Shopping in the Public Realm: The Law of Place
Journal of Law and Society, Vol. 37, No. 3, pp. 412-441, 2010
35 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2010
Date Written: May 15, 2010
Through a case study based in Bristol, this article explores how the ‘law of place’ has transformed multiple heterogeneous city centre spaces into a single homogenous and commodified privately owned retail site. Drawing on de Certeau, Lefebvre, and humanistic geographers including Tuan, the article explores how law facilitates spatial and temporal enclosure through conventional understandings of private property, relying on techniques of masterplanning, compulsory purchase, and stopping up the highways. It suggests that the law of place draws on binary spatial and conceptual distinctions to apparently separate places from spaces, applying different legal rules either side of an often invisible boundary line. The article questions this legally facilitated spatial and conceptual enclosure, particularly as it restricts spatial practices within the spatial realm. It concludes by rejecting an urban ‘right to roam’ as insufficiently transformative, calling instead for a broader interpretation of Lefebvre’s ‘right to the city’ instead.
Keywords: privatisation of public space, place, space, de Certeau, Lefebvre, Tuan, Massey, Harvey, urban, right to roam, retail, public realm
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation