Build the City: perspectives on commons and culture

Published in the frame of ECF's Idea Camp 2015Build the City: perspectives on commons and culture rediscovers, reframes and reconsiders previously published historical, artistic, participatory and theoretical perspectives on the subject by a wide variety of authors from different geographical and professional backgrounds. 

This publication presents a range of texts, studies, interviews and cultural examples of what we see happening in our cities and their wider regions across Europe: a powerful bottom-up movement led by citizens themselves, developing new participatory democratic practices that shape our cities and empower us to govern them in a different, collaborative way.

Build the City: perspectives on commons and culture is a special collaboration between Krytyka Polityczna, the European Cultural Foundation and ECF Labs, with Subtopia (Sweden), Les Tetes de l’Art (France), Oberliht (Moldova), Culture2Commons (Croatia) and Platoniq (Spain), partners in our action-research network: Connected Action for the Commons.

Dougald Hine, in the recently published book Build the City, describes a commons as “a fabric of relations that is built and rebuilt and renegotiated over generations”. Embedded in this definition are two crucial points: Firstly, that commons cannot be made, they must emerge; and secondly, unlike public space, a common may emerge in any kind of space. While public space is public space regardless of whether it is used, commons are dependent upon commoners using them – meaning a private space can also become a common.
— Bradley L Garrett

Further reading: