Peter A Allard School of Law

Volumetric Subdivision and the Architecture of Property

Event Description

Three-dimensional property is an increasingly common feature in cities around the world. Parcels of land delimited by volume are becoming the norm, and these separately titled parcels are frequently stacked in vertical columns many stories high, creating a previously unimaginable density of owners. Condominium provides the legal architecture for much of this subdivision, facilitating the production of independently owned parcels, co-owned common property, and a governing association of owners. In some jurisdictions, condominium property may also be nested within a preceding volumetric subdivision that produces independent and separately titled air space parcels. As a result, land may be subdivided into air space parcels, and then those parcels into condominium. This paper uses the statutory regime in British Columbia as an example to describe the phenomenon of layered volumetric subdivision, and it argues that property theorists attempting to construct an architecture for property must engage with the increasingly prevalent three-dimensional legal forms that structure ownership and create another level of government in the modern city.

Please contact Michelle Burchill if you would like the Zoom link. The link will be emailed no earlier than 11:45 am on the day of the lecture.

Please contact if you would like a copy of the paper. 


Douglas Harris

Douglas Harris joined the Allard School of Law in 2001. He teaches and writes in the areas of property law and legal history. His earlier published work focussed on the regulation of Indigenous fisheries in British Columbia, and he is the author of two award-winning books Fish, Law, and Colonialism: The Legal Capture of Salmon in British Columbia (U of T Press) and Landing Native Fisheries: Indian Reserves and Fishing Rights in British Columbia, 1849-1925 (UBC Press). Recorded public lectures include “Property & Sovereignty: The Kitsilano Indian Reserve and the City of Vancouver” and his Inaugural Lecture as professor at the Allard School of Law – “Condominium Property Stories”.

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