Commoning Housing: archive (2017)

In 2017, theoretical and empirical insights from the Commoning Housing project were presented at international workshops and conference both in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Commoning Housing at the RC21, Leeds (September 2017)

Commoning Housing participated in the ‘Rethinking Global Justice’ annual congress of RC21, the Research Committee on Urban and Regional Development of the International Sociological Association, a Leeds, UK. As part of the session ‘Gentrification and Statehood’, convened by Dr. Matthias Bernt and Dr. Hyun Bang Shin. Dr Mara Ferreri presentated the paper ‘Gentrification and the role of the state: preliminary reflections on state-led housing de-commodification’, examining different anti-displacement logics at play at the intersection between institutional experiments and neighbourhood organising in Barcelona.

Commoning Housing at the University of Glasgow (May 2017)

Commoning Housing participated in a one-day workshop at the University of Glasgow entitled: ‘Post-crisis urban alternatives: European perspectives on solidarity and political organisation in times of urban austerity’ (4th May 2017), organised by Dr Ross Beveridge, Dr David Featherstone and Dr Neil Gray (University of Glasgow). The workshop focused on the practices, concepts and strategies of post-crisis urban alternatives across Europe, to “consider some of the different modalities through which opposition to the divisive spatial logics of austerity are being shaped, and explores diverse forms of actually existing urban alternatives being generated by left social/political movements. Going beyond critical engagement with the political and policy apparatuses generating austerity ‘from above’, the workshop focuses on fine-grained readings and engagement with the emergence of practical and theoretical political possibilities and oppositional practices emerging ‘from below’. The workshop aims to understand the composition and potentialities of left urban social and political movements in a counter-hegemonic manner, broadly encompassing the articulation or disjunction between left parties, trade unions, social movements and diverse local struggles over spaces and sites of austerity”. Dr Mara Ferreri’s presentation discussed the potential and complexities of practices of housing commoning in Barcelona, and the emergence of solidarity across different tenures and between formal and informal housing.

Commoning Housing at the Association of American Geographers Annual Conference, Boston (April 2017)

As part of Commoning Housing we organised the session ‘Housing Commons and the Democratization of the Urban’ (6th April 2017). The session sought to explore, theoretically and empirically, different conceptualisations of ‘housing commons’ as well as socially innovative responses and institutional arrangements around access to housing. We understood an expanded definition of ‘housing commons’ to include housing as a collectively shared material urban resource (cooperatives, Community Land Trusts and other tenures) but also as (immaterial) relations and collective practices that respond to emerging housing issues. Presentations included the following papers: “Sustaining or destroying housing commons? The complex interplay between government involvement and differentiated forms of commoning” by Dr Nele Aernouts and Dr Michael Ryckewaert, from the Cosmopolis Centre for Urban Research – Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium; “Narratives of empowerment and insurgency: understanding participation in a Community Land Trust housing project”  by Emma Griffin, University of the West of England, U.K.; “Housing commoning between resistance and propositional action” by Dr Mara Ferreri and “Housing coproduction in Spain: radical democracy, social impact and scalability” by Dr Marc Parés, Institute of Government and Public Policy, UAB. We were fortunate to have as our session discussant Dr Amanda Huron, from the University of the District of Columbia, U.S.A., author of the book Carving out the Commons: Tenant Organizing and Housing Cooperatives in Washington, D.C., University of Minnesota Press (forthcoming in Spring 2018).