Commoning property in the City: The on-going work of making and remaking

Anna Kruzynski

I explore three sites that I was involved in commoning in a post-industrial working class neighbourhood in Montreal: a garden on a city-owned plot of land, a mural on a stock-corporation-owned viaduct and a community-owned industrial building “expropriated” from a capitalist developer after a 10-year grassroots campaign. In each of these sites new property relations were forged, ones where a commoning-community manages the space and benefits from how the space has been shaped.

Calculating the Value of the Commons: Generating Resilient Urban Futures

Doina Petrescu
Constantin Petcou
Maliha Safri
Katherine Gibson

In this paper we present a method for valuing the multidimensional aspects of urban commons. This method draws from and contributes to a broader conception of social or community returns on investment, using the case and data of a vibrant project, strategy, and model of ecological resilience, R-Urban, on the outskirts of Paris. R-Urban is based on networks of urban commons and collective hubs supporting civic resilience practices.

Creating a Commons in the Capital: The Emergence of Limited-Equity Housing Cooperatives in Washington, D.C.

Amanda Huron

The limited-equity cooperatives that emerged in Washington, D.C. in the 1970s and '80s were a form of the commons: a resource that is governed collectively by its members, and is used not to extract profit for a few individuals, but to support the lives of a group. The commons are a dignified basis of survival for poor people who are largely cut out of capitalist markets, an alternative to both market- and state-oriented approaches to managing resources and sustaining life.

Working with Strangers in Saturated Space: Reclaiming and Maintaining the Urban Commons

Amanda Huron

The commons is increasingly invoked as a way to envision new worlds. One strand of commons research focuses at the local scale, on small groups in “traditional”, mostly rural societies; this research asks how commons are maintained over time. Another strand focuses on the commons at a global scale; this is political research that asks how commons can be reclaimed from a capitalist landscape.

Theorising the Urban Commons: New Thoughts, Tensions, and Paths Forward

Amanda Huron

A review essay of three books that take up the urban commons: Dellenbaugh, Kip, Bieniok et al. (eds.), 2015, Urban Commons: Moving Beyond State and Market; Borch and Kornberger (eds.), 2015, Urban Commons: Rethinking the City; and Ferguson (ed.), 2014 Make_Shift City: Renegotiating the Urban Commons.  

Carving out the Commons: Tenant Organizing and Housing Cooperatives in Washington, D.C.

Amanda Huron
Book cover, "Carving out the Commons"

Provoked by mass evictions and the onset of gentrification in the 1970s, tenants in Washington, D.C. began forming cooperative organizations to collectively purchase and manage their apartment buildings. These tenants were creating a commons, taking a resource—housing—that had been used to extract profit from them, and reshaping it as a resource that was collectively owned and governed by them. In Carving Out the Commons, Amanda Huron theorizes the practice of urban commoning through a close investigation of the city’s limited-equity housing cooperatives.