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Fordham Urban Consortium

Faculty and students from all disciplines across Fordham engage in research on historical and contemporary urbanization, its challenges and opportunities for the 21st century.

The Urban Consortium at Fordham University organizes and sponsors programs and events that highlight contemporary urban issues. It focuses on engaged, interdisciplinary urban research by graduate students and faculty.

Urban Law Journal Symposium Explores Issues of Accessibility in Cities

Urban Law Journal Spring Symposium 2020

from fordham law news: 

“Urban Cities and Accessibility” was the theme of the Fordham Urban Law Journal’s Spring 2020 Symposium, held on February 14, 2020. More than a dozen disability law advocates and scholars were invited to discuss how accessibility for people with disabilities is considered in the design of cities—both through urban planning and the incorporation of technology.

Professor Nestor Davidson, faculty director of the Fordham Urban Law Center and Albert A. Walsh Chair in Real Estate, Land Use, and Property Law, moderated a panel entitled “History and Hope for the Future.”

In its 47th year, the Fordham Urban Law Journal is the law school’s second-oldest publication and its most cited specialty journal. Among student-edited journals, it is the eighth-most cited specialty journal and the second-most cited public policy journal in the country.

Read the full article by Erin Degregorio at Fordham Law News.

Fordham Law School Launches Real Estate Degree

Law School Plaza Entrance

from the observer: 

Fordham School of Law will be the first law school in New York City and one of only six universities nationwide to offer a Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree in real estate. The 24-credit LL.M. course will take an academic year and is “intended for attorneys looking to deepen their understanding of real estate law or to open up new career opportunities in real estate,” according to Fordham’s website.

Nestor Davidson, faculty director of the Fordham Urban Law Center and Albert A. Walsh chair in Real Estate, Land Use and Property Law, believes that there are many upsides to having a real estate master’s program situated in New York City.

“The fact that we are in the global capital of real estate makes a big difference. If you’re going to be learning about how the development process works in its most complex forms, how real estate intersects in global capital markets … you get a global perspective,” Davidson said.

Read the full article by Gus Dupree at The Observer.

Christina Greer Delivers Black History Keynote Lecture at SLU

Christina Greer SLU lecture
Riley Tovornik | The University News

from the university news: 

Christina Greer, P.h.D., Associate Professor of Political Science at Fordham University, gave a lecture titled “Challenges to Democracy: Activism, Education and the 2020 Elections” to a crowd of about forty SLU students, faculty and members of the community in the Busch Student Center Wednesday, Feb. 19 as the keynote lecture of SLU’s “Black Future Month.”

Christopher Tinson, P.h.D., who is the Director of the African American Studies Program and introduced Greer and commented in anticipation of her lecture, “She is one of the best thinkers on the political fortunes of these communities and their efforts to examine, expand, the practice of democracy on local, state, and national levels.”

Read the review by Mikhail Faulconer at The University News.

Fordham icon Research

East Ramapo trial: Are Hasidic Jews ‘white’?

East Ramapo Trial


In the East Ramapo trial, which began last week in White Plains, N.Y., lawyers for the NAACP have repeatedly tried to argue that this case is not about religion but about the effect of the voting system on blacks and Latinos. And they have, as lawyer David Butler pointed out, excised almost all references to Jews or the Orthodox community from much of their litigation documents.

One expert who has studied the East Ramapo district said that the NAACP’s legal team may be avoiding making their case about the growing Orthodox community for political reasons as well.

“If I were them, I would do what they’re doing, which is try to avoid the word ‘Jewish,’” said Aaron Saiger, a professor of law at Fordham University. “Litigation like this isn’t a purely legal matter—it occurs in a political context. The last thing anyone at the NAACP wants is to have the perception that this is about anti-Jewish animus of any kind.”

The district’s strategy, in response, has been to frame the situation as a conflict not between different ethnic groups, but two interest groups — those who send their children to private schools, and those who are in the public schools.

Read the full article by Ari Feldman at

Fordham icon Research

120 Faculty Sign Petition to Support Students for Justice in Palestine

Students for Justice in Palestine
Andrew Beecher | The Observer

from the observer: 

A diverse coalition of 120 Fordham faculty members have expressed their disapproval of Fordham’s continued legal battle with Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).

On Thursday, Jan. 30, a faculty member emailed a petition to high ranking Fordham administration, urging them to rescind the university’s appeal of the August 2019 New York Supreme Court ruling that required the university to recognize Fordham Lincoln Center’s chapter of SJP.

Aseel Sawalha, associate professor of anthropology, co-director of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and current faculty adviser to SJP, is the second signatory on the list and sent the email containing the petition to administrators.

“We teach critical thinking, open-mindedness and then the university does not tolerate a student organization advocating for social justice,” she said.

For many signatories, principle came before explicit support for the cause. “The faculty who signed the petition did not sign it because they are for SJP; they signed it because they disagree with the silencing of students on campus,” Sawalha said.

“It’s not a good message for free speech on campus. It will prevent students from doing something similar in the future,” Sawalha said. “We need to bridge the gap between the generations; between students and the administration.”

Read the full article by Owen Roche at The Observer.

Mental health data: what happens to your sensitive telehealth info?

Lauri Goldkind - Funny As Tech

from funny as tech: 

What happens to your sensitive mental health data when using a telehealth platform? Is it secure? What if the company is sold? Does anyone really read the terms of service?

David & Joe chat with Dr. Lauri Goldkind about data protection, the quality of care provided by telehealth platforms, privacy, and responsibility.

Listen to Funny as Tech on soundcloud.

Fordham icon Research

How California is Redefining Rent Control

from fordham newsroom: 

In a video for the Wall Street Journal, Professor Nestor Davidson shares his expert opinion on California’s new rent control law (03:27) — aimed at solving housing issues statewide — and what it could mean for national policy.

From Davidson (04:51):

“So if the question is, what’s the trajectory of this policy? I don’t think we’ve seen it play out fully. I think there’s a lot of energy from local government officials and tenants themselves, and I think that energy is actually going to increase. We’re in a housing crisis across the country. Although rent regulation and tenant protection isn’t the only solution to that crisis I think there’s a growing recognition that this is a policy area that’s garnering increasing support.”

2019 Cooper-Walsh Colloquium Round-up (Part 1)

Cooper-Walsh Symposium, Part 1
panelists (from left): Nestor Davidson, Constantine E. Kontokosta, Arnaud Sahuget, Dan Wu, and Geeta Tewari.

from fordham urban law journal:

The 2019 Cooper-Walsh Colloquium, Urban Intelligence and the Emerging City, took place on Friday, October 25th, 2019. Fordham Urban Law Journal’s City Square team briefly summarizes the first panel and highlights a relevant topic discussed.

panel 1: the evolution of urban intelligence

The first panel of the Cooper-Walsh Colloquium held by Fordham’s Urban Law Journal centered around the evolution of urban intelligence. A riveting conversation on urban intelligence and smart cities shed light on both the costs and benefits of a society continually implementing technology in new innovative ways.

The conversation started off with a discussion about the distinction between urban intelligence and smart cities. According to Arnaud Sahaguet, smart cities take on a more specific meaning than urban intelligence. Specifically, smart cities tend to be more focused on cities and residents of the cities, where urban intelligence is vested largely in technology meant to improve urban life for communities, businesses, government, and the environment. However, Sahaguet notes that the term “smart cities” is evolving and may perhaps need to be changed to accommodate shifting ideals.

Throughout the discussion, there were a number of benefits pointed out by the speakers regarding urban intelligence. It has the power to make daily life much simpler and intuitive for the average person. According to Constantine Kontokosta, urban data may affect evacuation systems during natural disasters in a positive way leading to more efficient evacuations in times of peril. Further, data may be used to improve decision-making processes in the public sector as well as to track patterns of urban development.

Nevertheless, despite the seemingly endless potential of urban intelligence, there of course exists possible downfalls and challenges as well. For instance, according to Daniel Wu, urban data used by municipalities can be abused to keep a closer eye on the average citizen. This is the ever-looming fear of “Big Brother” surveillance. Such apprehension , Wu notes, causes a lack of trust between governments and people.

All is not bleak, however. According to Sahaguet there is a plethora of ways in which urban intelligence may be improved, including privacy-friendly initiatives, transparency, reproducibility, explainability, and fairness in the implementation of urban intelligence.

panel spotlight: sidewalk toronto

Sidewalk Toronto, an urban development project by Alphabet Inc., promises to usher in a new age of urban intelligence. The project, initiated in 2017, aims to utilize technology to transform Toronto’s neglected eastern downtown waterfront into a smart urban area that improves the quality of life of its residents.

The innovative project promises:
  • Transportation: Roads optimized for self-driving cars as well as rentable scooters and bicycles
  • Sustainability: Creating climate-positive communities that pursue negative carbon emission through thermal power grids, green-roofs, and clean-tech building materials
  • Waste-Management: Freight-management system aided by underground tunnels and smart-containers
  • Housing Affordability: 500-800 affordable housing units
  • Community & City Services: Connecting people through digital technologies that allow them to communicate better and empower the community
However, this exciting new project has its critics. The deep integration of a digital layer raises a number of data-privacy concerns discussed throughout the Colloquium. The digital sensors built into the Alphabet Inc. infrastructure are meant to optimize public resources and improve the operation of the smart-technologies, but they will also have the much broader ability to capture massive amounts of privacy-infringing data about the citizens who live in or pass through the new urban hub.

In response to privacy concerns, Alphabet Inc. has proposed the creation of an independent, government-sanctioned “Urban Data Trust” to oversee the collection, storage and use of urban data. But questions remain as to how citizens will be notified of the increased surveillance and how meaningful consent could possibly be attained.

Sidewalk Toronto promises new technologies that could undoubtedly improve our daily lives and usher in a new era of urban intelligence. But at what cost? Will the smart city become a state-of-the-art success or an Orwellian failure?

Read the full round-up by the City Square team at the Fordham Urban Law Journal.

Orthodox Jews raise $1.5M for Jersey City grocery

Ari Feldman - Jewish deli story


In just over a week, a crowdfunding campaign for the family of Mindel Ferencz, who was shot and killed in the Jersey City kosher grocery shooting, raised over $1.5 million, primarily from Orthodox and Hasidic donors.

The show of support has been remarkable even for the Hasidic world, in which the importance of charitable giving — especially to those who are in immediate need — is deeply ingrained. It is summed up in a Talmudic phrase quoted many times over the past week on the streets of Jersey City, and in phone calls to potential donors: “Kol yisrael arevim zeh bah-zeh,” which means “all of Israel is responsible for one another.” Now the complicated task of sharing the funds efficiently and fairly begins.

“There are many structures in place, and the social networks are activated easily and frequently,” said Ayala Fader, a professor of anthropology at Fordham University, who has researched Hasidic communities. The urgency of the fundraising is also thanks to a particularly strong connection that many Hasidic Jews feel to one another, even more so than to or among Jews in general. “It’s not so much that this could be you, but that this is you,” Fader said.

Read the full article by Ari Feldman at

The Barnard Student Murder and the Central Park Five

Barnard Murder podcast

from wnyc—the brian lehrer show: 

The co-hosts of the New York politics podcast “FAQ NYC,” Christina Greer, associate professor of political science at Fordham University, and Harry Siegel, New York Daily News columnist and Daily Beast senior editor, discuss how NYC institutions, from the NYPD to media news outlets, will approach the murder of Barnard College freshman Tessa Majors, the circumstances of which echo other past high-profile murder cases that were decades later revealed as poorly handled.

Listen to the podcast at WYNC—The Brian Lehrer Show.

Fordham University Buys Development Site

619 Fordham Rd

from the observer: 

Fordham University purchased a 5,000-square-foot building for $4,400,000 on Nov. 25. The building, which currently operates as a warehouse, is located at 619 E. Fordham Rd., just a few steps away from the Rose Hill campus in the Bronx.



Jill Rice/The Observer

Read the full article by Sophie Partridge-Hicks at The Observer.

Built Heritage special issue on Shanghai

Built Heritage Shanghai cover

A new special issue of Built Heritage, “Shanghai: Heritage at the Crossroads of Culture,” is edited by Fordham Professor of History Rosemary Wakeman. The journal is published by the College of Architecture and Urban Planning at Tongji University in Shanghai.

from wakeman's introduction: 

Shanghai is among the most dynamic global cities of both the 20th and 21st centuries. The city is China’s gateway to the world and its aspirations for the future. With more than 24 million people, 40 percent of whom are migrants, it is a global crossroads and one of the most multicultural cities in the world. It has more skyscrapers than New York and a public transport system that overtakes most global cities. Shanghai is a trading city, an entrepot of commodities. It exports electronic information products, automobiles, petrochemicals, fine steel, equipment, and biomedicine. It has the highest GDP of any city in China’s mainland and has become one of the leading financial sectors in East Asia, with major Western banks flocking to its new financial centre. With well over 500 multinational companies, the city attracts more foreign investment flows than most developing countries. Along with them has come a highly-skilled workforce from all over the world. Shanghai’s urban middle-class has fuelled China’s consumer revolution and a property boom. Sleek skyscrapers and glamorous malls, its brilliant skyline, dominate the global image of Shanghai and beckon tourists to its shores.

 Rosemary Wakeman, “Shanghai and New York: Mid-Century Urban Avant-Gardes

Read more at Built Heritage.

Cultured Meat: Present and Future Considerations

Critically Speaking logo

New podcast with Garrett Broad at Critically Speaking or Apple Podcasts:

from critically speaking:

Garrett Broad is an Assistant Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University and the author of More Than Just Food: Food Justice and Community Change. His research investigates the role of storytelling and communication technology in promoting networked movements for social justice. Much of his work focuses on local and global food systems, as he explores how food can best contribute to improved neighborhood health, environmental sustainability, and the rights and welfare of animals.

In this episode, Therese Markow and Dr. Garrett Broad discuss the emerging culture around cellular meat and the changing space for this product in the marketplace. Therese and Dr. Broad discuss how the animal cells are acquired, the process of growing the “meat" in a lab, and the types of products currently, and possibly in the future, grown in laboratories. They also discuss how food activists can make beneficial impacts on food justice and food sovereignty and change "food deserts" or "food swamps” and the communities in which they are embedded.

Fordham icon Research

Civil Liberties in Cyberspace

Olivier Sylvain

from fordham law news: 

On October 23, 2019, Fordham Law School hosted a packed room of students to hear University of California, Berkeley Law Professor Pam Samuelson, the Distinguished Bacon-Kilkenny Visiting Professor of Law at Fordham, talk about “Challenges to Civil Liberties in Cyberspace.” Professor Olivier Sylvain moderated the discussion in which Professor Samuelson explored a wide range of information law issues, including the evolution of digital copyright law, privacy issues, and the First Amendment.

Both professors also spoke about privacy and data protection. The subject is particularly timely given recent congressional hearings involving Facebook and other social media companies.

Professors Samuelson and Sylvain noted the major differences between the U.S. and the European Union’s approach to privacy protections.

“The U.S. also has a relatively recent and long tradition of systematic privacy invasion,” said Sylvain. Unlike Europe, however, “laws here were in the service of racial subordination through slavery, Jim Crow, and segregation. Civil rights groups like the NAACP and the ACLU brought free speech and freedom of association cases on behalf of activists who had been surveilled by the Department of Justice, as well as state and local police,” Sylvain said.

Read the full article by Anni Irish at Fordham Law News.

Fordham icon Research

Empirical Evidence in the Administration of Family Law

colorful swings

from the regulatory review :

“Each year, reports of alleged abuse and neglect of nearly 7.5 million children reach local child welfare agencies across the United States. With so many reports, agencies need to determine which require an urgent response. Many child welfare agencies are turning to empirical evidence to help triage these cases.

“In a recent paper, Clare Huntington, a law professor at Fordham University, acknowledges that empirical evidence—especially the use of predictive analytics—can improve child welfare policies and practices. But she argues that empirical data must be used with great caution.”

Even when empirical evidence is relevant, decisionmakers must be cautious about how they use it. To guide this nuance, this Essay’s framework calls for more effective gatekeeping mechanisms across the institutions of family law. It warns decisionmakers to be attentive to the potential for empirical evidence to reflect and refract the legal salience of intersecting identities, including race, gender, and class. And the framework encour­ages a robust role for legal scholars to make empirical evidence accessible and comprehensible for those crafting legal rules and policies.

Read the full report by Meghan Downey at Penn Law's The Regulatory Review.

Why a Ghent-like system is needed in the US

Jennifer Gordon

from the center for american 

The Ghent system—an arrangement whereby trade unions help deliver government-supported unemployment insurance—exists in its truest form only in a handful of countries, including Sweden, Belgium, and Denmark. However, the United States has a number of Ghent-like policies where unions deliver or help people access governmental benefits—including workforce training, retirement benefits, and enforcement of workplace laws. Expanding upon these models would increase union membership and improve the quality of public programs in the United States.

In "Strengthening Labor Standards Enforcement Through Partnerships with Workers' Organizations" (Politics & Society, 2010), Fordham Professor of Law Jennifer Gordon and Janice Fine of Rutgers University argue that there is a mismatch between the enforcement strategies of most federal and state labor inspectorates and the industries in which noncompliance continues to be a problem. The authors propose augmenting labor inspectorates by giving public interest groups like unions and worker centers a formal, ongoing role in enforcement in low-wage sectors.

Under a Ghent-like co-enforcement model, government could complement its traditional enforcement activity by partnering with unions and worker organizations, Fine and Gordon have explained.

Read the full report at

Anti-discrimination and health law

Kimani Paul-Emile

from the american medical association: 

Incidents of identity-based patient bias are disturbing for all health professionals, but they can present especially intense challenges for physicians in training due to the number of patient interactions they experience. Kimani Paul-Emile, PhD, professor at Fordham University School of Law, recommends an approach to helping colleagues during a real-time discrimination incident and addressing discrimination organization-wide.

“Despite the startling statistics regarding patients’ treatment of trainees, data and overwhelming anecdotal evidence show that organizations are not adequately supporting their trainees in dealing with these abusive patient encounters. Indeed, 50% of surveyed residents who experienced or witnessed patient discrimination didn’t know how to respond, while 25% believed that nothing would be done if hospital leadership were notified.”

Read "5 ways to support medical residents facing patient discrimination" at

Should NYC reconsider term limits?

Bruce Berg

from city and state new york “Ask the Experts”:

Does allowing former members to run again after a hiatus contradict the purpose of term limits?

Bruce Berg, professor of political science at Fordham University: The primary goals of New York City’s term limits law were to bring fresh faces and ideas to the City Council and to decrease the role of professional politicians in local policy making. Allowing former council members to run again, even after a break, does appear to contradict the goals of term limits. Looking at recent City Council elections, however, many of the newly elected council members replacing the term limited council members have been former council staff, family members, or individuals who have already served in elective office at the state level. They are just as much professional politicians as those whom they replaced. So the goals of term limits have not been well served by its current iteration. Professional politicians are still being elected to the council, even if they are not incumbent council members. As a result, allowing former council members to run again, after a break, would not change, or harm, the workings of the council in any significant way.

Read “Ask the Experts” at

Gentrification in New York

Strassenzug im Harlem

If you go out the door and are surrounded by smoothies and coffee roasters and the Craft Beer is served in jars for a great deal of money, you know this area has been thoroughly gentrified. This can be seen in Berlin as well as in New York at a glance.

New York is becoming more and more expensive, many can hardly afford the rent in the city and are repressed - and the protest against gentrification and repression has little chance. But how do the New Yorkers actually perceive it, when once rundown neighborhoods are upgraded and everything is getting more and more expensive?

Listen to the podcast with Associate Professor of Political Science Annika M. Hinze on Radiobrücke USA:

Sixth Annual International and Comparative Urban Law Conference

Sydney Urban Law Conference 2019

This event happened on July 11–12, 2019
University of New South Wales Law School Sydney, Australia

Since 2014, the Urban Law Center's annual Conference has welcomed leading scholars from a range of urban law perspectives to present their research. Now in its sixth year, the Conference will build on this tradition, again providing a dynamic forum for legal scholars from around the globe to share diverse international, comparative, and interdisciplinary perspectives on the intersection of cities and law.

Recent Papers