6 Legal accessibility

From the post-structural point of view, law is not seen as an objective and equal planning strategy, but can be found on the everyday level by understanding its identity and values. Law is directly connected to the creation of living environment. Law is understood not as an instrumental force, operating on society, but produced in and a production of the social world. Therefore, it is questioned, how law is defined in institutions or in science; or accepted in everyday life, influencing the real, symbolical or psychological access to landscape (see Delaney et al., 2001*).

Very often the meaning of place depends on the political institutions and practices, especially when a place is identified as a certain ‘type’ of place (Gustafson, 2001). Blomley stresses that when law is spatialized, it can play an even more significant role in constituting legal consciousness. Spatially defined environments can serve to reflect and reinforce legal relations of power that code, exclude, enable, stage, locate etc. Here the spatial marker of property, like a fence, plays an important role in shaping a particular sensibility toward spatial use, access, rights and privileges with helping to produce particular forms of legal subjectivity (see Blomley, 2005a*).

Blomley (2001a,b, 2003*, 2005a*,b*) has studied materialization and visual communication of legal rules. He has written a theoretical introduction to spatial accessibility. Blomley (2003) has investigated the connections between law and place and their relativeness, property rules and public-private relationship with the purpose to understand how the power relations are put to work in the landscape. His argument that social reality is based on law is also the main theoretical basis for this paper. In his interpretation, the definition of law lies not in objective categories, but in contextual social relations. Law produces a particular understanding of the world, shaping people’s beliefs concerning their own identity and their relationship to others. In this context, the law could be handled as a weapon and as a mediator. Specific regulations refer directly to the constellation of social relational power, where normalities are produced in tangible socio-spatial constellations (see Frers, 2006). The contextual meaning of law is important for the further connecting of different meanings and consequences, analyzing property rights, regulations and socio-cultural symbolical meanings.

To mention some contemporary researches containing the discursive problematic of accessibility, an introduction to contemporary studies on urban accessibility of German scientific background in English can be found in Negotiating Urban Conflicts: Interaction, Space and Control (Berking et al., 2006*). The book discusses the territorialized significance of the production contested politics of space with the topics of post colonialism, diaspora cultures, cultural homogenization and spatializing identities. Imageries of cities containing institutional and everyday-life related imagining and image engineering, exclusion, surveillance, security and strategies of spacing have been described and analyzed. Berking (2006) has studied the peculiar interplay between agency and territoriality within the global-local interplay.

In Anglo-American critical geography, studies have concentrated on the law, which is understood in the context of legality in social everyday life. It goes deeply into the dialogue between law, justice and space to see which actual practices, in relation to which social or political projects and social space are produced, maintained or transformed (see Delaney et al., 2001). The participative context has been introduced by Hutter (2007), who has analyzed human right standards, police legitimacy, ghettos, white ethnic enclaves, assimilation, hyper-segregation, urban renewal, housing, gentrification, homelessness, gender roles, public space, gays and lesbians’ spaces and consumerism.

In the United Kingdom, a collection of essays Landscape: Politics and Perspectives (Bender, 1993) discussed the politics embedded in landscape. The book gives an overview of ideological and political adverse landscapes, including an array of different alternative voices. Conflicts of places are opened from postmodernist vs. modernist discourse, as well as from the point of view of visual and representation theories, the creation of commercial environments, increasing isolation and surveillance of the working class estates and gendered spaces.

One of the most thorough studies on how law and justice have shaped the Nordic landscape was published by Peil and Jones (2005); summarized also by Jones (2006). Peil and Jones underline that landscapes are indeed locally the result, among other things, of complex human responses to both local customs and central legislation. Legal geographies also extend the way nature conservation limits access, and also creates conflicts (Eiter, 2004).

Discursive theories of landscape accessibilities are based on the argument that institutional legal practice is simultaneously subjectively created meaning, where, while forcing its main values into the wider society, accessibility is dependent on agency and power. But the creation of conditions for agency lies in the understanding of different political mechanisms in landscape, with offering further participation possibilities. Therefore, the meanings of everyday landscapes should be highlighted, as the everyday landscape is the stand, where the re-shaping of the meaning of accessibility takes place.

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