Cooper-Walsh Colloquium

The Fordham University School of Law Urban Law Journal presents the:
2019 Cooper-Walsh Colloquium:
Urban Intelligence and the Emerging City
Friday, October 25th, 2019
8:30 A.M. – 5:00 P.M.
CLE Credit Will Be Available

Fordham Law School
Costantino Room (Second Floor)
150 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023


Urban intelligence is the operationalization of data in urban spaces through data analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. An ever-growing field, urban intelligence is transforming urban spaces, behavior, and governance. While urban intelligence may empower cities to improve efficiencies in areas such as infrastructure, sustainability, and social services, its increasing use implicates a myriad of rights, including privacy, due process, and equal access. As users and consumers of urban intelligence, urbanites face inevitable growing pains, particularly by way of the use of data which may reflect racial, gender, economic, and ethnic biases of the past and present.

The inevitable growth and consequent reach of urban intelligence necessitates increased investigation into the phenomenon’s regulatory and rights-based consequences. The 2019 Fordham Urban Law Journal Cooper-Walsh Colloquium provides such a forum. Alongside urban intelligence industry leaders — from developers to regulators, and elected officials to academics — the Colloquium promises to be a lively and diverse conversation on the challenges, possibilities, and ways forward in the intersection of urban intelligence and the law.

Panel 1 – The Evolution of Urban Intelligence
Anticipated Start Time: 9:05 A.M.

Urban intelligence is increasingly ubiquitous within urban living and governance. To anticipate what is to come in the arena of urban intelligence, from technological, to regulatory, to social and legal consequences, we must understand the field’s roots. The first panel will provide a common baseline from which Colloquium participants may grow. Broadly speaking, what is urban intelligence? What technological advancements and regulatory schemes have brought us to where we are today? What are, and what have been, the sociological and legal implications of this growth? Who, or what, is at the center of the end product of urban intelligence?

Panel 2 – Urban Intelligence, Governance, and Social Services
Anticipated Start Time: 10:15 A.M.

Machine learning and artificial intelligence are increasingly used in governance decisions, including the allocation of social services and welfare. Cities are uniquely well suited to the collection of such information, and consequent actions based on collected information, due to population density. Predictive analytics contribute to determinations of governance, child welfare and homeless services, as well as to the distribution of food stamps, and other social benefits. What are the legal, social, and regulatory implications of such provisions? What are the possible benefits and challenges?

Panel 3 – Urban Intelligence and Public Safety
Anticipated Start Time: 11:45 A.M.

Urban intelligence allows for the collection and aggregation of data, often collected in the name of public safety and security. Initiatives to combat violence and terrorism include facial recognition, predictive policing, and vulnerability assessment tools, all operating within urban bounds. This panel seeks to understand how personal data is collected, assessed, and the costs and benefits associated with the collection of the data and its application in urban environs. How do cities gather such information? How do they contract with private companies? What kind of oversight exists in such agreements? What rights are implicated? How does an era of combatting domestic terrorism compare in surveillance considerations to one in which foreign terrorism is the primary focus?

Panel 4 – Urban Intelligence and the Built Environment
Anticipated Start Time: 2:00 P.M.

From autonomous vehicles to public broadband, and smart lighting to sensor-powered common payment system applications, urban intelligence is transforming the ways in which urbanites interact with the built environment. This panel will investigate how the cyber environment interacts with the built environment, and the effect of that interaction on engagement of and between individuals, governance structures, and other forms of technology. What do governments hope to achieve through their use? What considerations are contemplated in deploying such technologies? How are privacy considerations, and the preservation of legal rights, weighed against services rendered?

Panel 5 – Closing Plenary: A Comparative Perspective
Anticipated Start Time: 3:30 P.M.

We will close the Colloquium with a plenary, where panelists and attendees will collectively discuss the implementation and ramifications of the use urban intelligence in various cities, while looking to the future of the use of data in urban areas. In having learned of the use of urban intelligence in contexts of the built environment, public safety, governance, and social services, how might a rights-based approach to urban intelligence be implemented? Should it be?