Project Symposiums

Landscape, Law, and Spatial Justice Symposium

12-13 May 2022

Museum of Literature, Ireland (MoLI), UCD Newman House, St. Stephen's Green

Landscape is a central subject of inquiry in multiple disciplines including geography, planning, architecture, ecology, archaeology, and visual arts, yet the discipline with arguably the most influence on landscape – law – is largely absent from landscape scholarship. Law conceptualizes land primarily as property, and the interpretation of property rights in land emphasizes abstract qualities of ownership and alienability. This is at odds with the lived-in understandings of land that predated property when land was originally characterized by a symbiotic relationship between people and place, or landscape (Olwig 1996).

Landscape has been disengaging from its overtly aesthetic associations in recent decades to reclaim some of its legal identity, in the sense of place-oriented rights and duties and themes of social justice and sustainability. The relationship between law and landscape is far-reaching, touching on human rights, environmental protection, cultural heritage law, property law, and spatial justice. Landscape norms now include not only protection measures, but also an acknowledgement of the rights of communities to participate in the decisions affecting their landscapes (Strecker 2018).

Our overarching goal is to build on this momentum by exploring, confronting, and expanding the link between landscape and law in the pursuit of spatial justice. The symposium will explore this relationship via abstract versus lived-in rights to landscape, the question of who has rights, and how we might recover elements of substantive landscape in law by reimagining and reconfiguring property. Landscape is increasingly being employed (including beyond Europe) as an umbrella term for collective action. How are contestations over landscape articulated in reference to legal norms, and what other forms of discourse are they situated in locally, nationally, or transnationally?

Submission process

We are inviting proposals for papers exploring the linkages between landscape, law, and spatial justice (interdisciplinary approaches welcome). Cross-cutting themes include the ongoing legacies of colonialism via land governance today, as well as the need to confront and interrogate (property) law’s role as a tool of empire AND potential as a vehicle for progressive change.

Relevant themes include, but are not limited to:

  1. Landscape and spatially (un)just consequences/legacies of law.
  2. The limits and possibilities of landscape for contesting land acquisition, or securing use and access rights.
  3. Landscape communities, collective rights, and legal standing.
  4. The use of landscape as a term for collective action beyond Europe.
  5. Decolonizing property rights, progressive property, and landscape futures.

To submit a paper proposal, please send a 400-word (max) abstract, biographical details of no more than 300 words, and contact information to by 31 January 2022. Please state whether you intend to present in person OR online. NOTE, our preference is for in person presentations. However, for proposals coming from further afield and beyond Europe, online participation will also be possible.


  • Proposal Submission: 31 January 2021
  • Confirmation of Acceptance: 14 February 2022
  • Draft Paper Submission: 14 April 2022
  • Symposium: 12-13 May 2022

This symposium is organized within the framework of a transnational research project PROPERTY [IN]JUSTICE funded by the European Research Council (ERC), led by Amy Strecker, and hosted by the Sutherland School of Law, University College Dublin. In going beyond traditional legal analysis to include interdisciplinary and cross-cultural perspectives, the project aims to push the boundaries of property and advocate for more place-based understandings of land across international law.