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Ownership and belonging in urban green space.

Abram, Simone and Blandy, Sarah (2018) 'Ownership and belonging in urban green space.', in Legal strategies for the development and protection of communal property. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 177-201. Proceedings of the British Academy.


This paper uses a case study of an urban public park to re-problematize the notion of common urban green space. The chapter examines connections between: legal property ownership of parks which are accessible to the public; arrangements for governance and for participation in decision-making; and community 'belonging' and 'ownership' in relation to parks. The paper draws on property law and theory, anthropology, legal geography and recent work on the commons to examine these topical and important issues. Parks are a type of property that fits awkwardly into legal analysis and practice. We consider the layered and shifting meanings and understandings of common property and its governance in relation to parks. Our particular focus is Heeley People's Park, owned and managed by Heeley Development Trust (HDT), a charitable trust and company limited by guarantee, and its connections with two other Sheffield parks. The paper argues that the mismatch between property arrangements for parks, and the understanding and narrative of belonging and ownership, undermines efforts to secure the funding needed to secure parks as an important community resource.

Item Type:Book chapter
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Publisher statement:Abram, Simone & Blandy, Sarah (2018). Ownership and belonging in urban green space. In Legal Strategies for the Development and Protection of Communal Property. Xu, Ting & Clarke, Alison Oxford: Oxford University Press. 177-201, reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press
Date accepted:03 November 2017
Date deposited:12 October 2018
Date of first online publication:04 October 2018
Date first made open access:04 October 2020

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