Researching Public Law and Public Policy in the Public Interest

Mission

 

The Rutgers Law School Center for Law, Inequality and Metropolitan Equity (CLiME) is committed to studying the role of law and policy in encouraging or inhibiting opportunity based on place.  Our non-partisan efforts are designed to promote more equitable approaches to public law and policy amid rapid demographic change, shrinking government resources and enduring racial and economic divides.   Where possible, CLiME’s efforts recognize the interdependent relationship among places in a given region and the most inclusive conceptions of sustainability.

We proceed from this premise:  Communities are the product not only of their residents but of their legal rules and institutional networks.  Stable communities are characterized by such resources as a strong tax base, the democratic participation of members, solid schools, robust civic organizations, steady economic growth and healthy opportunities for recreation, self-expression and meeting basic household needs for goods and services.  These are hallmarks of middle-class residential organization.  Unstable communities experience the opposite—declining tax bases, weakened social and political structures, overwhelmed public institutions and severe underinvestment.  These are traits associated with poor or economically marginalized areas.  The study of metropolitan equity reveals the structural inequality that often exists among communities and municipalities within the very same region and the inequitable processes that sustain inequality.  Sustained inequality is inefficient, unfair and violative of important legal norms.  Persistent patterns of racial and economic segregation brought about through exclusion, flawed public policy and discrimination exacerbate inter-local disparities in ways that threaten the prospects for opportunity across entire metropolitan areas, making them less competitive, more expensive and, for those in greatest need, unnecessarily difficult.  The importance of developing more inclusive laws and policies of mutuality increases amid the growing racial and ethnic diversity of metropolitan America.  Few states reflect these trends more than New Jersey.  We embrace that challenge.  Through CLiME’s research, archives, public forums and collaboration with others, our fellows and faculty staff are committed to promoting both statewide and national discourse on the many subjects we collectively refer to as “metropolitan equity.” 

Please use us as a resource and join us in discussion.