As part of the diverse program accompanying the ideas competition Designing the Urban Commons, Theatrum Mundi welcomed Professor Ash Amin for a Public Lecture at the LSE.
In this lecture on the intersections of urban design and urban identity, Ash Amin presented research from the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte, where inhabitants of favelas deprived of formal infrastructure communally co-construct supplies of water, electricity and sanitation. As people work together and the fruits of their collective labour become visible, he argues that these infrastructures become deeply implicated in the making of community and social identity. In turn, as informal settlements become incorporated and these infrastructures rationalised and made invisible, individual lives and the experience of solidarity and struggle subtly shift in both positive and negative ways.
This compelling case study offers a vital perspective on the themes of Designing the Urban Commons, which asks how design could create new ways for the social act of commoning to take shape in London, enabling citizens to work together to generate and use urban resources.