Urban Law Journal Symposium Explores Issues of Accessibility in Cities


“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 citiesboth 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.” Professor Elizabeth Emens, Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, highlighted current barriers that prevent improving accessibility in cities, including those in New York City. She noted that the city’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority is ranked the least accessible of the country’s 10 largest public transit systems, with only 117 of 472 subway stations wheelchair accessible.

Selma Sulejman, a graduate scholar from the CUNY School of Professional Studies, participated on a panel on “The Impact of Inaccessible Urban Cities,” sharing her experiences as a young blind woman, as well as her thoughts on how existing services and accommodations for people with disabilities within the hospitality industry can be improved. In the same vein, Dr. Mariette Bates, the academic director of the Disability Studies Program at the CUNY School of Professional Studies, noted that the trend toward high-top seating in dining establishments may be popular in the restaurant industry, but it is not accessible for those in wheelchairs.

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. Its books are comprised of professional articles, essays, and student notes.



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