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Authors: Ross, Sara Gwendolyn
Keywords: Quebec Civil Code
Article 976
mixed-use redevelopment
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Loyola University New Orleans College of Law
Citation: 62 Loy. L. Rev. 749
Abstract: As global urbanization trends show no sign of slowing down and the urban cores of cities become increasingly dense, their resulting urban development and redevelopment initiatives increasingly turn to creative city regeneration strategies that seek to rebrand cities as havens of mixed and dynamic cultural diversity in order to achieve economic rejuvenation and creative global-city status. In this context, the tolerance of culture, cultural practices, and cultural differences and diversities are increasingly pushed to the forefront of neighborhood politics, relations, and planning. This is especially the case as these redevelopment strategies in the dense urban cores of many large cities move progressively to introduce housing developments characterized by the close-quarters of mixed-use and mixed- income zoning, including those in condominium (condo) high-rises within the urban core of the city. Where nuisances are bound to arise in the small social spaces of the city that often house competing interests, backgrounds, and objectives, and within the “lawscapes” where law and the city interact, it is instructive to study the manners in which these nuisances are treated by the legal complexes of cities in order to look for the relational treatment received by diverse iterations of culture within the city space. Shauna Van Praagh also suggests that nuisance law provides a useful framework for examining neighborhood relations and the disputes that arise within close, shared spaces where distinct narratives, cultures, and ways of life “are forced into explicit coexistence and mutual acknowledgment.” Following this vein of thought, and drawing on the mixed-jurisdictional context of Quebec, Canada, I suggest that article 976 of the Civil Code of Quebec (CCQ) uniquely and distinctly exhibits an explicit acknowledgment of tolerance that is applicable to mixed-use and mixed-income neighborhoods. Beyond a useful private-law mechanism for establishing greater tolerance in dealing with the neighborhood nuisances that inevitably arise within the close- quarters of the dense urban cores of cities, this sort of clear language recognizes the give-and-take balance and mutual respect that is needed within the city space. This is especially true where many condo developments will be shaped and zoned as mixed-use and mixed-income developments that incorporate market-priced private ownership in order to offset the costs of simultaneously providing social housing for displaced/replaced socioeconomically marginalized communities. As Canada’s Ontario Court of Appeal noted in Antrim Truck Centre Ltd. v. Ontario (Ministry of Transportation), “[T]he important principles of tolerance and accommodation necessary to sustain harmony among neighbours in an increasingly dense and complex society require a balancing of the interests of both parties.” Housed within article 976 is a clear, active reference to the principles of tolerance that are necessary for a sustainable cultural coexistence in the city. I first examine the increasing need for tolerance required for the cultural sustainability of city redevelopment projects that seek to establish communities of a mixed-use or mixed-income variety. Next, some difficulties that arise in terms of inequality, clashing differences, and a lack of inclusion felt by those within these redeveloped spaces in the urban cores of our cities are discussed with reference to Boaventura de Sousa Santos’s notion of cosmopolitan legal struggles and the subaltern cosmopolitan contact zones generated within the small social spaces of mixed- use and mixed-income developments in the urban core. I then undertake a discussion of article 976 of the CCQ, where a form of legislated tolerance can be observed, before I examine the differences in the treatment of neighborhood nuisance under article 976 in comparison to its treatment elsewhere. Finally, the discussion culminates by drawing the lessons learned from article 976 back into the discussion of Santos’s cosmopolitan legality, the drumbeat of city redevelopment projects in the urban cores of our cities, and the potential of harnessing hegemonic legal tools in a non-hegemonic or counter-hegemonic manner, in order to work towards more tolerant and culturally sustainable cities.
ISSN: 0192-9720
Appears in Collections:Law Review

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