This Article proceeds in five parts. Part I considers four prominent theories on the meaning of "access to justice." To be sure, the lines and divisions between these positions are in practice less rigid than this text will at times suggest. Nonetheless, the four approaches are sufficiently different from one another to justify a critical evaluation. Part I therefore undertakes to provide such an evaluation of these different proposals. In this, Part I seeks to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the different proposals with respect to the search for answers to some of the questions related to what "access to justice" means, identified at the outset above.
Part II then focuses more narrowly on the question of urban and environmental rights. It undertakes to briefly lay out what I take to be the principal claims for urban and environmental rights that have gained traction throughout the modem world, notably the claims for the right to the city and for environmental justice. I suggest that the reach of these claims is especially relevant to a discussion of the meaning of the phrase "access to justice." The claims directly invoke rights, yet the answer to what exactly it means to enjoy one's right to the city or to assert a claim for environmental justice often remains unclear.
Part III then analyzes the challenges for securing access to justice in the urban and environmental context in terms of leading theories defining "access to justice" identified in that Part. Part III also offers normative suggestions as to the best means to provide access to justice for the vindication of urban and environmental rights. The conclusion lays out next steps.
26 N.Y.U. Envtl. L.J. 340 (2018).