Researching Public Law and Public Policy in the Public Interest

Using This Site

How To Use This Site
 
Welcome to the Center on Law in Metropolitan Equity (CLiME) website at Rutgers Law School-Newark.  As our mission indicates, we are committed to advancing the public capacity for research and exploration on a wide range of law and policy issues affecting opportunity in place.    
 
The architecture of this site allows unfamiliar users to descend through the following five levels of information in order to find news and academic articles, primary legal documents (e.g., case law, ordinances), demographic data, maps, charts and tables.
 
1.     Topic searches.  On the far right side of the site is a list of general topics in metropolitan equity work.  This list alone may be helpful in defining the range of subjects covered by the field.  Note that some topics are substantive (e.g., “infrastructure”) that suggest specific areas of inquiry and others are more conceptual (e.g., “economic inequality”) that may reflect multiple fields of investigation.  A topic search will uncover overlapping sources and reach all types of information—from academic articles to maps to helpful websites.
 
2.     Legal searches.  These are accessible on both the far right side under “Legal Database” and the left-hand column under “Legal Material.”  Our always-expanding legal database begins with New Jersey law searches available through the Rutgers Law School library as well as the growing number of cases, statutes, regulations and ordinances that CLiME is compiling in a permanent collection contained on the site.  Although not the most comprehensive source available (yet), it is often a good starting point to narrowing a national legal search.  And it’s free.
 
3.     Keyword searches.  Under the site’s title, users will find the site search box, which enables users to search the entire collection for commonly sought concepts and topics, such as “education.” 
 
4.     Archives.  As new publications come on to the site, others are pushed to the digital rear, retrievable as “archives.”
 
5.     Links.  CLiME is committed to being a repository of multidisciplinary study, which means many individual sources may be richer sources than ours for specialized content.  Our “Useful Websites” tab on the far right of the site provides users with lists of extraordinary online sources for continuing research and information.
 
 
“Opportunity” in a Regional Context
 
CLiME’s definition of opportunity refers primarily to locally available resources—public institutions (e.g., schools and recreation), revenue capacity (e.g., economic development, job growth, tax base per capita), access (e.g., transportation options, health care facilities, food infrastructure), housing markets (e.g., affordability, zoning rules, inclusionary policies).  The study of metropolitan equity sees these resources as the products of place.  Relevant places may be neighborhoods, municipalities and regions.  Comparisons of the resources available to people at different levels of place help us to determine the rough geography of opportunity.
 
Studying disparities among opportunity levels is a strong indicator of inequity.  Some inequity results from the sheer disparity in economic resources that one individual has compared to another.  Yet place-based disparities often reflect more structural inequity—that is, inequities that arise from short-sighted public policies, the interaction among different areas of law (e.g., housing, land use and tax) and discrimination based on race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status.  One benefit of this kind of research on equity is to see the fullest possible picture of disparities and to more accurately pinpoint their causes.  Such inquiries are critical to modeling remedies.  Another benefit of metro equity research is to identify points of interdependency among disparate places in a given region that have co-existed for years as silent competitors, indifferent strangers or regional combatants.
 

Feel free to email us with questions at clime@rutgers.edu.