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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.


Sixth Annual International & Comparative Urban Law Conference

Sydney Urban Law Conference 2019

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.


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:


The Confederate Statues’ Ruling

Robert E. Lee statue

from fordham news: Law Professor Nestor Davidson joined host Craig Williams and fellow commentator, Professor Richard Schragger, on Lawyer 2 Lawyer to discuss the ruling and controversy over the removal of Confederate statues and what is next in this legal fight.

“There are important statutory issues. I think the equal protection question is an important one, and whether this ends at the Virginia Supreme Court or ultimately goes up to the U.S. Supreme Court will largely turn on whether this case is decided as a matter of Virginia law both under the statute and questions of legislative immunity which we typically decided as a question of state law. I think if the case is resolved in a way that rests on those Virginia grounds, we’ll see it end at the Virginia Supreme Court, if it goes that far, and I tend to suspect that it will given how Judge Moore has ruled. I don’t think the city is going to let that ruling stand, or at least they are going to I assume pursue an appeal but the federal constitutional question such as the equal protection defense, which really goes in many ways to the heart of the conflict about what these statues mean and who gets to speak for the community, raises important federal constitutional questions.”

Listen to the podcast on the Legal Talk Network's Lawyer 2 Lawyer :


The Maribor Uprisings: A Live Participatory Documentary

Maribor Uprisings documentary

This event happened on April 10, 2019

In the once prosperous industrial city of Maribor, Slovenia, anger over political corruption became unruly revolt. Part film, part conversation, and part interactive experiment, Uprisings invites you to participate in the protests. You are faced with the choice of joining non-violent protests or following rowdy crowds towards City Hall and greater conflict. What would you do?

  • Q+A with the filmmaker to follow screening
  • Refreshments will be served

about the filmmaker: Maple Razsa is an Associate Professor and Director of Global Studies at Colby College. His films have been shown in festivals around the world, including CPH:DOX, Hot Docs, and DOK Leipzig. Bastards of Utopia: Living Radical Politics After Socialism (Indiana University Press, 2015) won the William A. Douglass Prize in Europeanist Anthropology.

sponsored by: The Faculty of Arts & Sciences, the Urban Studies Program and Fordham Urban Consortium, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Department of Communication and Media Studies


Helping Harlem Stay Connected

Fordham Law Professor Olivier Sylvain

How will a new technological endeavor that brings affordable Web devices into residents’ homes through a community-based broadband network benefit residents of Harlem? Olivier Sylvain, associate professor of law at Fordham, and a team of lawyers, engineers, and entrepreneurs intend to find out.

The National Science Foundation has awarded Sylvain and his colleagues a $1 million grant over three years. The award is part of the NSF’s program for Smart and Connected Communities. The project aims to remedy the relatively low rates of broadband adoption and the deficit of advanced networked devices among Harlem residents.

Read more about Helping Harlem Stay Connected


Benjamin Barber

In Memoriam: Benjamin R. Barber

The Fordham community is saddened by the death of Benjamin R. Barber, the inaugural distinguished senior fellow at the University-wide Urban Consortium. Dr. Barber passed away on April 24. He was 77 years old.

A renowned international political theorist and an author of many groundbreaking books, Dr. Barber worked with the Fordham Urban Consortium to launch his brainchild, the Global Parliament of Mayors.

Read his obituary.


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Nancy WacksteinNew York City Settlement Houses

Nancy Wackstein, the Graduate School of Social Service’s Director of Community Engagement & Partnerships, takes part in a documentary on Settlement Houses on WNET’s Treasures of New York program.


Benjamin BarberCan Cities Counter the Power of President-Elect Donald Trump?

In a new article for The Nation, Consortium Distinguished Fellow Benjamin Barber considers the voice of the city vs the President-Elect:

Global demographics are against him, as are American demographics; the reality of urbanization is against him; the mobility of peoples is against him; and the growing dysfunction of national sovereignty on an irreversibly interdependent planet is against him. In this world without borders, where no one nation can solve global problems alone and walls are not so much malevolent as irrelevant, the cosmopolitan voice is also history’s voice—reality’s voice—and a viable American voice, too.

Read the full story at The Nation


UrbanTOPIAS ConferenceUrbanTOPIAS Conference | Berlin

Fordham Professors Annika Hinze, Director of Urban Studies, and Rosemary Wakeman, Coordinator of University Urban Initiatives, discussed the future of Urban Studies at the UrbanTOPIAS conference held at the Center for Metropolitan Studies, Technical University Berlin.

The 5th Annual Conference of the International Graduate Research Program IGK Berlin-New York-Toronto: “The World in the City: Metropolitanism and Globalization from the 19th Century to the Present” included urban scholars and activists discussing the challenges of changing cities.

The 2016 conference explored the multiple forces of threats and anxieties that shape urban reality, the practices of resistance and adaptations to urban transformations, and investigated different perspectives on the urban future.


Who owns the city?Who Owns the City? Strengthening Democracy at City Level

Unenclosed spaces with an open and unrestricted access not only ‘refresh the soul of the city, but they also empower citizens’, states American political scientist Benjamin Barber in his book If Mayors Ruled the World (2016).

Having stressed that cities lose their citiness when their inhabitants are deprived of their right to the city, the ’Urban Commons’ phenomenon appears as a progressive way to address inclusive, collective ownership as well as introduce democratic renewal.

Urban Commons has been formulated by, among others, Sheila Foster, professor of Real Estate, Land Use and Property Law at Fordham University New York, and Christian Iaione, professor of Public Law and Government Economic Regulation at Guglielmo Marconi University of Rome. The commons in a city could be tangible as well as intangible goods and resources. That means it could be digital goods, knowledge, and culture, but it also refers to environmental and urban commons, such as squares, parks, waters, buildings, street paths, vacant lots, cultural institutions, and other urban infrastructure private or public units.

Read the full story at Changemaker

"The Co-City: From the Tragedy to the Comedy of the Urban Commons" by Sheila Foster at The Nature of Cities blog.


Mark StreetMark Street Defends the Art of Street Photography in Filmmaker Magazine

Mark Street, writer, filmmaker, and Assistant Professor of Film in the Visual Arts Program at Fordham, defends his craft in a new article for Filmmaker Magazine: "In Defense of Street Photography in an iPhone Age."

Oddly, as filming in one medium (the cellphone) has become ubiquitous, people seem to fear the semi-professional more and more. A professional film shoot ascribes to standards — releases are signed, tacit agreements are made, those filmed understand the scope of the project. As someone who works alone (without a crew that creates a kind of picture a passerby might be able to understand) I often find myself at pains to explain myself.

Read the full article at filmmakermagazine.com

Mark Street FilmsLima Limpia (2014)


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Mark NaisonNew Book Captures Spirit of the Bronx at its Best

The publication this week of Before the Fires: An Oral History of African American Life in the Bronx from the 1930s to the 1960s (Fordham University Press, 2016), brings to fruition a project that began 14 years ago with interviews of South Bronx residents about life in the borough before the dramatic declines of the 1970s.

The book, co-edited by Mark Naison, Ph.D., professor of African and African American studies, and Bronx resident Bob Gumbs, features 17 edited and condensed interviews that were chosen from among 300 conducted as part of the Bronx African American History Project.

“If you’re going to have an oral history, you want something told in a way that’s going to capture people’s attention,” he said.

Naison said he and Gumbs managed to cull from the 300 interviews the ones that feature the best storytellers.

Before The Fire

Taken as a whole, said Naision, the stories counter perceptions of the Bronx’s past as a hellish, fire-ridden borough overcome with drugs, crime, violence, and family decay. He said the interviews also form a blueprint for a successful community that’s marked in particular by decent housing, good schools, and an unusual openness (for the times) to racial integration, as black families moved to the area from Harlem.

Read the story at Fordham News


Michael PetersYale Professor Michael Peters presents “Cheap Industrial Workers and the Big Push: Evidence from Germany’s post-war population transfer”

Yale Professor Michael Peters examines the development impacts of one of the 20th Century’s largest population transfers.

After WWII more than 8 million Germans were transferred to Western Germany from the Eastern provinces. Data from the 1960s and 70s shows that East German refugees experienced substantial reallocation into unskilled occupations. This illustrates how firms respond to large changes in labor supply. “In the short-run, falling wages induce firms to substitute towards the abundant factor. In the long-run however, firms’ labor demand will depend on their technological adoption decisions. If firms’ technological choices are affected by the labor supply they face, labor supply shifts will induce movements in aggregate labor demand… this reasoning is at the heart of the literature on endogenous technological bias (Acemoglu, 2007).”

Read the preliminary draft of the paper


J. Alan Clark, Sheila Foster, and Roger PanettaIs a Livable Urban Environment For All Possible?

The humanities and sciences came together as the New York Botanical Garden's Humanities Institute hosted Ethical Spaces: Landscapes and Environmental Law, a colloquium featuring three Fordham professors.

Promoting innovative thinking about the rapidly urbanizing world we live in, the discussion centered on land, law, and ecology, focusing on the four classic elements—air, earth, fire, and water. Featuring three experts from Fordham University, the discourse ranged from bird migration (air) to legal ramifications of land ownership and social vulnerability (earth, fire) and the many challenges facing New York City’s waterfronts (water).

J. Alan Clark, Ph.D., JD, Associate Professor, Program Coordinator—Conservation Biology, of the Department of Biological Sciences, Fordham University, spoke about Bird Migration through Urban Landscapes. Clark explained how many migratory bird species are in serious decline, and understanding how birds navigate increasingly large, brightly lit, and noisy urban landscapes is essential to their conservation.

Sheila Foster University Professor; Albert A. Walsh Professor of Law; Faculty Co-Director, Fordham Urban Law Center, spoke about The City as a Common Good. “Much like the natural environment, the urban environment is subject to disproportionate consumption, through economic and cultural domination of its resources—depriving the less well-off of many goods necessary to survive and thrive,“ Foster explained.

Roger Panetta, Visiting Professor of History at Fordham, asked “Whose Waterfront?” in a discussion of issues relating to the reconstruction of the Brooklyn waterfront, an example of the newly appreciated relationship of the city and its waterways. “Maritime New York has been rediscovered as the intellectual and cultural underpinning for the radical transformation of the city’s waterfront,“ Roger Panetta explained.

Read more at Fordham News


Practicing UtopiaRosemary Wakeman's Practicing Utopia released

Practicing Utopia: An Intellectual History of the New Town Movement
University of Chicago Press (April, 2016)
9780226346038

In Practicing Utopia, Rosemary Wakeman, Professor of History and Director of the Urban Studies program, gives a sweeping view of the new town movement as a global phenomenon. From Tapiola in Finland to Islamabad in Pakistan, Cergy-Pontoise in France to Irvine in California, Wakeman unspools a masterly account of the golden age of new towns, exploring their utopian qualities and investigating what these towns can tell us about contemporary modernization and urban planning.

Fordham News: Professor Calls for Return to Regional Planning’s Utopian Age

Read more about Practicing Utopia at The University of Chicago Press Books.


Annika HinzeAnnika Hinze Becomes Non-resident Fellow for Global Cities

Annika Hinze, Assistant Professor of Political Science, joins the Chicago Council on Global Affairs as a non-resident Fellow for Global Cities. The Council’s Global Cities program is one of the most visible and fastest-growing research initiatives on global cities in the United States. The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is ranked as the #1 Think Tank To Watch by the University of Pennsylvania's Think Tank Watch Rating for 2016 (PDF). Professor Hinze was honored for her work on comparative politics, globalization, and immigrant integration.

Annika M. Hinze is the author of Turkish Berlin: Integration Policy and Urban Space (2013)


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MaryAnne GilmartinInaugural Fordham Initiative in Real Estate (FIRE) Presentation

Sponsored by Sciame Construction, LLC

Please join Nestor Davidson, JD, Associate Dean of Fordham Law School, the Reverend Robert Grimes, SJ, Ph.D., Dean of Fordham College at Lincoln Center, Maura Mast, Ph.D., Dean of Fordham College at Rose Hill, and Donna Rapaccioli, Ph.D., Dean of the Gabelli School of Business for the Inaugural Fordham Initiative in Real Estate (FIRE) Presentation featuring MaryAnn Gilmartin, President and CEO of Forest City Ratner Companies.


Sheila FosterThe City as a Common Good
Sheila Foster

The Reverend Joseph M. McShane, SJ, President of Fordham University, and Matthew Diller, Dean of Fordham Law School, are pleased to announce the appointment of Sheila Foster as a University Professor and request the pleasure of your company at her inaugural lecture.


Announcing Center on Race Law and JusticeLaunch of the Center on Race, Law and Justice

Fordham Law announced the Center of Race, Law and Justice with Robin A. Lenhardt, Faculty Director, and a panel discussion featuring Christina Greer, Associate Professor of Political Science, Tanya Hernandez, Associate Director and Professor of Law, Kimani Paul-Emile, Associate Director and Associate Professor of Law, Clara E. Rodriguez, Professor of Sociology, and Olivier Sylvain, Associate Professor of Law. WilmerHale Partner Debo Adegbile, former Acting President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, delivered the keynote address.


Greg LindsayThe Legacy of Jane Jacobs

A Conversation with Greg Lindsay and William Easterly

Urban Studies Distinguished Visitor Series 2016

Greg Lindsay is a journalist, urbanist, futurist, and speaker. He has been cited as an expert on the future of travel, technology and urbanism by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, USA Today, CNN, NPR, and the BBC. He has advised Intel, Audi, Ericsson, Samsung, André Balazs Properties, and Chrysler, among other organizations. He is a contributing writer for Fast Company, author of the forthcoming book Engineering Serendipity, and co-author of Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next.

William Easterly

William Easterly is Professor of Economics at New York University and Co-director of the NYU Development Research Institute, which won the 2009 BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge in Development Cooperation Award. He is the author of three books: The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor (March 2014), The White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Harm and So Little Good (2006), which won the FA Hayek Award from the Manhattan Institute, and The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists’ Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics (2001).

Read more about the Conversation with Greg Lindsay and William Easterly.

This event is made possible with the generous support of
Podell, Schwartz, Schechter & Banfield LLP.


Benjamin BarberUrban Consortium Press Conference with Mayor Jozias van Aartsen of The Hague and Dr. Benjamin Barber on Global Parliament of Mayors Project

The Global Parliament of Mayors is an unprecedented new experiment in democratic global governance platform by, for, and of cities. Mayors from cities large and small, North and South, developed and emerging, will convene in September 2016 to identify and pursue in common the public goods of citizens around the world. For the first time, building on extant urban networks, the GPM will deploy collective urban political power manifesting the right of cities to govern themselves, as well as the responsibility to enact viable, cross-border solutions to global challenges.

Read more about the Press Conference.

Watch video of the event.


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Migrant workersMigrant workers and labour recruitment in Mexico

Jennifer Gordon wrote a piece for Open Democracy about the Coalition of Temporary Workers, a Mexico-based initiative that implements collective efforts to advance and protect the rights of temporary migrant workers.

Labour migrants, like all of us, are complex human beings who make difficult choices regarding their available options, yet strategies to end trafficking and coercive migrant labour practices rarely take migrant agency into account. Such initiatives regularly involve advocates, corporations, governments, and consumers – everyone but the workers themselves, who are deemed hapless victims.

Read the story at openDemocracy.net.


Nestor DavidsonNestor Davidson Among Most Cited Property Law Professors

Nestor Davidson has been included in a list of the most cited property law professors, according to PropertyProf Blog. Davidson, who serves as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Professor of Law, and Faculty Co-Director of the Fordham Urban Law Center, was listed as the 15th most cited property scholar overall and the 5th most cited property scholar under the age of 50.

His two most cited articles are Standardization and Pluralism in Property Law and The Problem of Equality in Takings.


Bronx River House concept drawingKiss + Cathcart Bronx River House to open in the spring

A new building will give residents and visitors a new way to interact with natural life in the Bronx.

The Bronx River Greenway River House is the base of operations for the restoration and operation of the Bronx River Greenway and the adjacent portion of the Bronx River. The Bronx River Alliance will occupy the building and manage it on behalf of the Park and public and community groups. The architectural firm of Gregory Kiss and Colin Cathcart received a 2008 Design Award from the Art Commission of the City of New York for their Bronx River House design.


Bright city lights at nightBright Laws, Big Cities

Much of the world population is migrating to urban areas. Fordham is helping the law make a similar move.

Revolutionaries in Bologna, Italy, have wrested parts of the city from government hands. An incendiary revolt? Not exactly. Residents are sharing responsibility with the city for overseeing a public square, a portion of Bologna’s famous portico network, and a public building. Make no mistake, though, it’s still a revolution: a new approach to urban management empowered by the Bologna Regulation on Public Collaboration for Urban Commons.


Bronx Summit 2015The 4th Annual Bronx Summit on Technology Innovation and Start Ups

Presented by Fordham University Gabelli School of Business Center for Digital Transformation in partnership with Urban Studies Program and Urban Law Center & Bronx Technology Innovation Coalition.

The Bronx presents great opportunities for technology-based innovation and start up activity and the support of small businesses with digital information & communication technologies. The presence of higher education institutions, health care entities including hospitals and medical colleges, the Botanical Garden, the Bronx Zoo and other government and non-profit agencies makes it attractive to consider the Bronx for entrepreneurial and business support activities.