Cascadia Law Initiative

Law student meeting

Creating effective binational, multi-city data science partnerships requires understanding the legal frameworks in which these partnerships operate. The Cascadia Law Initiative (CLI) is developing the legal background necessary to foster collaboration on urban analytics projects throughout the Cascadia Innovation Corridor. As a joint effort between law faculty and students at the University of Washington (UW) and the University of British Columbia (UBC), the CLI is itself an example of the cross-border collaboration its work supports.

The CLI’s initial goal was to identify potential legal barriers to city initiatives arising out of urban analytics research collaboration. In support of this goal, law students from UW and UBC assessed relevant municipal law differences between classes of cities, and between specific cities, in the Cascadia Innovation Corridor: Vancouver, Surrey, Seattle, and Bellevue.

The CLI used this research to write a practical guide to the differences and similarities between the legal frameworks governing these jurisdictions, with particular reference to municipal power to take robust action on homelessness, affordable housing, and transportation. The report, Comparison of British Columbia and Washington State City Powers, was published on SSRN on May 26, 2020. This guide is available as a resource for other CUAC researchers, and will also serve as a foundation for the CLI’s future work.

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