One of the great joys of the work of the Urban Law Center at Fordham University is the opportunity to bring together legal scholars working on urban issues, which has been at the core of the Center’s mission from the outset. For nearly a decade, the Center has convened annual International and Comparative Urban Law Conferences (ICULC) with partners in cities around the world, including gatherings in London, Paris, Hong Kong, São Paulo, Cape Town, and Sydney. Our most recent, the 7th Annual ICULC, which the TU Berlin Campus El Gouna hosted in the summer of 2021, generated wonderful conversations among scholars on topics ranging from the role of research in urban experimentalism to artificial intelligence in the city to urban refugee dynamics to the legal dimensions of public space, housing, and mobility, among many others, ranging over several days and time zones from the western United States to Europe, Africa, Israel, Asia, and Australia!
The Fordham Urban Law Journal’s online publication, City Square, is now providing this innovative forum—the Proceedings of the 7th Annual International and Comparative Urban Law Conference—to share a selection of the works in progress presented at last summer’s convening. These papers reflect the diversity of ideas and approaches that make the international and comparative conversation about the intersection of law and cities so vibrant. All over the world, legal systems may be different, but the basic realities of urban life—and the centrality of law to managing those realities—provide endless fodder for dialogue and collaborative exploration.
Focusing on migration and the shadow of conflict, Samar Alarif’s Promoting the Migration Governance Policies to Stimulate Inclusive Socio-Economic Integration for Foreigners’ Migrants in Egypt, for example, uses interviews with migrants in Egypt to explore socio-economic integration policies to help immigrants and refugees. Iman Hegazy’s Between Fear and Recognition of New Traditions similarly raises the voices of some of the more than 132,000 Syrian refugees that Egypt has received, highlighting the importance of social recognition.
Showing the breadth of urban law—and the Egyptian perspective—Ahmed Tarek Alahwal and Omar Aboutaleb’s Potential and Current State of Urban Cycling Laws in Egypt shows the tremendous potential for new forms of urban mobility and the importance of a legal infrastructure to match any physical infrastructure.
Shifting from Egypt to India, two papers in the Proceedings focus on particular urban challenges in that country. Nikhil Ravindra’s Catalyzing Sustained Urban Development of Bengaluru through Social Entrepreneurship highlights the paradox that legal barriers stand in the way of leveraging the entrepreneurial energy of Bengaluru for solving social problems and proposing a series of legal reforms to unleash that energy. And in the vein of technology, law, and cities in India, Tarun Arora’s Legal Remedies against Pharmaceuticals tackles the challenge of pharmaceutical waste in urban environments in Punjab State.
Technology is also at the heart of two other papers in the Proceedings. Fernanda Catao and Igor Baden Powell’s Brazilian Cities and Facial Recognition: A Threat to Privacy focuses on one of the more important emerging urban technologies—facial recognition—to draw lessons for policymakers from the experience of cities in Brazil. And Emile Loza de Siles’s AI Governance Now widens the lens to propose a comprehensive legal approach to the governance of artificial intelligence.
Finally, in Cities and Companies: A Critical View of the Sectoral Inclusion of the South African, Municipal Councils in King IV, Isolde deVilliers argues that when South African cities are thought of as corporate entities, with residents as shareholders, the sense of the city as a public space is lost, focusing on the “King IV” report in the context of protests in July 2021 against the imprisonment of former president Jacob Zuma.
As these brief descriptions of the works in progress that make up these Proceedings hopefully make clear, legal scholars around the world are grappling with some of the most important urban questions with creativity and great insight. With thanks to Courtney Vice for overseeing the publication and JR Alade, Fay Dawodu, and Joseph Rametta for their editorial work, and to Christopher White for managing the 7th Annual ICULC, we are all delighted to share a small, but vibrant, sample of the urban law conversation.
— Professor Nestor Davidson,
Founder and Faculty Director of the Urban Law Center
“I am happy that the Fordham Urban Law Journal and the Urban Law Center could collaborate to create a place to share even more urban-based scholarship with the legal community. The works from the 7th Annual ICULC proceedings are the first in, what I hope to be, an annual online presentation of writing generated from the Annual ICULC.”
– Shazell Archer, Fordham ULJ Editor-in-Chief
ARTICLES & ABSTRACTS
Abstract: Cities around the world are facing rapid demographic changes due to migration. As a result, migrant integration has gained significant global interest by promoting inclusive policies and creating inclusive cities. Diversity of population origins and skills enable economic productivity and offer inhabitants a better quality of life. Migration governance policies force expanding economic opportunities for both the immigrants and the host communities. Egypt is currently hosting many migrants and refugees from Syria, Iraq, Palestine, and Sudan who face socio-economic challenges with the new society. At the same time, like any host community, Egypt faces the challenges of lowering the level of unemployment, informality, and the social tensions related to the competition on available economic opportunities.
This paper explores the migration socio-economic integration policies that can support the Egypt case, as well as policies that help immigrants and refugees become an active part of society. The paper involves an online questionnaire with migrants’ entrepreneurs and workers. The paper also reviews and reports the relevant policy documents and studies prepared by researchers and the various entities related to the research topic. Upon initially investigating how migrants in the Egyptian cities contribute to the local economic and social domain, one finds a certain degree of successful socio-economic integration for Syrian migrants, which is not the case for other migrants. However, several challenges persist, mainly the lack of enforcement, the coordination amongst various entities, the formalization of businesses, and the recognition of enterprises. Results and findings include recommendations on what needs to be promoted in respect to migration governance in Egypt.
Brazilian Cities and Facial Recognition: A Threat to Privacy
Fernanda Catao & Igor Baden Powell
Legal Remedies against Pharmaceuticals
Abstract: This work was presented at the 7th Annual International and Comparative Urban Law Conference on July 17, 2021 and proposes a multipronged and comprehensive framework by which public and private actors can effectively reduce unlawful disposal of expired or discarded pharmaceutical compounds. The work focuses its remarks on the harmful environmental effects of improper discharge of pharmaceutical compounds in the urban areas of the State of Punjab. The work critically examines existing legal and regulatory mechanisms, gaps in the implementation of those mechanisms, as well as the lack of public participation in the proper disposal of pharmaceuticals. The work proposes an integrated approach that implements refined legal and regulatory frameworks, technology, and scientific research on the prevalence of pharmaceutical compounds in the environment.
Between Fear and Recognition of New Traditions
Abstract: Since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011, millions of Syrians have been displaced either as refugees or migrants. Until March 2021, Egypt officially received 132,000 Syrian asylum seekers. This paper aims to qualitatively hear Syrian refugees’ voices in order to better understand their daily life interactions and socio-cultural impact in the host society of Egypt, relying on site visits, observations, and interviews with both refugees and Egyptian citizens. This paper demonstrates that social recognition, such as in the 6th of October City, is far more effective than legal recognition. With refugees importing their Syrian traditions to their Egyptian settlements, they have become increasingly socially recognized through their socio-cultural impact on Egypt’s host society. This is in spite of difficulties Syrians face in remaining legally in Egypt as refugees, including the inability to register businesses absent a partnership with an Egyptian citizen or have bank accounts.
Abstract: Bengaluru, the city named as the World’s most dynamic city by World Economic Forum in 2017; besides being India’s tech capital, is known for innovation, technological progress being home to several startups, social enterprises and entrepreneurs. Social entrepreneurship is defined as solving social problems through innovative ways categorized by their openness to learning and driven by social and ecological values.
Several urban law governance approaches are in place to support social enterprises, however the challenges linked to it are numerous. At the National Level: long-pending policies, taxation issues, hurdles are faced by startups in terms of infrastructure and bureaucracy. At Karnataka State Level: not having favorable policies including filing for exit and bankruptcy. Whereas at the city level, there are low awareness levels beyond the metro cities. The Global Startup Genome Report 2019 highlights the low ranking of Bengaluru in terms of policy and research related to social entrepreneurship, having scored just 3 out of 10. This is due to the weak policy environment in India and low levels of research production in related sectors. To overcome such challenges, several initiatives are being carried out with regards to international mobility for skill transfer and with the commitment to make India “the skill capital” of the world. However, the focus has been more on training the locals to be competent in markets outside of the country than within.
The research aims for essential social entrepreneurship policies to catalyze and regulate sustained growth of Bengaluru, through the objectives of exploring the entrepreneurship governance ecosystem of the country, investigating social enterprises avenues in the city and suggest essential urban law remedies to boost social entrepreneurship.
AI Governance Now
Emile Loza de Siles
Abstract: This work in progress was presented at the 7th Annual International and Comparative Urban Law Conference on July 15, 2021, and proposes a multipronged and comprehensive legal development strategy by which meaningful and informed governance can be established for artificial intelligence (“AI”) domains. The work focuses its remarks on government uses of AI, the exposure of people to these systems, and the increasingly predominant model for governments to procure access and outsource these computational functions to private sector vendors. The work applies its multipronged legal development strategy to algorithmic bias and discrimination and the concomitant civil rights concerns that are prevalently raised in the popular and legal literatures.
Potential and Current State of Urban Cycling Laws in Egypt
Ahmed Tarek Alahwal & Omar Aboutaleb
Abstract: Many cities are turning to programs promoting bicycle use to combat increasing pressure on roads and public transportation and support a cleaner mode of mobility. Egypt is one such city that could benefit from such programs. This paper aims to review the legal aspects of urban cycling in Egyptian law and draws recommendations from a comparative international perspective on the topic. The main objective is to investigate the recognition of the bicycle commuters’ rights in Egyptian streets and the possibilities to promote cycling as a mode of mobility within the Egyptian legal frameworks. This paper reviews the rights and responsibilities of the cycling commuters in Egyptian streets and discusses the relationship between cycling and other means of mobility in Egyptian cities and the possible conflicts or collaborations that might occur between the cyclists and other street users or vehicles in the Egyptian context (e.g., buses, cars, tuk-tuks, animal-drawn carts, pedestrians, etc.). The research shows that Egyptian cycling-related laws are quite limited and demonstrates the importance of both introducing legislation and including the discussion of such legislation in public debates and advocacy.
Abstract: Expanding upon Doreen Massey’s After Neoliberalism: The Kilburn Manifesto, this paper argues that the corporate characterization of South African cities seen in the King IV report will create a loss of the sense of the city as a public space. Set against the background of the July 2021 protests against the imprisonment of former president Jacob Zuma, the paper argues that the disparity seen in those affected by the protests was caused by persistent divisions and inequalities throughout the county. With the King IV report calling inhabitants of the city shareholders of the municipality, these disparities will not be dismantled but rather entrenched. While there are positive aspects of including municipal councils in a document on corporate governance, there are already sufficient regulatory mechanisms, legislative, and policy frameworks to regulate these municipalities. Therefore, this paper argues that the King IV report is not filling a gap in policy but is politically shifting the conception of the city to a business perspective, which may have negative implications for South Africa.