Past Events

NEW YORK CITY, JUNE 2017 | A Jurisprudence of the city

Urban Law Center, Fordham University

In conjunction with Fordham University's Urban Law Center, IRGLUS on 14 & 15 June 2017 convened a workshop of over 20 academics, practitioners, and policymakers to discuss how in many respects urban governance, processes, practices, spaces, and imaginaries are enacted through the judiciary. Judicial reasoning plays an important part in delineating access to and inclusion in the city. Judges have the power to set a particular narrative of the city, and how law and rights should work in relation to the urban. Competing visions of the city are articulated, both by the actors in the dispute, as well as the judge.

A jurisprudence of the city begins to emerge.

In deciding these matters, questions considered at the workshop included: do judges merely repeat traditional assumptions underlying the law vis-à-vis the city, or do judges see the law as a transformative tool in driving forth a vision of spatial justice? What is this vision? Are judges necessarily qualified to make this kind of discursive analysis – why, or why not? At what point do judges ‘overstep’ their reach and intrude on the domain of the Executive or the Legislature – if at all?

Presentations included:

  • Veronica Beck from the University of the State of Rio de Janeiro on The importance of people's participation and the judiciary's activities in urban planning.

  • Marius Pieterse from the University of the Witwatersrand on Rights-based litigation, urban governance and social justice in South Africa: The Right to Joburg.

  • Monica Nogara from the Government of the State of São Paulo on decisions by the Court of Justice of São Paulo in articulating the tension between the environment and the right to housing.

  • Michael Clark, an independent legal and research consultant based in New York on South African jurisprudence in respect of the in situ upgrading of informal settlements, and the potential in this regard for deep democracy. 

  • Vojislava Cordes from Fordham University on sanctuary cities in the United States, able to offer an inclusive polity as an alternative to the restrictive state.

  • Sarah Fox from Georgetown University and North Illinois University on the tension between cities and their surrounding states.

  • Margot Rubin from the University of the Witwatersrand on hegemonic urban projects and the apex courts in India and South Africa.

  • Melinda Maldonado from the National University of General Sarmiento on judicial activism in Buenos Aires in respect of property rights and urbanism.

  • Margaret Haltom from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville on an ecological democracy: judicial reasoning, environmental justice, and public flourishing in Citizens to Preserve Overton Park v Volpe. 

  • Bianca Tavolari from the University of São Paulo and the Brazilian Center for Analysis & Planning on how the Brazilian courts have interpreted the City Statute's right to the city.

  • Vivian Dombrowski from the Federal University of Santa Catarina and the Pontifical Catholic University of Paraná on the democratic management of cities and legal decisions.

  • Pedro Galvão from Potiguar University and the University of Lincoln, Nebraska on urban compensations in view of the jurisprudence of São Paulo and Natal - what we understand, and what we expect.

  • Lilian RGM Pires and He Nem Kim Seo from Mackenzie Presbyterian University, São Paulo on Brazilian urban law jurisprudence and court decisions.

The workshop demonstrated how IRGLUS has grown over the years to include a number of new members from different disciplines and legal jurisdictions. The workshop was also charactertized by lively, informed, and engaging dialogue in an informal, intimate, and collegial manner. We were joined by a number of other parties interested simply in listening and discussing the papers, including Marlese von Broembsen from Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing & Organizing (WIEGO), and Nestor Davidson from Fordham University's Urban Law Center.

A number of participants also joined us for an informal dinner at Spring Street Natural, an organic 'farm to table' restaurant in New York's Soho district. This dinner has become a bit of a tradition for IRGLUS workshops, and provided a relaxing space for participants to get to know each other a bit better. 

IRGLUS is grateful to Fordham University's Urban Law Center for financial and institutional support and, in particular to Wanda Ward. IRGLUS would also like to acknowledge the support of Guy Trangoš in developing the graphic design and identity for the workshop and its materials.

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CANOAS, MAY 2015 | LAW AND THE RIGHT TO THE CITY

Annual Conference: Research Committee on the Sociology of Law

Members of IRGLUS met on May 6, 2015 at the International Conference Sociology of Law on the Move in Canoas Brazil, for a dedicated session titled “Law and The Right to the City”. The session featured three papers, followed by a lively discussion on the possibilities and challenges of a “Right to the City” framework for creating more just urban spaces.
 
In the first paper, “Human rights vs. right to the city: comparative evidence on the capacity of law to promote urban justice,” LaDawn Haglund (Arizona State University, USA) explored the question of how human rights, as pursued through law, might support a “Right to the City” framing of urban justice, as well as how a “Right to the City” and political economy framing might strengthen to urban struggles for human rights. Utilizing comparisons between Johannesburg, South Africa and São Paulo, Brazil, she showed how law was opening new spaces for justice struggles to occur, but underscored the importance of simultaneous non-legal interventions for promoting meaningful social transformation.
 
In the second paper, “Law and the right to the city: the search for definitions,” Bianca Margarita (University of São Paulo, Brazil) presented theoretical work by her and co-author Damin Tavolari on disagreements among “Right to the City” scholars on how to define this right. Exploring the work of several scholars, including the original framing by Lefebvre, the authors conclude that perhaps too much energy is spent trying to arrive at a “correct” definition and not enough on efforts to support urban justice movements as they emerge and on their own terms.
 
Finally, in his paper “Beyond the Island of Magic: Public Space Regulation in Florianopolis, Brazil,” Lucas Konzen (Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil) explored how public space is regulated in tourist cities like Florianopolis. His analysis underscores the spatial segregations that emerged between residents of the city and the “tourist bubble,” as a result of concrete decisions to prioritize tourism over potential needs or demands of residents for public spaces and services.

Authored by: LaDawn Haglund.

 


OÑATI, JUNE 2013 | Law, urban Space and social justice

Oñati International Institute for the Sociology of Law

The month of June began at the International Institute of Legal Sociology of Oñati with a new scientific seminar. concerning the relationship between law, urban space and social justice.

The workshop, entitled "Law, urban space and social justice ", was coordinated by Marius Pieterse and Thomas Coggin, both professors at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

As the world population grows and urbanizes space, size, shape and functionality of cities determines how individual rights are established and groups of people. Contestation, negotiation, and, inevitably, legal regulation shapes the potential of cities to offer sustainable social justice for its inhabitants. The need to ensure integration, respect for diversity and respect for civil, political and socio-economic human rights is crucial in the development of cities.

Interdisciplinary urban research should guarantee this need, and should analyze how the influence of law in life and the urban space, can in turn, develop social justice.

The 17 participants of this workshop, from Germany, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, the United Kingdom and South Africa are members of the International Research Group on Law and Urban Space (IRGLUS), which has been inactive for some years. Between they find experts in the various branches of law, of urban planning, architecture and urban geography.

In the Old University of Oñati, the relationship between law, identity will be analyzed through individual and urban life, the impact of land and planning policies urbanism in the spatial transformation of the city, the controversies surrounding the legal regulation and the privatization of public space, the relationship between property private sector, property rights and public space, and the impact of legal regulation on freedom of expression and urban creativity.

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