Through a detailed examination of PARK(ing) Day, a loosely organized international event to reclaim street space from cars, this paper reveals the intimate connection between property and its social and material context. Private claims to public streets are not uncommon. In some cases, such claims are swiftly rejected. In others, they receive recognition and respect. Focusing on the particular set of proprietary claims within PARK(ing) Day, this paper examines the ways in which property on city streets is claimed and contested. Drawing primarily on fieldwork in Sydney, Australia, the analysis emphasizes the degree to which property depends on the networks in which it is situated. PARK(ing) Day was based on a creative rereading of the property producible by paying a parking meter, and this link with legality plays a key role in the event. Yet the property at issue is based on much more than that simple transaction. A more emergent and socially constructed conception of ownership is central in understanding both the making of claims to city streets on PARK(ing) Day and the range of responses they generate.
Amelia Thorpe is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law at UNSW, where she teaches and researches in planning and environmental law. Amelia studied Architecture and City Policy before Law, and worked for several years in the planning, housing and transport departments for the state government in Western Australia. Her research centres on urban governance, ranging from small scale, citizen-led initiatives to institutional frameworks for decision-making in planning and development. Prior to joining UNSW in 2012, Amelia worked at EDONSW, leading community outreach programs in NSW and the South Pacific. Amelia studied law at the University of Oxford (BA(Hons)), Harvard Law School (LLM) and ANU (PhD), and is a member of the New York Bar.