where law and policy tightening car congestion and air pollution have been implemented.

By Nadja Popovich ·Source: Consumer Data Research Centre via Transport for London

Law and Justice #justice

Natural Gas or Renewables? New Orleans’ Choice is Shadowed by Katrina

A power company’s plans to build a new gas plant in New Orleans have been temporarily stalled after a City Council decision approving the plant was voided by a local judge. A news report revealed that actors were paid up to $200 to attend the City Council hearing in support of the plant, which the judge called “a violation of public-meeting laws.” As the proposed plant would be located in a predominantly African American and Vietnamese American neighborhood, community leaders stressed concern regarding a “pattern of imposing such projects on minority areas” without providing opportunity for community input.

Entergy New Orleans has started building a new power plant next to a decommissioned plant in New Orleans East. Opponents are hoping to halt the project and pursue an alternative based on renewable energy. Credit William Widmer for The New York Times

Urban Planning and Space #planning

Salt Lake City’s lawsuit against the inland port hinges on a single sentence in the Utah Constitution

Salt Lake City is embroiled in a lawsuit with the state of Utah over the creation of an inland port that the state hopes will establish an international trading hub. The city’s objection to the port stems from the land being acquired under state legislation without the city’s consent. The city’s argument rests on categorizing the Utah Inland Port Authority Board as a special commision in violation of the “ripper clause” of the Utah State Constitution. The clause forbids the Legislature from delegating “to any special commission . . .” the power to “make, supervise or interfere with municipal improvement, money, property or effects.”

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Judge James Blanch during a hearing on Salt Lake City’s case against the creation of the Utah Inland Port, a controversial international trading hub planned for a large swath of the municipality’s northwestern side, in Salt Lake City on Monday Nov. 18, 2019.

Scholarship Corner #scholarship

“Crime-free housing ordinances and programs are part of the expanding web of zero-tolerance policies adopted by private landlords and public housing authorities. These policies ban renting to individuals with a criminal history or allowing those individuals to live with their families. They bar and expel people from rental housing without consideration for the amount of time that has passed since the conviction, the nature of the underlying conduct, the actions of a formerly incarcerated person postconviction, or the preexisting racial and class disparities in the criminal legal system . . . [a]cross the country, people involved in the criminal legal system and their families are being squeezed out of various housing markets.”

Deborah N. Archer, The New Housing Segregation: The Jim Crow Effects of Crime-Free Housing Ordinances, U. of Mich.L. Rev. 173, 175 (2019).


Now Available: Selected Papers from The Fifth Annual International and Comparative Urban Law Conference

Selected Papers from The Fifth Annual International and Comparative Urban Law Conference is a collection of works presented at the International and Comparative Urban Law Conference held at Mackenzie Presbyterian University in São Paulo, Brazil from June 21-22, 2018 in partnership between the Urban Law Center at Fordham University School of Law, Mackenzie Presbyterian University, and MackCidade, with UN-Habitat co-sponsorship. This conference provided a dynamic forum for urban law and policy scholars to engage in comparative and interdisciplinary dialogue on present intersections between cities and law. The selected papers address topics of urban law such as the structure and functions of local authority and autonomy, urban and metropolitan governance, finance and urban political economy, housing and the built environment, migration and citizenship, and sustainability, climate change and resilience. The e-book is now available on the Urban Law Center’s website here.

Selected Papers from the Fifth Annual International and Comparative Urban Law Conference (Belo Horizonte: Fórum, 2020).

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

Justin Meshulam

Haleigh Zillges