Conflicting rights to the city in New York's community gardens

Lynn A. Staeheli, Don Mitchell, Kristina Gibson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

133 Scopus citations


In the mid-1990s, New York City initiated what would prove to be a long, highly visible struggle involving rights claims related to property, housing, and public space in the form of community gardens. The competing discourses of rights were part of a struggle over the kind of city that New York was to become, and more specifically, whether it would be one in which difference is accepted and in which access to the city and the public realm would be guaranteed. Using interviews with participants in the conflict over community gardens, we evaluate how the resolution to the gardens crisis, which in part occurred through the privatization of what are often taken to be public or community rights to land, transform not only the legal status of the gardens but also, potentially, their role as places where different 'publics' can both exercise their right to the city and solidify that right in the landscape.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-205
Number of pages9
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - 2002


  • Community gardens
  • Property rights
  • Public space
  • Rights claims

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development


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