The City as a Commons – Call for contributions
2nd – 4th September 2019, University of Pavia
The notion of the commons has recently gained renewed attention thanks to Ostrom’s foundational 1990s work, which ended a period in which the commons had been forgotten after Hardin’s ‘The Tragedy of the Commons’ (1968). Several scholars have investigated commons from different perspectives, including their theoretical framework and their social, economic and political dimensions (De Angelis 2010; Hardt and Negri 2009; Harvey 2012). The commons has been deeply investigated through its constituent components (Roggero 2010) and through its particular forms of governance; the latter facilitate the functioning and sustainability of the commons over time (Bollier and Helfrich 2012; Ostrom 1990).
More recently, some scholars have focused on the relationship between the urban commons and the city (Ramos, 2016; Stavrides, 2014, 2016), demonstrating that its specific setting in urban environments is central to its definition (Müller et al., 2015), although the urban requires appropriate framing in terms of resources and interdependency with operational landscapes (Müller et al., 2015). As commoning practices reveal a relational attitude within urban spaces (Chatterton, 2010), they may actively contribute to redefining spatial entities like urban islands (Ungers & Vieths, 1999) or enclosures in the urban archipelago (Jeffrey et al., 2011), which features internal thresholds (Stavrides, 2010).
However, there is room for better understanding the mutual relationship between commons and the urban, or urban commons and the city. This applies to the theoretical as well as to a practice-based agenda. Moreover, applies to open spaces as well as to underused or vacant buildings.
The research symposium aims at investigating the notion of Urban Commons and their spatial unfolding in relationship to the City. Taking into considerations the wider debate on Commons and its relevance to several disciplines (economics, geography, law, etc.), the symposium will focus on their spatial implications, in terms of theoretical agenda, case studies, spatial practices and design agencies.
We will welcome contributions investigating and questioning the following aspects:
In what sense the notion of urban commons is actually linked to the city and, more in general, to the urban dimension? What are the implications of this potential link in terms of spatial configurations and figures?
As nowadays processes of (alter) urban transformations are based on commoning practices, co-production and/or by recognising the emergence of commons in urban areas, what are the similarities and the differences in between public spaces and commons spaces in towns and cities? What is the degree of publicity in common spaces? What are the potential conflicts that generates from commoning practices, and how can these be managed? To what extent the right to the city is preserved and recognised among different communities/users’ groups?
What are the historical precedents of commoning practices in towns/cities, and how these relate to urban spaces? Looking at historical precedents, how various rights co-existed within the same local community? What was the link between urban commons and spatial practices, or the production of space in towns/cities?
With reference to architectural spaces, to what extent or in what ways commoning practices/ideals affect spatial configurations or typologies and vice versa?
Further enlarging the field of action, what are the implications in terms of spatial practices and design agencies? How can practitioners facilitate the co-production of space by local groups, communities and stakeholders? What is the relationship between co-production and place making?
List of Themes
- Urban Commons and the City. Theories and concept
- Critical Mapping and the urban commons
- Urban commons and urban space
- Spatial practices/Design agencies and urban commons
- Co-production, P2P production and the City
- Urban Commons and the Right to the City
- Conflicts in the City and urban commons
- The governance of urban commons