The Working Group on Property, Citizenship, and Social Entrepreneurism (PCSE) ( is sponsored by the Syracuse University College of Law and its Program in Law and Market Economy. The Program in Law and Market Economy is an interdisciplinary program focusing on the relationship among law, markets, and culture. Within this context the Working Group on PCSE brings together experts from a variety of institutions to discuss and explore issues related to property law, governance, and globalization. The Group will provide an ongoing forum for the publication of important new works.

Sponsored by Syracuse University, College of Law

"The Government’s Right to Destroy" Free Download
47 Arizona State Law Journal 269 (2015)
U of Houston Law Center No. 2015-A-17

KELLEN ZALE, University of Houston Law Center

This article examines a property owner’s right to destroy and the vast divergence in the scope of the right depending on whether the owner is a private entity or government actor. Private owners seeking to destroy their property face numerous common law and statutory limitations, ranging from arson laws to the doctrine of waste to zoning ordinances. These constraints reflect both an assumption that owners will rarely want to destroy what they own, since it presumably has value, as well as a utilitarian judgment that owners should not waste resources valuable to society. In contrast, the right to destroy remains largely unconstrained for one particular type of property owner: the government. In cities across the country, governments are exercising their right to destroy as a property owner on a massive scale: 2,500 buildings destroyed in Cleveland; 3,000 in Buffalo; and a goal of over 10,000 demolitions in Detroit. Through eminent domain and acquisition mechanisms such as land banks, the government can destroy property that it owns, with few constraints on its ability to do so once it has acquired the property.

In highlighting the divergence between a private owner’s narrow right to destroy and a government owner’s broad right to do so, the article has two major goals. First, it challenges the assumption that the right to destroy is universally disfavored, and demonstrates that for one particular type of owner – the government – the right to destroy remains relatively unconstrained. This recognition is important not only because the government – federal, state, and local – owns a significant amount of property, but also because it presents a paradox: an individual property owner’s right to destroy is narrow, but that of a property owner representing many individuals – the government – is relatively broad. The second goal of this article is to suggest that the government in fact should have a broader right to destroy than private owners. While seemingly paradoxical, the divergent scope of the government’s and private owners’ right to destroy can be justified on both doctrinal and normative grounds. More than simply the result of numerous, unrelated legal rules, the divergent scope of the right to destroy for government and private owners reflects a balancing of interests of both the owner and the community in property.

"Indigenous Cooperatives in Canada: The Complex Relationship between Cooperatives, Community Economic Development, Colonization, and Culture" Free Download
Journal of Entrepreneurial and Organizational Diversity, Vol. 4, No. 1, (2015): 121-152

USHNISH SENGUPTA, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Centre for the Study of Education and Work

This paper describes the intersection of the cooperative movement and Indigenous communities in Canada. The paper brings a lens of nation and race to an analysis of the cooperative movement in Canada, a perspective that has received limited attention in published literature. Cooperatives have had a dual role in Indigenous communities. The history of Indigenous cooperative development in Canada is inseparable from historical government colonization policies. In the current context, cooperatives have been utilized by Indigenous communities as a tool for economic and social development. Indigenous cooperatives demonstrate innovative combinations of “quadruple bottom line? business approaches, including financial, social, environmental and cultural goals. The extraordinary growth of Indigenous cooperatives in Canada, particularly in Inuit communities in the North, has also been supported by government policy implementation including financial and technical management support. A pan-Arctic comparison of government policies affecting development of cooperatives is provided as counter examples against the hypothesis of “cultural fit? between cooperatives and Indigenous communities. Ultimately, cooperatives are explained as an organizational form that can be co-opted for colonization or decolonization, capitalism or socialism, settler or Indigenous communities for their own specific purposes.

"Property Management Company in Housing Institutions" Free Download

FENG FREDERIC DENG, Chongqing Technology and Business University

Property management company (PMC) plays an important role in housing institutions in some countries such as China. Through both theoretical analysis and empirical study in Chongqing, China, I analyze various configurations of PMC in housing institutions. In the case of private community, I argue that “to make or to buy? analogy is only applicable to HOA (Homeowners Association) alone vs. HOA hiring a PMC. The former requires expertise in property management, which cannot be easily obtained where multi-owned housing is the dominant housing type. The sources of efficiency of PMC also include competition among them that forms an efficient market in local governance. In general, it is safe to say that when the scope of services is narrow, PMC can play an important role in local governance.

"Realizing the Cooperative Advantage at the Atkinson Housing Cooperative: The Role of Community Development to Improve Public Housing" Free Download
Journal of Entrepreneurial and Organizational Diversity, Vol. 4, No. 1 (2015): 52-74

JORGE SOUSA, University of Alberta - Educational Policy Studies

The cooperative model has become a reliable option to correct or soften the alienating features and dominance of private and public orientations to individual and social development. Proponents advocate that greater cooperation can build stronger communities that foster social cohesion and inclusion. On April 1st, 2003 the Alexandra Park Housing Project became Canada’s first public housing project to convert into a housing cooperative, now known as the Atkinson Housing Cooperative. The conversion means that the residents will not only have the opportunity to develop policies that directly affect their lives but they will also be able to decide how to implement such policies reflecting a community development focus of solidarity and agency. The purpose of this paper is to describe the central role that community development had on the outcome of converting public housing to cooperative housing. In this paper I explore community development activities that transfer the principles and values of cooperation into organizational and community settings as the primary means to discover the “cooperative advantage?.

"[Re]Integrating Community Space: The Legal and Social Meanings of Reclaiming Abandoned Space in New York's Lower East Side" Free Download
Andrea McArdle, Re]Integrating Community Space: The Legal and Social Meanings of Reclaiming Abandoned Space in New York's Lower East Side, 2 Savannah Law Review 247 (2015)


What understandings about property, the community concerns informing it, and the legal relationships that flow from it can we draw from a city’s buildings and spaces? What contending values and expectations underpin laws that both protect property interests and seek to advance public safety, health, and economic well-being in urban neighborhoods? What explanatory narratives can advocates, analysts, and policymakers discern from such laws? This Article argues that the meaning we can draw from these buildings and streetscapes as they have been constructed, abandoned, or refashioned over time is complex and multifaceted. Using New York City’s Lower East Side landscape as exemplary text, the Article identifies various narratives of regulatory burden, scarcity, abandonment, transgression, and renewal that recur in the discourse of property law, and it considers ways in which local government institutions contribute to the shape of those narratives as regulators, service providers, and owners of property.

The Article begins with a brief account of conditions in the late 1960s and early 1970s that contributed to public and private disinvestment in the storied Lower East Side, a site of intense immigrant settlement at the turn of the twentieth century, and, in the 1950s and 1960s, a space that attracted writers, artists, and political activists. The Article then addresses how these conditions also afforded an opportunity for reclaiming devalued land and distressed neighborhoods. Beginning in the mid-1970s, neighborhood-initiated cultivation of gardens in vacant, burnt- out lots and homesteading occupants’ refurbishing of buildings that had fallen into disrepair created a new source of investment in city-owned property, holding out the promise of community stabilization.

This Article examines the legal implications of these autonomous, self-help responses to disinvestment. Initially, the City supported and legitimized community gardeners’ and homesteaders’ efforts at reclamation. However, when land values rose in the 1980s and 1990s, the City reversed course and invoked laws limiting access to property as it sought to auction off community gardens and to evict homesteaders as trespassers. In response, local gardeners sought redress under legal theories alleging violations of environmental law and civil rights. Squatters and homesteaders asserted rights as adverse possessors. Although these legal claims proved unavailing, by 2002, agreements negotiated on behalf of these claimants permanently protected some community gardens from development and afforded occupants of eleven squatted buildings a new legal status as shareholders of limited-equity cooperative housing.

Drawing on these developments, this Article addresses how such community efforts to reengage with threatened urban landscapes generate legal meaning. It discusses how the recently opened Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space (MORUS), which is literally built into a formerly squatted building in New York’s Lower East Side, both portrays and adds to that meaning-making. By illuminating the particular ways in which the owners and users of these contested spaces invoked both property law and community norms, MORUS documents how the squatter and community garden movements helped reintegrate distressed city buildings and lots as community spaces. The Article concludes with reflection on how the impulse to reclaim space also inevitably transforms it.


About this eJournal

Sponsored by: Syracuse University, College of Law.

The eJournal of Property, Citizenship, and Social Entrepreneurism (PCSE) is an interdisciplinary journal dedicated to exploring the core principle that a just and accessible property law system is the basis for both good citizenship and successful socio-legal development. This eJournal distributes working and accepted paper abstracts primarily concerned with matters of property as they relate to the human process of exchange, the fostering of democratic institutions, the building of sustainable communities, the stewardship of the global environment and its natural resources, the promotion of citizenship, and the development of market institutions that respond to and promote a worthy social mission.

Our goal is to explore the legal infrastructure of property in broad terms: encompassing concerns for real, personal, intangible, and intellectual property, as well as looking at property related financial markets (including real estate mortgages, personal property security interests, licensing, and securitization).

Making reference to specific examples of property (in its various forms) we will address the following types of issues.

1) To what extent do property rights reduce or eliminate the need for government regulation (particularly command and control-regulation) while enhancing the environment for open market approaches to economic development and globalization? This includes consideration of the way in which property rights actually reduce transaction costs, correct for problems raised by the tragedy of the commons, and organize society in a way that fosters efficient economic development.

2) What is the role of privatization of State controlled property in the transformation process? How should privatization be approached and what distinctions need to be made between public, private, and state property? This includes discussion of necessary support infrastructure for successful privatization, and consideration of the need for government control over private companies dealing with public utilities, natural resources, and transportation systems.

3) To what extent do property rights enhance citizenship and advance democratic institutions? What role does private property play in creating political elites and the structures needed for controlled development and social transformation? How can property rights be used to make the rule of law more tangible, and to promote civic participation and inclusion? How are property rights related to citizenship issues respecting matters of race, gender, ethnicity, urban or rural location, and other factors?

4) To what extent do property rights promote entrepreneurism, including social entrepreneurism focusing on values other than mere maximization of economic wealth and efficiency? How can property rights fuel economic development while helping to reduce poverty?

5) In a world of global financial institutions such as the European Development Bank, The World Bank, and the IMF, with the power to influence indirect or quasi-law making, how are global property law systems to develop and become institutionalized? How do these institutions facilitate problems related to globalization and harmonization, and what are the socio-legal implications from such activity?

Editor: Robin Paul Malloy, Syracuse University


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