Designing Commons, Defining Commons

Keynote lecture and panel discussion as part of Make City festival

An event hosted by Theatrum Mundi

Theatrum Mundi partnered with Make City, a new festival for architecture and urban alternatives, to host a keynote lecture and panel discussion alongside an exhibition in Berlin of winning entries to Designing the Urban Commons.

Massimo de Angelis, Commons Concerto
A concerto is a musical form in which a main instrument plays a central theme within the environment of an ensemble, an orchestra, with which the solo instrument interacts. Likewise, De Angelis treats the commons as a social system within an environment with which the commons must interact. In this lecture he investigated the nature of commons as social systems by developing a commons circuit as an analytical device. His enquiry investigates the structures, organisations, boundaries and measuring dynamics of commons, as well as their relation to the environment vis-a-vis other social and ecological systems and especially the social system we call capital, with its threatening enclosures or co-opting governance. This lecture problematised the development of commons both in terms of their relation with social movements and in terms of the constitution of alternative social fabrics and economies.

Paolo Patelli, Philippe de Clerck, Doina Petrescu
Ethel Baraona (chair)
Commons have an ancient history in Britain as places providing subsistence to their users without the need for individual private ownership. This form of social organisation has recently been brought back into the limelight as an effective way to manage natural resources but its potential impact as a strategy for urban life remains barely explored. New urban commons have almost never been proactively designed. The new definitions of commons, and urban commoning as a design imperative, were both discussed.



    Paolo Patelli

    Paolo Patelli’s Friction Atlas addresses the legibility of public space, of its programs and of the laws that regulate its uses.

    Doina Petrescu

    Doina Petrescu is Professor of Architecture and Design Activism at the University of Sheffield and co-founder of Atelier d’architecture autogérée.

    Massimo de Angelis

    Massimo De Angelis  is Professor of Political Economy and Development at the University of East London. He is the founding editor of the web journal The Commoner and his research has spanned from value theory to social movement, from capitalist governance of crisis to enclosures and the commons. He is now devoting much of his research to commons, their nature and their development. De Angelis has also been active in many social movements. He is now working as part of a community association in rural Italy that he helped to found and whose aim is to develop a praxis of commoning in community gardening, participatory theatre and several other activities.

    Philippe de Clerck

    Philippe de Clerck’s Commons Josaphat is an autonomous platform unifying inhabitants, citizens, activists and organizations around the notion of producing and managing our cities based on the concept of the commons.

    Ethel Baraona Pohl

    Ethel Baraona Pohl is co-founder of dpr-barcelona, an architectural research practice and editor of Quaderns.