Common Space: The City as Commons (In Common)

Common Space: The City as Commons (In Common)

Language: English

Pages: 256

ISBN: 1783603275

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

How often do we consider the availability of shared, public space in our daily lives? Governmental efforts in place—such as anti-homeless spikes, slanted bus benches, and timed sprinklers—are all designed to discourage use of already severely limited public areas. How we interact with space in a modern context, particularly in urban settings, can feel increasingly governed and blocked off from common everyday encounters.
With Common Space, activist and architect Stavros Stavrides calls for a reconceiving of public and private space in the modern age. Stavrides appeals for a new understanding of common space not only as something that can be governed and open to all, but as an essential aspect of our world that expresses, encourages, and exemplifies new forms of social relations and shared experiences. He shows how these spaces are created, through a fascinating global examination of social housing, self-built urban settlements, street peddlers, and public art and graffiti. The first book to explicitly tackle the notion of the city as commons, Common Space, offers an insightful study into the links between space and social relations, revealing the hidden emancipatory potential within our urban worlds.



















It is not only that pre-existing common languages and codes are employed in establishing these kinds of communication. It is always necessary to invent forms of translating ‘experiences’ or ‘intellectual adventures’ (Ranciere 2009b: 11), thus creating intersections between individual trajectories. Immigrants can join in the social kitchens as commoners only if such translations are being worked upon, but translation is not only necessary for establishing correspondences between different spoken

Vienna and the Weimar Republic’s cities were indeed spaces planned for and offered to the residents in the hope of introducing or encouraging communal aspects into their everyday life. One can even take these planning acts as ‘pedagogical’ in terms of the development of a communally organized new society. Inhabitants, however, for reasons having to do with historical context but also with deeply embedded cultural habits, did not seem prepared in all cases to follow the architecture’s inherent

actors. Commoning changes the way collective identities are constructed and performed. As people collectively produce commons, they create themselves. A collective identity, then, is not the identity of a community of belonging. If a community in movement is a laboratory where forms of common are invented and tested, if a community in movement invents itself as it invents its spaces and institutions, then this community is a community-in-the-making. It cannot be summarized in a name or an

but specific approach to human interaction that privileges negotiations and the employment of ‘informal social protocols’ (Hamilton-Baillie 2008: 166). ‘The rationale of shared space is that no one has priority of access or usage; it is an egalitarian space’ (Jensen 2013: 15). According to this approach, when people are left to negotiate freely with others they will find their way of dealing with different priorities and stakes especially because they themselves will assume responsibility for the

comparability and translatability of actions are established as necessary conditions through which common ground is created in open negotiations over the common. And it has been argued in this book that comparability and translatability may function as forces that ensure egalitarian negotiations in the shaping of commoning rules so long as the ultimate goal and precondition of sharing is kept alive: the sharing of power. Here lies the necessary link between commoning and the beyond-capitalism

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