Sessions Information

  • April 30, 2021
    4:30 pm - 5:30 pm
    Session Type: Works-in-Progress
    Session Capacity: N/A
    Hotel: N/A
    Room: N/A
    Floor: N/A

    Unlocking the Future

    Scholars have long identified the “transportation gap” as a significant factor contributing to race-based economic and other disparities, which persist despite ongoing efforts toward societal correction. It is true that people of color are much less likely than their white peers to own cars. Existing income gaps disfavoring people of color make cars harder to purchase, and discriminatory sale and financing practices place auto ownership even farther out of reach. Meanwhile, widespread disinvestment in public transit results in people of color suffering a disproportionate lack of access to opportunity and choice in the form of jobs, education, nutrition, health care, and more.

    The scholarly conversation focusing on correcting the transportation gap has most often proposed that state and local governments solve this problem by renewing their investment in public transit. Professor McConlogue's essay will demonstrate that such a solution is inadequate. Public transit, despite its many benefits, is no substitute for private car ownership, which acts at the nexus of the above-mentioned opportunity and choice areas to provide a holistic remedy. This essay will examine the barriers to auto ownership which have caused the transportation gap and make several proposals aimed at dismantling those barriers and getting more cars in the hands of people of color. For example, it will take lessons from the subprime mortgage lending bubble to develop solutions that can incentivize car sales and financing to people of color without opening new opportunities for predation by unscrupulous actors. It will also study reparations proposals, consider past federal programs, and assess the feasibility of direct federal support for auto purchases. The solutions it offers will unlock new opportunities to advance the interests of people of color.

    Vacant and Abandoned Property: Acknowledging Racist Legal and Policy Roots as a Foundation for Change

    Vacant and abandoned properties are a defining feature of many urban neighborhoods. While the reasons are varied and complex, racist law and policy are at the root. Though vacant and abandoned properties negatively affect an entire city, their effects usually disproportionately fall on residents of color. Law and policy have been major drivers of how such neighborhoods look and feel today. Law and policy have been part of the problem, but they also hold promise as part of the solution.

    To effectively meet the vacancy challenge, local governments, neighborhoods, and philanthropy must use legal and policy tools in coordinated and strategic ways. Effective vacancy solutions (indeed, effective community development practices) are those that can recognize and overcome barriers such as distrust and inadequate neighborhood agency that result in muted resident voice.

    Professor Malkus' article proposes three law and policy ideas that reimagine existing development, demolition, and resource allocation structures as vehicles for investing in racial healing and neighborhood agency in addition to their traditional role of shaping physical spaces. The proposals rely on principles of restorative justice and neighborhood agency to recommend (i) layering a disclosure requirement in development and demolition decisions, (ii) institutionalizing neighborhood voice (and the infrastructure needed to support neighborhood capacity) in development and demolition frameworks, and (iii) infusing existing resource allocation processes (e.g., tax credit programs, transportation funding) with requirements that acknowledge past harm and shift more agency to marginalized neighborhoods. While presented primarily through the lens of vacancy, the proposals hold promise beyond the vacancy context.

Session Speakers
Organization: Saint Louis University School of Law
Works-in-Progress Presenter

Organization: West Virginia University College of Law
Works-in-Progress Presenter

Session Fees

Fees information is not available at this time.