The Sustainable Community Development Clinic (SCD) is Colorado Law's newest legal clinic, formed in the fall of 2016. The frame of SCD is to consider the role of sustainable development as reflecting commitments to social justice and to reducing poverty.
The SCD is able to provide valuable services to the community, often in ways that are not currently provided by other legal practitioners. For example, the clinic represents business owners regarding issues about forming a business in a way that permits owners or producers to focus on social justice and not just profit.
The SCD also works with health, housing, and community development planners and advocates who are interested in engaging technical development questions, such as zoning and permitting. Those planners and advocates wish to better understand how technical legal systems generate certain kinds of environments, which, in turn, reflect the effects of poverty, and reflect the intersection of poverty, health, and the built environment.
Students interested in SCD also are able to benefit from a range of complementary courses throughout the rest of the law school’s curriculum. Further, the curriculum offers students valuable historical and theoretical insights into work and labo; law and economic development; and natural resources, energy and sustainability. Similarly, students can explore more focused topics such as affordable housing and food law and real estate transactions, as well as participate in transactional and regulatory drafting courses. Students who are interested in taking the foundational knowledge they receive in classroom settings and applying it to current live problems and questions will find such an opportunity with SCD.
Topics and projects are based on our local community and include:
- Encouraging economic empowerment and development in underserved or underrepresented communities by helping establish socially engaged business entities, such as worker cooperatives and public benefit corporations (PBCs).
- Working with local health departments on "healthy city” projects in which land use and zoning issues are investigated in light of health outcomes.
- Work with sustainable developers on projects that include affordable housing and community or non-profit space, including participating in real estate transactional work and public housing financing.
- Act as a policy think tank on critical issues concerning local development and sustainability.
- Work with the vibrant local food movement in Boulder and surrounding counties, including providing advice and education about typical legal areas implicated in local agriculture, including land use, agricultural law, and food safety.