Urban Commons research workshop

This two-day research event, hosted and supported by London Metropolitan University together with the Urban Commons Research Collective, brought together researchers across the arts, humanities and social sciences working on urban commons.

The event had two parts.

Thursday 23 June 2022

The first event consisted of the launch of the Urban Commons Handbook, written by the Urban Commons Research Collective and published by dpr-barcelona. This handbook explores various facets of urban commons and showcases several instances of urban commoning in Europe.

Friday 24 June 2022

The next day, a one-day workshop was held for researchers at any career level to share and collaborate on the topic of urban commons. The workshop featured a guest speaker, small-group discussions covering various aspects of urban commons, and a debate about potential research directions in the field.

More details

The events explored the urban commons as a means of generating social processes that could maintain, reproduce and reinvent our lives in times of uncertainty. Contemporary interpretations of the commons posit a political goal, a process of concrete governance of collective resources and a potential form of social organisation. In this frame, the commons offer a relevant proposal to generate processes of social reproduction and ecological repair when our collective capacity to repair is in crisis. The idea of the commons also serves as a frame to understand these as political processes and to imagine how we may organise our lives together based on principles of care and collaboration.

In this context, cities have been a critical space of experimentation. The urban commons transform cities around the globe through projects and practices that challenge capitalist accumulation, extraction and enclosure. Together, they give shape to a political proposal that requires the invention of new kinds of institutions, new kinds of spaces and new kinds of actors in charge of their production and reproduction. Understanding the urban commons as open organisational systems for collective management, fostered by radical democratic governance models, allows us to tackle urgent issues, such as climate change and social inequality, from a point of view that is both constructive and relational.

The workshop enabled researchers at various stages of their careers and from a range of disciplinary fields to come together and reflect on the importance and transformative impact of the commons in urban contexts. The contributions addressed the themes discussed in the handbook, including common economies, ecologies, infrastructures, knowledges, socialities, localities, and governance.

Throughout the day, the visual agency Paraphrase Studio captured the event and documented it in a series of graphic recordings.

A white and black drawing of the busy street from above

Image: Drawing by Alex Axinte, initially published in Kilobase Bucharest A-Z (2020)

Project details

In collaboration with:
Hosted and supported by:
In partnership with:

Urban Commons