Heritage Preservation Easements, Urban Property, and Heritage Law: Exploring Canadian Common Law and Civil Law Tools for Responding to International Cultural Preservation Frameworks for Cities

Document Type


Publication Date



Comparative Law, Easements, Heritage Easements, Property Law, Servitudes


This article will first situate cultural heritage preservation in the urban context through an overview of notions of outstanding universal value, the role of cities in cultural heritage and municipal archaeology generally, paths toward the equitable and sustainable development of cities, and inclusive urban cultural rights in the context of cultural heritage where these appear within international law and guiding international legal frameworks for the protection of cultural heritage. The article will also discuss the notion of the ‘public good’ as it is applied within heritage preservation decisions and will also address the balancing of public and private interests in built heritage preservation. This article will further turn to the broad legal framework of cultural heritage protection for built spaces in Canada before narrowing in on the common law concept of a heritage easement agreement – notably, how it is and can be deployed in Canada – and the civil law conservation servitude as it is available in the Civil Code of Quebec.