• Urban Law Bulletin

The Urban Law Bulletin: November 7, 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

Inside a Wealthy Suburban Bid to Oust a Law Firm Fighting Segregation

In Westport, CT, Timothy Hollister of Shipman & Goodwin, who represents a developer seeking to build affordable housing near Westport’s train station, stated in an investigatory report that the city’s zoning requirements “prevent development that would bring up a more economically and racially diverse housing population.” Hollister was challenging a waiver granting Westport an exemption from a state housing law. Hollister apologized after Westport’s Town Council called the remarks “inflammatory and insulting” and threatened to end the law firm’s decades-long contract with the Westport Board of Education.

Westport, one of the most affluent towns in Connecticut, has been the site of fierce battles over efforts to build affordable housing. Shutterstock


Housing and Development #housing

Facebook Pledges $1 Billion to Ease Housing Crisis Inflamed by Big Tech

Facebook pledged “$1 billion in a package of grants, loans and land toward” building 20,000 new housing units to ease California’s “severe [housing] crunch.” These contributions mirror recent grants that other technology companies, including Google and Microsoft, have given to the state.

Outside Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. After decades of extraordinary growth by tech companies, real estate prices in the area have skyrocketed, fueling a shortage of affordable housing.


Law and Justice #justice

Legal Battles Brewing Between Cities and Big Telcos over Utility Pole Fees During the 5G Buildout

In August, Verizon filed a lawsuit against the city of Rochester alleging that a city ordinance permitting annual utility pole fees of $1,500 violates a 2018 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) order limiting fees to $270. The lawsuit “represents an increasingly common public-private struggle in the race to 5G.” Because 5G wireless technology requires implementing new infrastructure, multiple cities view the FCC’s order as “imped[ing] their ability to oversee public property and ensure the well-being of their residents” and have also filed suit.


Scholarship Corner #scholarship

“Cities across the Rust Belt are implementing immigrant-driven revitalization strategies to address their myriad social problems. These strategies address both immigration enforcement and the other issues that immigrants face while resettling. These strategies raise an important point: if we want to truly understand immigrants’ experiences and rights within a community, we must look beyond whether they live in a sanctuary city . . . and consider other local laws and policies that affect their ability to integrate into a community.”

Emily A. Shrider, Welcoming Cities, Welcoming Policies? Immigration Policymaking and Immigrant Renewal Strategies in the Rust Belt, S. Cal. Interdisc. L.J. 661, 662 (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