Toronto prides itself on being "the world's most diverse city," and its officials seek to support this diversity through programs and policies designed to promote social inclusion. Yet this progressive vision of law often falls short in practice, limited by problems inherent in the political culture itself. In "Everyday Law on the Street", Mariana Valverde brings to light the often unexpected ways that the development and implementation of policies shape everyday urban life. Drawing on four years spent participating in council hearings and civic association meetings, and shadowing housing inspectors and law enforcement officials as they went about their day-to-day work, Valverde reveals a telling transformation between law on the books and law on the streets. She finds, for example, that some of the democratic governing mechanisms generally applauded - public meetings, for instance - actually create disadvantages for marginalized groups, whose members are less likely to attend or articulate their concerns. As a result, both officials and citizens fail to see problems outside the point of view of their own needs and neighborhood.
Taking issue with Jane Jacobs and many others, Valverde ultimately argues that Toronto and other diverse cities must reevaluate their allegiance to strictly local solutions. If urban diversity is to be truly inclusive - of tenants as well as homeowners, and recent immigrants as well as longtime residents - cities must move beyond microlocal planning and embrace a more expansive, citywide approach to planning and regulation.
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Number of pages: 272
Weight: 476 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 20 mm
Studies of urban communities rarely recognize the role of law, but here eminent sociolegal theorist Mariana Valverde turns her attention to the way laws from the local to the international shape urban life. This book challenges Jane Jacobs s idea that cities should be organized as small, self-governing villages, arguing instead that law is critical in dealing with the inequalities and exclusions of highly diverse cities. Ethnographically rich, readable, and engaging, this book is essential for understanding the contemporary city.
--Sally Engle Merry, New York University"
Mariana Valverde has a remarkable gift for revealing the unexpected amidst the taken-for-granted. Here, she takes us deep into the little-understood yet crucially important world of Toronto s everyday urban law, governing taxi licenses, hot dog stands, garden weeds, and rooming houses. In so doing, she reveals the systematic ways in which urban law works against the social and cultural diversity that cities profess to embrace. A wonderfully and clearly written book, with a refreshing humor and wit, "Everyday Law on the Street" invites us to reimagine the city.
--Nicholas Blomley, Simon Fraser University"