As people try to remake cities in more collaborative ways, how do law and legality shape their actions and aspirations? Focusing on Lande, an organisation that brings citizens together to transform vacant sites into parks, playgrounds and productive gardens, this article finds a co-constitutive relationship between law and citizen engagement. Established in Montreal, Canada, Lande drew inspiration and advice from organisations in New York and other cities internationally. Law was a key concern. Yet, more than the navigation of particular rules and regulations, interactions with international groups were crucial in facilitating engagement with legality more generally. Just as Lande tells the citizens of Montreal in a very grounded way that ‘this land is yours’, the relational and material ways in which the group’s international precursors engage and (re)develop understandings of law and ownership provide powerful invitations to reshape the city and one’s place in it.
Amelia Thorpe, ‘This Land is Yours’: Ownership and agency in the sharing city. Forthcoming in Journal of Law and Society (2018) vol 45(1), pp 99-115. (The entire issue on Law for a New Economy: Enterprise, Sharing, Regulation is also available.)