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City & Society

Laws of the Street

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Abstract

Critical urban studies scholarship has documented numerous particular uses and misuses of law in urban contexts. This article argues that case studies of specific campaigns about urban space are insufficient, and that if we want to understand the quotidian negotiation of urban norms and urban order we need to undertake systematic studies of the everyday, largely unpublicized workings of the whole array of municipal legal tools that influence how spaces and activities are organized. This argument is pursued by way of an inventory of all the legal forces converging on a single streetcorner, the intersection of Bloor and Saint George streets in Toronto. Since Toronto's legal arsenal is very similar to that used by North American cities generally, the inventory is of more than local interest.

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