• Urban Law Bulletin

The Urban Law Bulletin: September 17, 2019

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


Law and Justice #justice

Purdue Pharma Tentatively Settles Thousands of Opioid Cases

On Sept. 11, 2019, Purdue Pharma agreed to a settlement decision with thousands of municipal governments nationwide. While not all the specifics of the agreement have been released, it in part called for Purdue to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, then establish a new pharmaceutical company that will continue selling OxyContin and other medicines. The agreement also called for this new company to donate drugs for addiction treatment and overdose reversal.

Purdue Pharma, based in Stamford, Conn., would file for bankruptcy under a tentative settlement. Its signature opioid, OxyContin, would be sold by a new company, with the proceeds going to plaintiffs.CreditCreditDrew Angerer/Getty Images


Transportation and Infrastructure #transportation

California Just Upended Gig Work. Other Cities and States Could Follow.

California legislators recently approved a landmark bill that would reclassify gig workers as employees. “Under Assembly Bill 5, close to 1 million ride-hailing workers, on-demand delivery drivers, manicurists, and janitors . . . will be eligible for the same benefits, minimum wage, and vacation days that full employees are.” The bill is to take effect on January 1, 2020.

Mike Blake/Reuters


Law and Justice #justice

NRA Files Lawsuit Against San Francisco after City Supervisors Label It a Terror Group

The National Rifle Association (NRA) filed a federal lawsuit against the City and County of San Francisco over the City’s unanimous vote passing a resolution that designated the NRA a domestic terrorist organization. “While it might be an acceptable exercise of the government’s power to condemn the NRA . . . the government cannot apply its powers in a targeted, adverse manner against those with whom it disagrees . . . in order to stifle or punish disfavored speech,” said NRA attorney William Noall.

Shutterstock/John M. Chase


Transportation and Infrastructure #transportation

Barcelona's car-free 'superblocks' could save hundreds of lives

A 2013 to 2018 study by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health claims that the city could prevent 667 premature deaths every year and cut air pollution by 25% if it creates the 503 superblocks proposed in its plan. Superblocks are groups of streets where traffic is significantly reduced, with the space formerly occupied by cars given over to pedestrians and play areas. “We urgently need a paradigm shift away from the car-centred urban planning model and towards a people-centred approach,” said Natalie Mueller, lead author of the study.

The Eixample district of Barcelona, Spain. Photograph: Alamy


Scholarship Corner #scholarship

“According to the 2017 American Housing Survey, more renters in urbanized areas found their current homes through a site like Craigslist than through any other information channel. Housing practitioners and researchers, in turn, increasingly collect online listings to assess market supply in the smart cities paradigm of monitoring urban conditions through streams of user-generated data . . . This study assesses online rental market representativeness at the census tract scale . . . [and] explores the sociodemographics of over- and under-represented tracts and estimates spatial regression models to examine these traits’ relationships with representation . . . .”

Geoff Boeing, Online Rental Housing Market Representation and the Digital Reproduction of Urban Inequality, Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space (2019).


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 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