Sheila Foster

Sheila Foster

Albert A. Walsh Professor of Law; Co-Faculty Director, Urban Law Center

Curriculum Vitae [PDF]
Telephone: 212-636-7771
Office: Room 8-101

Research & Teaching Areas

Land Use; Environmental Law; Civil Rights; Discrimination; Comparative


Sheila Foster is Albert A. Walsh Professor of Real Estate, Land Use & Property Law and Co-Faculty Director of the Fordham Urban Law Center. Professor Foster is the author of numerous publications on land use, environmental law, and antidiscrimination law. Her works on antidiscrimination law include Intent and Incoherence and Causation in Antidiscrimination Law: Beyond Intent Versus Impact. She is also the co-editor (with David Oppenheimer and Sora Han) of a groundbreaking casebook, Comparative Equality and Antidiscrimination Law: Cases, Codes, Constitutions and Commentary. Much of her early work was dedicated to exploring the intersection of civil rights and environmental law, in a field called environmental justice. She is the coauthor (with Luke Cole) of From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of the Environmental Justice Movement and co-editor (with Michael Gerrard) of the 2nd edition of The Law of Environmental Justice. Her most recent work explores and challenges the legal and theoretical frameworks in which land use decisions are made, particularly in the urban context. These works include Breaking Up Payday: Anti-Agglomeration Zoning and Consumer Welfare, The Mobility Case for Regionalism (with Nestor Davidson), Collective Action and the Urban Commons, Urban Informality as a Commons Dilemma, Integrative Lawyering: Na

Selected Publications

  • COMPARATIVE EQUALITY AND ANTIDISCRIMINATION LAW: CASES, CODES, CONSTITUTIONS AND COMMENTARY (with David Oppenheimer, UC Berkeley and Sora Han, UC Irvine) (Foundation Press, 2012)
  • THE LAW OF ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE: THEORIES AND PROCEDURES TO ADDRESS DISPROPORTIONATE RISKS (2nd Edition) (co-editor with Michael B. Gerrard, esq.) (American Bar Association, 2008)
  • FROM THE GROUND UP: ENVIRONMENTAL RACISM AND THE RISE OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE MOVEMENT (NYU Press, 2001) (with Luke Cole of the Center for Race, Poverty and the Environment at California Rural Legal Services)


  • The City As A Commons, work-in-progress (with Christian Iaione of LUISS Guido Carli in Rome)
  • Comparative Urban Governance for Lawyers, 42 FORDHAM URBAN LAW JOURNAL 1 (2015) (with Fernanda Nicola)
  • Breaking up Payday: Anti-Agglomeration Zoning and Consumer Welfare 75 OHIO STATE LAW JOURNAL 57 (2014)
  • The Mobility Case for Regionalism 47 UC DAVIS LAW REVIEW 63 (2013) (with Nestor Davidson)
  • Collective Action and the Urban Commons, 87 NOTRE DAME LAW REVIEW 57 (2011) (voted one of the 5 best (out of 100) law review articles on land use for 2011-12 year and republished in the LAND USE AND ENVIRONMENTAL LAW REVIEW)
  • Integrative Lawyering: Navigating the Political Economy of Urban Development, 95 CALIFORNIA LAW REVIEW 1999 (2007) (with Brian Glick)
  • The City as an Ecological Space: Social Capital and Urban Land Use 82 NOTRE DAME LAW REVIEW 527 (2006)
  • Causation in Antidiscrimination Law: Beyond Intent vs. Impact, 41 HOUSTON LAW REVIEW 1469 (Spring 2005)
  • The World Trade Organization’s Anti-Discrimination Jurisprudence: Free Trade, National Sovereignty and Environmental Health in the Balance (with Ari Afilalo), 15 GEORGETOWN INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW JOURNAL 633 (2003)
  • Environmental Justice in an Era of Devolved Collaboration, 26 HARVARD ENVIRONMENTAL LAW REVIEW 459 (2002)
  • Intent and Incoherence, 72 TULANE LAW REVIEW 1065 (1998)
  • Justice From the Ground Up: Distributive Inequities, Grassroots Resistance and the Transformative Politics of The Environmental Justice Movement, 86 CALIFORNIA LAW REVIEW 775 (1998)
  • Difference and Equality:  A Critical Assessment of the Concept of "Diversity", 1993 WISCONSIN LAW REVIEW 105


  • J.D., University of California, Berkeley, 1988
  • B.A. with Honors, English, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1985