The public space in medieval towns and cities was shaped and influenced by the private spaces that surrounded it. The private was, like the public, a complex domain; many interests coexisted there. The pressures of population gowth and commercial development fragmented individual holdings and created overlapping layers of claims to particular spaces. Neighbors' interests also impinged; the enjoyment of the private was far from exclusive. Elaborate codes of property rights and legal procedures evolved as a fundamental part of urban custom. When the property market declined in the later Middle Ages, however, practices changed, and new ways of defining and describing private property emerged.