Space is both a product and a prerequisite of social relations, it has the potential to block and encourage certain forms of encounter. In Common Space, activist and architect Stavros Stavrides calls for us to conceive of space-as-commons; to firstly think beyond the notions of public and private space and then to understand common space not only as space that is governed by all and remains open to all, but that explicitly expresses, encourages and exemplifies new forms of social relations and of life in common. Through a fascinating, global examination of social housing, self-built urban settlements, street trade and art, occupied space, liberated space and graffiti, Stavrides carefully shows how spaces for commoning are created. Moreover, he explores the connections between processes of spatial transformation and the formation of politicised subjects to reveal the hidden emancipatory potential of contemporary, metropolitan life.
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The book explores the interconnections between processes of spatial transformation and processes of political subjectivation, focusing especially on socio-spatial experiences which reveal the potentialities inherent in contemporary metropolitan life.
‘Stavros Stadides has written a cutting edge book on the commons and the city. A must read that inspire and challenges conventional thinking. Add it to your toolbox for the reinvention of the city through commoning.’ Massimo De Angelis, author of Omnia Sunt Communia and The Beginning of History ‘A much needed breath of fresh air. This is a book for all those interested in moving beyond the politics of enclosure, fear and individualism to a politics of hope, possibility and social inclusion in the contemporary city.’ Sophie Watson, The Open University ‘Stavrides was one of the first to open my eyes to the importance of the urban commons. His writings are exciting, a valuable reference for urban activists around the world. He is right: the city is the place where we can and should truly reinvent the commons.’ Lieven De Cauter, co-editor of Art & Activism in the Age of Globalization ‘The word from Athens is this: the commons is open not exclusionary; it perforates the walls of sovereignty, discipline, security, and their phantasmagoria. From Oaxaca to Nairobi, the ancient assemblies of the egalitarian agora of old rise again. Listen to the word from Athens!’ Peter Linebaugh, author of The Magna Carta Manifesto ‘How shall we understand the pulse and power of commoning, the subtle force that is constantly shaping the spaces and experiences of modern cities? Stavros Stavrides provides a rich, erudite exploration of this neglected topic and the potential for human emancipation.’ David Bollier, author of Think Like a Commoner ‘Stavrides provides a wonderful guide to how we can make urban space common. He draws from the history of social housing and the successes of contemporary protest movements to formulate an exciting political project.’ Michael Hardt, co-author of Empire; Multitude; and Commonwealth
Dr. Stavros Stavrides is an architect, activist and Associate Professor at the School of Architecture, National Technical University of Athens, Greece, where he teaches courses on social housing design, as well as a postgraduate course on the social meaning and significations of metropolitan experience. He has published five books on spatial theory.