ABSTRACT

The wielding of power can be found in even the most mundane of places. In parking spaces, the power to displace is contrasted by the power to occupy. Likewise, the power of belonging yields the power of right as it is tied to the power of property. Therefore, the parking space is a contested site that uniquely constructs and engenders socio-legal notions of belonging and power. The creative architecture of the parking space renders this space a text from which the notion of a right can be interpreted according to formal and informal forms of law. Formal law may construct and regulate the space in order to foster legal methods of usage. In contrast, informal law, operating as the social norm, comports with legal dictations of usage to enforce expectations of belonging. Both types of law interact to show us the contested nature of a right according to the two primary governing tools: identity and property. In parking spaces, ascriptions of belonging, right and property can be translations of power policed by the parking police, parking office or simply by other parkers.