Category Archives: Urban Issues

Op-Ed: “Making America White Again”

Toni Morrison, Making America White Again, The New Yorker, November 21, 2106. [“The choices made by white men, who are prepared to abandon their humanity out of fear of black men and women, suggest the true horror of lost status.”]

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New Article: “Cities, Inclusion and Exactions”

Audrey G. McFarlane, Randall K. Johnson, Cities, Inclusion and Exactions, 102 Iowa L. Rev. 2145 (2017). Abstract Below:

 

Cities across the country are adopting mandatory inclusionary zoning. Yet, consensus about the appropriate constitutional standard to measure the propriety of mandatory inclusionary zoning has not been fully reached. Under one doctrinal lens, inclusionary zoning is a valid land use regulation adopted to ensure a proper balance of housing within the jurisdiction. Under another doctrinal lens, challengers seek to characterize inclusionary zoning as an exaction, a discretionary condition subject to a heightened standard of review addressing the specific negative impact caused by an individual project on the supply of affordable housing in a jurisdiction. Drawing from the experience of Baltimore, Maryland’s inclusionary zoning ordinance, this Article considers the impact that the uncertainty in the law may have had on the type of inclusionary zoning ordinance adopted by the city. This Article argues that the conversation about inclusionary zoning,land use regulation, and exactions has been formulated in the context of imagery about development that leaves places like Baltimore out. The imagery in these narratives is of an individual landowner powerless in the face of government overreach. The reality is different in those places where land developers are not powerless and instead are often politically influential repeat players. Thus, the real problem presented may be not how to craft doctrine to prevent cities from asking too much of developers, but instead to craft doctrine that ensures cities do not give away too much.

News Coverage: “Is Anybody Home at HUD?”

News Coverage: Alec MacGillis, Is Anybody Home at HUD?, New York Magazine, Aug. 22, 2017 [a good but depressing account of HUD’s decline under Ben Carson/Trump].

Podcast: “What would happen to SNAP if proposed $191 billion cut became law?”

Elaine Waxman and Jonathan Schwabish, “What would happen to SNAP if proposed $191 billion cut became law?“, The Urban Institute, May 30, 2017.

New(ish) Symposium Published: “Law and Inequality”

I missed the publication of this symposium by the Yale Law and Policy Review so here it is a bit dated:

Law and Inequality: An American Constitution Society Conference at Yale Law School
October 16 and 17, 2015

FEATURE
Martha T. McCluskey, Frank Pasquale & Jennifer Taub
FEATURE
Frank Pasquale

News Article: “How Some Kids Escape Poverty”

News Article: Mimi Kirk, “How Some Kids Escape Poverty“, City Lab, May 19, 2017.

New Article: “The Theft of Affordable Housing: How Rent-Stabilized Apartments Are Disappearing from Fraudulent Individual Apartment Improvements and What Can Be Done to Save Them”

New Article: Justin R. La Mort, The Theft of Affordable Housing: How Rent-Stabilized Apartments Are Disappearing from Fraudulent Individual Apartment Improvements and What Can Be Done to Save Them, 40 N.Y.U. Rev. L. & Soc. Change 351 (2016).

New Report: “The Cost of Segregation National Trends and the Case of Chicago, 1990–2010”

New Report: Gregory Acs, The Cost of Segregation National Trends and the Case of Chicago, 1990–2010 (Urban Institute 2017).

Article: Now is the Time: Challenging Resegregation and Displacement in the Age of Hypergentrification

Article: Bethany Y. Li, Now is the Time: Challenging Resegregation and Displacement in the Age of Hypergentrification, 85 Fordham L. Rev. 1189 (2016).

Gentrification is reaching a tipping point of resegregating urban space in global cities like New York and San Francisco, often spurred by seemingly neutral government policies. The displacement resulting from gentrification forces low-income people from their homes into areas of concentrated poverty. Low-income communities consequently lose space, place, social capital, and cultural wealth that residents and small businesses have spent decades building up. This Article argues that communities at this tipping point must integrate litigation strategies directly aimed at stemming the adverse impacts of gentrification. Community organizing is integral to antidisplacement efforts, but litigation—and its injunctive powers—should play a larger role in protecting residents in hypergentrified neighborhoods. Using a rezoning that spurred gentrification in New York City’s Chinatown and Lower East Side as a case study, this Article considers how the Fair Housing Act, state constitutions, and a new vision of property law could counter the negative and often racially discriminatory effects of gentrification on low-income communities.

Article: Spaces for Sharing: Micro Units Amid the Shift from Ownership to Access

Article: John Infranca, Spaces for Sharing: Micro Units Amid the Shift from Ownership to Access, 43 Fordham Urb. L.J. (forthcoming).

This article, written for the Fordham Urban Law Journal’s symposium entitled Sharing Economy, Sharing City: Urban Law and the New Economy, explores the interaction between the sharing or peer-to-peer economy and new forms of housing, particularly micro-units. Certain components of the sharing economy, such as car sharing and co-working, rely on sufficient demand, typically produced by residents within close proximity to an asset-hub. Trade in the idle capacity of privately-owned goods frequently depends upon potential users sufficiently nearby to render sharing convenient. Land use regulations that permit development of micro-units may increase density to levels that better support a sharing economy infrastructure. The sharing economy is also frequently invoked to explain consumer demand for such units – as potential residents choose to forego space and rely on shared resources. Developers have sought to make micro-units more attractive to potential residents by providing access, sometimes on-site, to car and bicycle sharing. Such resources also may ease worries of neighbors concerned about increased density and some local governments have begun to consider the provision of sharing economy infrastructure in the land use approval process. In addition, certain new forms of residential development more expressly incorporate a culture of sharing and at times explicitly identify as a component of the sharing economy.

This article sketches out some of the theoretical and practical implications of the relationship between micro-units and housing more generally and the sharing economy. Even as many micro-unit residents embrace the sharing economy to complement their small living spaces, these units provide residents with an alternative to perhaps the simplest form of contemporary property sharing – living with roommates. They represent a turn away from certain informal sharing of property (kitchen items and food, living room furniture, music and book collections) towards more formal sharing through the peer-to-peer economy. The new exchanges of personal property facilitated by the sharing economy thereby simultaneously enable the increased privatization of an individual’s residence.

As the sharing economy reshapes cities it is also changing the types of housing demanded by urban residents. This article suggests that as cities revise existing regulations to respond to both the growing demand for micro-units and the expanding role of the sharing economy in urban areas, they should more carefully consider the potential synergies between these phenomena.