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AN ATLAS OF COMMONING URBAN DESIGN THESIS Studio Report FALL 2017

Master of Urban Design Carnegie Mellon University


Wilkinsburg contains pockets of vacant lots and buildings which can be reframed through strategic interventions to aid the community.

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AN ATLAS OF COMMONING

CASE STUDIES

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P2P Production / Reproductive Labor

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CITY IN THE MAKING Rotterdam, Netherlands

City in the Making Association

CIRCULAR ECONIMIES IN PIETER DE RAADTSTRAAT 35&37

Neighborhood Community

curate the selection of the movies

renovates the building in exchange for 2-year free rent

manages the woodshop

University Students

Artists

The carpenter

can use shared facilities /spaces

pay rent for maintenance/ overhead costs

Library

Office

Apartments for long-term occupants

Apartments for short-term renters

Bath

UPPER FLOORS

Woodshop

Movie theatre

Flex space (Seminars/ community meetings)

Laundry machine

Common kitchen

GROUND FLOOR/ COMMON SPACE

My roof and rear have been refurbished and street parties can be hold at my front gate. Studio C.A.R.E. is moving into my upper floors. – Zwaanshals 288B

I was a professionally equipped woodshop and now is being re-opened as cooperative carpenters’ workshop. – Noordplein 197

I was a tryout housing for homeless people.I’m recently converted to apartment, a common workspace & a shop. – Bloklandstraat 190, 3-year ownership

I was a soap factory and water stokery but now I function as workshop, common space, apartment etc. – Pieter de raadtstraat 35&37, 10-year ownership

I only need to pay a small fee to use the laundry machine. This is so convenient for the neighborhood! I help renovate the building in exchange for 2 years free rent to live in the apartment upstairs. I’m also in change of the wood shop on the ground floor.

The micro brewery is in blossom this year!

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THE STORY

Of City in the Making. Rotterdam, Netherlands. 2012-Present City in the Making (Stad in de Maak) takes on the redevelopment of vacant properties in Rotterdam aiming at establishing affordable housing and working spaces in collective ownership and management. Managing an expanding network of currently 8 buildings, each of which generates its own circular micro-economy, the project explores new live-work typologies beyond normative lifestyles that support the emergence of open source maker communities and urban production. The ground floors of buildings are defined as commons, making specific kinds of resources accessible to the neighborhood and contributing to the diversification of street and neighborhood life. Meanwhile, the project pursues ambitions to move beyond temporary use and thus raises an important question about how to designing more sustainable and resilient spaces of commoning without losing their emancipatory power. In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis in Rotterdam, the artists Ana Džokić and Marc Neelen from Stealth.unlimited are struck by the growing number of vacant buildings, at the same time as affordable housing is becoming increasingly scarce. When they discover that real-estate developer Havensteder has to bear a loss of around 60,000 Euros over the next 8 to 10 years to simply maintain its vacant building stock, they persuade the developer to spend the money upfront and let them temporarily use the buildings in exchange of upkeeping them. Joined by Erik Jutten and Piet Vollaard the initiative City in the Making is born. Beyond mere temporary use, City in the Making is concerned with developing a business model, in which each building gives rise to a microcircular economy able to afford its upkeep as well as new forms of urban living and working.

to the diversification of street and neighborhood life. For example, a washing machine is put right next to the sidewalk and the residents in the neighborhood can easily access it.

City in the Making has created a mix of livework and commoned spaces in each of the buildings. The ground floors are made available for production and collective use while the upper floors are made suitable for living and/or working. Economically, each building generates enough resources, from financial contributions by its inhabitants and users, to cover its own costs. For example, the carpenter who uses the woodshop on the ground floor helps the renovation of the building in exchange for living and working in the building. Besides, each building takes care of its own governance and use which means the users carry out selfgovernance and make their own rules. Thus, several properties form a network operating in the similar pattern and they each can still maintain a robust system which prevents the risk of the break of one node in the network.

Starting from their first 2 properties and until now, City in the Making has an expanding network of 8 buildings. City in the Making removes the properties from the real estate market, owns and manages the properties for a period of 3-10 years. Spring 2017, City in the Making has 16 inhabitants and 21 people constantly using working spaces – plus a number of ‘displaced workers’ irregularly using the spaces. The goal of City in the Making keeps evolving. The project starts from purely temporary vacancy management with ambitions to move beyond such temporary uses. In the future, they even have a scenario to achieve a long-term socially and economically sustainable life in the city and become the market itself. As the project keeps upscaling and expanding, is City in the Making able to overcome dependence on exploiting the interim?

City in the Making doesn’t allow the speculation of living and working spaces. It provides low-threshold affordability. The buildings are parts of a wider infrastructure and it is partial independent from large economic systems. It is a collective way of organizing and leaves enough freedom for individual needs. Compared to the participatory design process in the ordinary sense, the designers of City in the Making have kept an open attitude towards the physical spaces but by designing the structure and laws of the commoning process, the system is ensured with a sustainable mechanism of operation.

City in the Making also offers specific kinds of resource to the neighborhood and contributes

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Pieter de Raadtstraat 35 & 37 27

City in the Making


SOCIAL CONTRACT 1 Make each building a self-sustaining node (in economic, social and environmental terms) within a network. In economic terms, this means that each building should generate enough resources, from a financial contribution by its inhabitants and users, to cover its own costs. In social terms, each building should take care of its own governance and use. In environmental terms, it should aim to become resource flow neutral (energy, water, etc.).

2 Create a common finance pool for the maintenance and expansion of the platform. All the inhabitants and users of the buildings, through payment for the right of usage, generate a (modest) flow of finance that contributes to a common finance pool. From this, the activities to sustain the platform (a baseline income for those responsible) are being financed.

3 Have a minimalist (or no-nonsense) approach to investments. Do less with less. If affordability is at the core, invest what is minimally necessary. For instance, by putting functional, rather than aesthetic, performance at the core.

4 Replace monetary flows with non-monetary alternatives, where possible. As both the inhabitants and users of buildings and the platform itself face a lack of mainstream money, part of the financial pressure can be diverted by conducting transactions in other ‘currencies’: worktime or materials, for instance.

5 Keep financial pressure away from the common spaces that perform for the community. Each building has a commons (“meent” in Dutch), accessible for the social or productive undertakings of people in the building, the street, neighbourhood. Access to such commons is free of charge, the direct utility costs (electricity, heating, etc.) are covered per building, from usage fees.

6 Set up mutual support structures within an internal circular economy. Given the platform reaches a sufficient size, non-profit measures of support (normally acquired on the for-profit market) can be set up within the network: mutual insurances, sweat equity pools, mutual savings funds, childcare – and much more.

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“of What would happen, if we agree that the objective the economy is to produce sufficient goods for all

world citizens to live prosperous lives, if we consider our fellow world citizens as brothers and sisters, and if we collaborate to close economic cycles and to realise productivity gains? The better the quality of our products and the more productive we are, the less economic work we have to do and the more time we have for the real values of life. Time for social and cultural activities. Time to express ourselves freely. Why won’t we move into this direction? – Martijn Jeroen van der Linden

“theyWhere cities are for some a home, for others are investment vehicles. But the degree

to which we, the inhabitants, are becoming subjected to this is unprecedented. – Ana Džokić

“arising It is interesting to see new urban communities from these efforts, and observe how they

build a new future on the often disregarded, outlived or scrapped resources that are available in the city. But in the increasingly market dominated sphere in which even citizens’ initiatives find themselves acting, this often means that we have to take ourselves to that same market of real-estate to buy up the remains we aim to give a new, collective future. For most of us, that means a tough puzzle of mobilising enough capital to “save” the buildings for our cause. – Marc Neelen


1899

Pieter de Raadtstraat 35&37 are constructed.

2008

The start of the financial crisis causes sudden diminishing of the subsidized housing stock.

2009

2010

2011

Havensteder, a non-profit housing cooperative buys Pieter de Raadtstraat. The propsal of City in the Making is created by the architect of Superuse Studios and artists of Observatorium to answer the inquiry of addressing ‘toxic buildings’ from Havensteder.

2012

City in the Making Association is set up.

2013

City in the Making signs the contract with Havensteder and starts the renovation of Pieter de Raadtstraat.

2014

Banierstraat 62 joins City in the Making & becomes a working space for artists.

2015

Bloklandstraat 190 is turned into a tryout housing for homeless people.

2016

2017

Zwaanshals 288 B, Schiestraat 12 and Noordplein 197 join City in the Making. The project is expanding rapidly. Zegwaardstraat 9 is converted into housing. The goal is to become more a permenant occupancy, like Mietshäuser Syndikat.

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Occupy Everything spreads across Europe. It’s a movement against social and economic inequality.

Rotterdam is awarded as “the place to be”.

City in the Making is put into spotlight by winning the Job Dura Award.


The ground floor of Banierstraat 62 which is used for the innovative delicious food concept.

Common space of Pieter de Raadtstraat 35 & 37

Entrance of Pieter de Raadtstraat 35 & 37

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City in the Making


DEVELOPING LOCAL RESILIENCE BY CLOSING CYCLES BETWEEN PRODUCTION AND CONSUMPTION.

R-Urban

Paris, France Terre de liens Ferme de Marconville

Actor Networks in R-Urban Kokopelli

Groupe AMAP

Les Amis de la Nature

AGROCITÉ Groupe poules ECOLOGY ENVIRONMENT

A.Camizuli apiculteur

Collectivités et professionnels

Jardin sauvage d’Audra

Jardins partagés

Atelier savoirs

Groupe compost Biocoop

Caf’Muz

Boulanger

AVIVA

Magasin local

JP Pasquier

Co-Working

RECYCLAB

Colombes à Vélo SIMONES

Astrolab

VENTE

ProdActions

Ateliers Upcycling

Centre Social Go Sport Triporteur

Avant Seine

Ateliers Formation

-50%

Students and researchers

EcoHab is a cooperative housing project comprising a number of partially self-built and collectively managed ecological dwellings, including several shared facilities and schemes.

Résidence designer

Talks

Eco-Nomadic School

Municipal Library

Aurore Fabrication

Les Zuluberlus

Tumclasst

Habitants

Repair Cafés

Groupe disco soup

Groupe brocante

CULTURE, KNOWLEDGE

Agro Paris Tech

Centre Nature

Habitants

Cantine Jardin maraicher

Groupe Abeilles École du compost

LOCAL ECONOMY

energy consumption

Cooperative Housing

Emmaus

Agricultural& vegetable cycle

Local energy

Composting

Social economy

Rainwater

Local culture Recycled materials

+10%

environmental biocapacity

70%

of food needs

-50%

CO emission

-30%

household waste

AgroCité is an urban agriculture hub which consists of a micro-experimental farm, community gardens, educational and cultural spaces and devices for energy production.

RecyLab is a recycling and green building hub involving a series of equipment for the recycling of urban waste and turning them into materials for eco-construction.

Local Culture

Social Economy

Urban Agriculture 2011-2016

+20

-50%

water consumption

new jobs for 30 dwellers

Gennevilliers 2017-

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THE STORY

Of R-Urban. Paris, France. 2009-Present R-Urban is a bottom-up strategy that explores the possibilities of enhancing the capacity of urban resilience by introducing a network of resident-run facilities to create complementarities among key fields of activity (economy, housing, urban agriculture, culture). By building a local metabolism network, R-Urban interprets the production-consumption chain broadly, going beyond material aspects to include the cultural, cognitive, and affective dimensions. R-Urban claims urban sustainability as a civil right. It is “a political ecology approach not only positively asserts development dynamics but questions also the process that brings about uneven urban environments and the social consequences of urban sustainability.” Atelier d’Architecture Autogeree(AAA) initiates R-Urban in 2009. R-Urban starts with smallscale initiatives as a reaction to the climate change, resource depletion, loss of welfare and economic crises. While the governmental process to tackle these challenges is slow, R-Urban’s approach is that the citizens are involved in changing the city by changing their ways of living.

different ways, from being regular public and participating in events and training programmes, to supporting and running the hubs. Residents are encouraged to buy local products and to create local products. The leases obtained for the two R-Urban hub sites are only short-term. Since the municipality supports speculative development in Colombes, access to temporary space becomes a political issue. The municipality administration is not confident enough to provide a long-term lease for R-Urban beyond the term of the office. The municipality still wants to develop the land in the future and R-Urban is only a temporary project to the government. Although the project doesn’t last in Colombes, the co-production model is widely recognized by people. The network, which functions through locally closed circuits, starts at the neighborhood level and progressively scales up at the city and region level. R-Urban model is spreading in Europe.

In its initial phase the project proposes the creation of a resilient network based around three civic hubs with complementary urban functions bringing citizens emerging projects together and actively involving local people in and around Colombes: (1)AgroCité is an urban agriculture hub which consists of a micro-experimental farm, community gardens, educational and cultural spaces and devices for energy production, composting and rainwater recycling. It transforms a derelict plot into a space for civic co-production, diverse economies and knowledge dissemination on urban agriculture and eco-practices. (2) RecycLab is a recycling and eco-construction hub comprising facilities for storing and reusing locally salvaged materials and their transformation into micro-assemblages for ecoconstruction. (3)EcoHub is a cooperative and ecological housing hub, is a cooperative ecohousing project comprising a number of partially self-built and collectively managed ecological dwellings, including several shared facilities and schemes.

R-Urban shows that architects and researchers can play an important role in designing and creating new conditions for resilient living through commoning. Also, the contribution of the initiators is to create this network and guide the participants through the first several years and withdraw from the project later. This design process leaves the space for the users to create their own mechanism for running and managing the project. “R-Urban tries to create the new infrastructure, which is at the same time a re-appropriation and a reinvention of new forms of commons: from collective selfmanaged facilities to collective knowledge and skills, and forms of groups and networks.” R-Urban is not only about “sustainability” but also about societal change and political and cultural reinvention, addressing issues of social inequality, power, and cultural difference.

The R-Urban network is diverse and modulable, forming an open system based on a diversity of hubs and a diversity of productive practices. It allows for overlaps and redundancy, including governance systems at different levels. These circuits form an ecological metabolic system based on ecosystem services and tight feedback loops. Citizens can be involved in

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AgroCité–Agriculture Hub 35

R-Urban


SOCIAL CONTRACT CHARTER FOR LOCAL ACTION AGAINST GLOBAL CRISES

The creation of new R-Urban Units is expected to explore and develop – practical approaches for a more sustainable society by relying in particular on the following principles:

• initiate or participate in a citizen initiative of ecological transition: - Get involved in a group to develop a Unit or a local network of several R-Urban Units operating by in a complementary way (shared housing, local economy, smooth transportation, organic farming, etc.) - Promote the emergence of a community of users and project stakeholders developing principles of urban resilience and citizen ecological transition.

• participate in the development of a R-Urban unit based on the following principles: - Implement activities with a strong ecological dimension (CO2 reduction, reduced environmental footprint, management and reduction of waste, etc.) - Support local economy activities, self-supportive and circular, participatory financing and the emergence of a Cooperative Land Trust, etc. - Promote the sharing of spaces, resources and equipment to reduce the various types of consumption (energy, water, transport, etc.) - Participate in the development of all types of public facilities able to contribute to the objectives of the charter.

• promote

R-Urban principles and promote local dynamics, at a small scale, while contributing to dissemination networks on a larger scale, partnerships with specialists from different fields, etc. ; participate in the structuring of a just and caring society, overcoming the scarcity of certain natural resources and promote the collective management of R-Urban tools as common property.

• develop

democratic ways of managing R-Urban Units by different mechanisms for sharing responsibilities and rights (one person, one vote, rotational assignments, fostering cooperative models, projects without profit and general interest).

• educate

the public and elected officials, policy makers, professionals and local and international institutions about the priorities promoted by the strategy and the R-Urban units and fight against the global crisis via numerous local initiatives; challenge the government on the need to act against global crises, in order to put all the necessary resources and promote an environmentally just society.

• participate

in evaluation dynamics and transmission of knowledge in the areas supported by R-Urban (urban ecology, renewable energy, pollution control, urban agriculture, etc.); contribute to efforts to improve the collective and institutional infrastructure (regulations, studies, analyses, national strategies and other scales, etc.) and thus support the development of projects and the R-Urban Strategy. An Atlas of Commoning - MUD 2017 Fall

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R-Urban


“infrastructure R-Urban endeavours to co-produce this new which is simultaneously a reappropriation

and reinvention of new forms of commons, ranging from collective, self-managed facilities and collective knowledge and skills to new forms of group and network. The facilities and uses proposed by R-Urban will be shared and propagated on various scales, progressively constituting a network that is open to various users and includes adaptable elements and processes based on open-source information. ...We have designed R-Urban to be a process and infrastructure that can grow with time, being easy to appropriate and replicate. We will be testing it for a while, before leaving it to burgeon by itself. Will it succeed? For how long? These questions are to be answered in a few years’ time. For now, it is a visionary attempt to realise more democratic and bottom-up processes of resilient regeneration in a suburban context, a process specifically designed to be appropriated and followed up by others in similar contexts. – Doina Petrescu/R-Urban Act

“(R-Urban), During the first two or three years, we manage then there is a phase of co-management

with casual users who gradually take responsibility for the different activities and organize new ones. After three to four years, they are the ones who become project bearers and ecological dynamics and we can withdraw. – Constantin Petcou

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R-Urban


The financial crisis causes people losing their jobs and affordability.

2008

2009

R-Urban starts to contact with local municipality.

2011

R-Urban is concretely implemented in Colombes funded by Life+. Life+ funding runs to 2015.

2014

2015

2016

2017

The new Mayor openly opposes to R-Urban which enrages the 400 frequent users.

Nicole Goueta is elected major in Colombes local election.

R-Urban is threatened with expulsion for two years to build a parking lot of 80 cars.

Gennevilliers shows interest to build a new Agrocité.

Save R-Urban Crowd Sourcing is initiated. Feb 20 Agrocité relocats from Colombes to Gennevilliers. March 4 A new Agrocité has been started in Bagneux.

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R-Urban


Food Produced by AgroCité

Recyclab

AgroCité Diagram

Recyclab Diagram

Food preparation in AgroCité

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R-Urban


NEIGHBORHOOD DEVELOPMENT AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT THROUGH TEACHING LANDSCAPE LITERACY.

WEST PHILADELPHIA LANDSCAPE PROJECT Philadelphia,USA

Actors in WPLP Philadelphia Green

Philadelphia Water Department

HUD

GOVERNMENT, ORGNIZATION

WPLP

ACADEMIC INSTITUTION

COMMUNITY Environmental Protection Agency

Mill Creek was covered over and converted to a sewer in the 19th century, which has caused many problems ever since, including cave-ins and other structural damage to buildings on the buried floodplain and polluted water downstream.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Sulzberger Middle School Aspen Farms Community Garden

Department of Urban Studies and Planning

Community Innovators Lab (CoLab) Netter Center for Community Partnerships

Mill Creek Coalition

School of Design, formerly Graduate School of Fine Arts

University of Pennsylvania

Aspen Farms Vegetable Garden Aspen Farms Butterfly Garden

Cartographic Modeling Laboratory

Aspen Farms and the blocks of homes around it are a well-cared for island in a sea of vacant lots.The gardeners are always here doing something: digging, planting, or harvesting; cleaning, weeding, or building; talking, watching, resting. WPLP joins students and community volunteers to convert a vacant lot into Westminster Community Garden.

Students at the University of Pennsylvania embark on an adventure with teachers and students at the Sulzberger Middle School.

We are building Aspen Farm now. In the future I would like to see a section of the Mill Creek being restored. I think it would be nice to see the the creek clean and flowing through a small portion of the Mill Creek community.

Many streams once flowed across West Philadelphia. The largest of these was Mill Creek, a stream that drained nearly two-thirds of West Philadelphia.

Ask me about The Mill Creek

Our landscape design of Mill Creek neighborhood creates an open structure that hopes to inspire you to invent and embellish the future. This is an open framework, you are all welcome to contribute.

Ask me about The Mill Creek

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I grew up in this neighborhood, I’m a web designer now. I couldn’t have become who I am, if it wasn’t for WPLP’s inspiration. Now, I want to help!


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THE STORY

Of West Philadelphia Landscape Project. Philadelphia, USA. 1987-Present The West Philadelphia Landscape Project (WPLP) employs the knowledge, skills, technology, and methods of landscape architecture to redesign and rebuild the landscape of an innercity neighborhood. WPLP is a strategic response to the physical decline of the Mill Creek neighborhood and proposes the landscape design framework which follows the natural law instead of pushing new development in the buried watershed. The project also turns the conversation about children in low-income communities on its head. Middle-schoolers explore how their neighborhood has evolved, propose changes to their neighborhood and thus the project forges relationships between inner-city kids and university students and transforms the neighborhood together. In the late 19th century, the Mill Creek was covered over and converted to a sewer, which has caused problems ever since, including cave-ins and structural damage to buildings. In the 20th century, urban development policies, like unfair lending practices and urban renewal projects, disrupt the neighborhood’s small-scale rowhouses. As a result, Mill Creek becomes home to an abundance of vacant land and deteriorating or abandoned properties. The environmental conditions of the neighborhood and the challenges posed by decades of poor planning choices have resulted in serious design challenges for the Mill Creek community.

Since 1995, WPLP and Aspen Farms have been partners in developing and implementing an urban watershed curriculum for Sulzberger Middle School, which combines local history and landscape design and planning. Sulzberger students use the garden as an outdoor classroom, including a pond designed by landscape architecture students in a studio at the University of Pennsylvania.The project is to speak of intelligence, creativity, and potential rather than poor performance, indifference, and trouble of the kids. The Mill Creek becomes the link between the kids and the Upenn students, the individual pursuits and the development of the community.

Since 1987, numerous landscape architects and others, led by Anne Whiston Spirn, have provided pro bono landscape architecture services to this under-served community as part of a larger action research project that integrates practice, research, education, and service. The mission of WPLP is to restore nature and rebuild community through strategic design, planning, and education projects.

Making service integral to teaching and linking it to a larger research agenda make it possible to sustain the project for 30 years, during which long-term partnerships have formed. WPLP combines top-down and bottom-up approaches to design and addresses concerns that are often seen as separate, such as polluted water, vacant land, poverty, and troubled public schools. It has engaged dozens of organizations and hundreds of individuals, including groups who rarely work together, such as inner-city residents, middle-school and college students, and water engineers. Through long-term community engagement, WPLP and residents of the Mill Creek neighborhood marry professional expertise with local knowledge to create projects that improve the physical environment and express our shared values and goals for the future. WPLP seeks to demonstrate how to create human settlements that are healthier, economical to build and maintain, more resilient, more beautiful, and more just.

A key proposal of the West Philadelphia Landscape Project is to manage the Mill Creek watershed as part of a broad approach to improving regional water quality and as a strategy to secure funds to rebuild the neighborhood. WPLP employs landscape literacy as a cornerstone of community development. Like verbal literacy, landscape literacy is an essential skill. For example, the inability to “read� the landscape prevents public officials and community residents alike from understanding the risks and opportunities posed by the buried floodplain of Mill Creek and its watershed. The project helps residents to understand how their neighborhood came to be and the forces that continue to shape it and to envision what the neighborhood might become.

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Aspen Butterfly Garden 43

WPLP


SOCIAL CONTRACT FROM WPLP PLAN–A FRAMEWORK FOR ACTION

While this framework is designed to coordinate landscape improvements, one could argue for a similar approach to issues, such as housing, where the contributions of many individual and organizations are important.

Recommendation1 Establish the Mill Creek Floodplain and Sewer Right-of-way as a Water Management Park. In West Philadelphia, there is an opportunity to create a park that combines flood control, strom drainage, and public open space. The use of vacant land in the Mill Creek floodplain for such a project provides an opportunity to eliminate a nuisance, to provide a frame for investment in adjacent blocks, and to solve a regional problem of sewer overflows into the Schuylkill River. While some parts of this parkland should be constructed and maintained by the city, other areas should be designated for community-managed open space.

Recommendation2 Reinforce and Continue Redevelopment of the Market-Walnut Commercial and Institutional Corridor. The Market-Walnut Corridor is a dominant feature of West Philadelphia. This corridor forms a spine of institutions and businesses and of transportation into and through West Philadelphia that serves residential neighborhoods to the north and south. To the west, much of this corridor is in decline, with large blocks of vacant land. This area of the corridor should be redeveloped to provide a concentration of employment and educational opportunity. Vacant land in the Market-Walnut Corridor should serve interim purposes that support the surrounding community and simultaneously project a positive image that will attract attention and investment. Such uses should be inexpensive to install and maintain. These might include mown grass for playfield, an outdoor market, an experimental art park, ot a tree nursery, for example. Landscape improvements are an effective, rapid, and relatively inexpensive way to transform the image of a place and the impressions people form of that place. Improvements to vacant lots in the Market-Walnut Corridor afford the opportunity to do just this.

Recommendation3 Reestablish and Manage the Urban Forest. Tree-lined streets characterize some of the most attractive neighborhoods in West Philadelphia. In many areas, these trees are in decline and should be replanted. In other areas, there are residential streets that were never planted with trees, and these should be planted if the residents approve.

Recommendation4 Foster Local Initiatives to Redesign Small Neighborhoods. Community-managed open space is an important adjunct to public parks. Modest support for such local initiatives yields results far beyond the initial investment. Such projects may be as simple as planting new trees, window boxes, and sidewalk flower planters or may consist of more extensive changes, such as reclaiming a vacant lot for garden or playlot. Successful landscape improvement projects often lead a group to take on other, more ambitious projects, like housing rehabilitation. People with experience in such projects, particularly complex ones like community gardens, have experience as planners and designers of “communities� that can be tapped in shaping the larger neighborhood.

Recommendation5 Establish a Data Center for West Philadelphia The data base currently includes information at a variety of scales from West Philadelphia-wide to the scale of individual properties on a block, including land use vacant lots, topography, and sewer lines, as well as census data. The data base is computerized and can create maps of specific locations and subjects upon command. The data center should be able to furnish data tailored to needs of an organization, should train individual from interested organization, should train individuals from interested organizations to use the data base, and should continue to collect and generate new information. An Atlas of Commoning - MUD 2017 Fall

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WPLP


“practice Like verbal literacy, landscape literacy is a cultural that entails both understanding the world

and transforming it...To be literate is to recognize both the problems in a place and its resources, to understand how they came about, by what means they are sustained, and how they are related. Such literacy should be a cornerstone of community development and of urban planning and design. To plan prudently is to transform problems into opportunities and liabilities into resources, and to intervene at an appropriate scale. To design wisely is to read ongoing dialogues in a place, to distinguish enduring stories from ephemeral ones, and to imagine how to join the conversation. – Anne Whiston Spirn

“commitment ...the long-term nature of the effort is impressive; continual is what distinguishes this effort above others... engagement with and impact on high school kids from inner city is outstanding. –2004 ASLA Jury

“wasOnce they (the kids) got involved in the project, it a complete turn-around. It formed my opinion on education. It made me realize that our biggest problem is not necessarily teaching the youth, it’s more about getting them to buy into education, it’s more about making them excited about education. Once you have them going, you couldn’t stop them if you want to. That is the major lesson from this project. The students were the ones who pushed the growth of the program. – Don Armstead, teacher at Sulzberger Middle School

WPLP


late 18th 1987 1988 1989 1991 1992

The Mill Creek is covered over and converted to a sewer. WPLP starts to build the community. From now on, designing and building projects will continue to go hand in hand with data collection and planning. WPLP joins students and community volunteers to convert a vacant lot into Westminster Community Garden. Several research reports are published to introduce the issues in the neighborhood and design as a framework.

1994

The start of building digital data base provides a better understanding of the impact of hydrology on the city. WPLP is in the news for the first time. Philadelphia Sunday Inquirer features story on WPLP proposals and urges the city to take heed. City's Plan Ignores Mill Creek. The Plan for West Philadelphia doesn’t mention hazards associated with the buried floodplain of Mill Creek.

1995

Collaboration with Sulzberger Middle School begins. Kids are involved!

1996

First WPLP Web site launches.

1997

Penn students bring in historical documents to Sulzberger students. Learning to read the history of their neighborhood gives the kids a sense of the future.

Teacher and students present Mill Creek Project and WPLP Web site to Pennsylvania Legislature as part of Governor’s Annual Budget Speech.

WPLP Moves to MIT.

White House Millennium Council’s “Imagining America” cites WPLP as Model of Best Practic.

1998 1999 2000

2003

2008

Despite broad recognition for WPLP's innovations in community development, it seems that these ideas fail to gain and maintain traction in Philadelphia. The future of the West Philadelphia Landscape Project is uncertain, but work continues in the form of an assessment of successes and failures and what lessons they hold for the future.

2009

Philadelphia Water Department announces groundbreaking plan to mitigate combined sewer overflows with "green" rather than "grey" infrastructure.

2012

A new homepage introduces the mission and scope of WPLP and provides links to resources.

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President Bill Clinton makes a visit to Sulzberger Middle School and learns about the Mill Creek Project.

The school district votes to close the Sulzberger Middle School due to declining enrollment

WPLP


Kids from Sulzberger Middle School learn the history of Mill Creek

Mill Creek is covered and coverted to a sewer

Mill Creek watershed

The community is engaged in the design and planning process

Penn students helps the kids read the neighborhood landscape

WPLP


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Solidarity / Right to the World

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ROOFLESS

Al-Fawwar Camp, Palestine

Mediterranean Sea

RENEGOTIATING THE SOCIAL AND POLITICAL ARENA BY TURNING THE AL-MADAFEH (ARABIC FOR THE LIVING ROOM) INSIDE-OUT.

Fawwar Camp 14,000 Israel

West Bank

9,500 6,544

1950

2007

2017

Fawwar Camp Population

The roof means settlement and permanency. I can’t have a roof because the refugees living here always want to return. I heard we are going to use this square as the place where language cycles will be held. It’s wonderful!

Now I can watch my kids playing from the window! I miss the cooking maftoul event, our presence in the square became so ordinary that even today my husband and children want to know more about the activities we are doing. Women required a shading space for gathering, so here I am. Here the community will have important occasions, the weddings and funerals.

I will tell you for the thousandth time that this is not a parking lot, it’s a plaza! It’s not for you and it’s not for others; it’s for all. If each person imposes his own desires on the others, then the camp is not ready to have a collective space.

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I was opposed to the idea of drinking tea and coffee in the plaza. Maybe with time, you know? Sometimes we need time in order to get used to doing things we didn’t formerly accept in Fawwar. Now, I am often out in the plaza sometimes with my kids, sometimes with other women.

For me it’s not only the parking. Either this or no plaza. I will not permit access to the site. From now on you will not be able to put a 50single stone in place!


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THE STORY

Of Roofless. Al-Fawwar Camp, Palestine. 2007-Present Palestine refugees have lived in the Al-Fawwar Camp for three generations and yet their hope to return to their homeland makes their status at once temporal and precarious. In the absence of public politics and governance, and the political resistance to settling down, here, the notion of the public sphere and collective institutions barely exist. It is in this context that Roofless, a project for an urban square represents much not only the design of a physical space but also initiates a long process of negotiation and collective emancipation. The project raises questions about how a space for coming together can be constructed within the framework of a permanent temporality? Through its unique geopolitical condition, the experience of the community underlines an understanding of commoning as a verb, or in David Harvey’s words not as “ ‘a particular kind of thing’ but ‘an unstable and malleable social relation’ between a particular selfdefined social group and those aspects of its actually existing or yet-to-be-created social and/or physical environment deemed crucial to its life and livelihood.” Roofless is a collective design project of a plaza in Al-Fawwar camp, Palestine by Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency(DAAR) under the request of the Camp Improvement Unit of UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East). The Fawwar Camp was established in 1949 after the occupation of Palestine by Israeli forces and the refugees have lived in the camp for over 65 years.

despite the temporary exile situation. The design of the plaza is not only the physical space but also the negotiation process. In 2007, the design group starts series of conversations with residents in the camp. The collective design process gives the users the opportunity to be part of the design and construction process and thus build up their sense of ownership of the plaza. The design and construction of the plaza lasted for around 7 years. The architects talk to every family to decide how high they want the wall in front of their home. The construction can be finished in 3 months but it actually takes more than one year because of the gradual negotiation procedure. The plaza ends up to be an open plaza within the neighborhood but with a closed format with all the walls around it. The closed plaza makes the public and private became vague and allows more freedom for the users.

In the camp, the UN only provides the refugees with fundamental living supplies like food and water. The public means the state to Palestinians. The camp is neither private nor public. People in the camp don’t own their own homes, so it’s not private. Iowa and the UN claim they only provide service and they do not administrate the camp, so it can’t be defined as public. The camp is in the middle of both. It’s the spaces of collectivity where people will share life together. The need for a public place inside the camp where kids, women and men can have events or activities is the initiative of the Roofless plaza.

Roofless is built as a house without the roof where the domesticity is flipped inside-out. By bring the activities out to the plaza, the residents view the plaza as the common living room where conversations are encouraged. A series of events held in the plaza have enhanced the mutual cooperation and the social connection among people and hopefully, the plaza can bring back the close relationship between the neighborhoods in the traditional culture.

The world has the bias toward the refugees that they have to be weak in order for the others to recognize them as refugees. The refugees always hope to return to their real homes while having the struggle of abandoning the life in the camp. Such preconception made them feel reluctant to have the plaza because this action is perceived as a step towards permanency. The demand for social connection and gathering spaces are a luxury to the refugees. The plaza sees the struggle that how can the refugees enjoy a more permanent form of life

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“The only type of communal land in Palestine is known as Al-Mashà. It refers to the land where people can cultivate together. The Roofless plaza is the extension of Al-Mashà to a broader social notion.”

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Kids are playing football in the plaza 53

Roofless


SOCIAL CONTRACT FROM A PLAY IN FOUR ACTS BY SANDI HILAL

ACT ONE/2008 AMEENAH: (To JAMILAH, bossily) What is the meaning of a closed plaza? Did you ever see a closed plaza? Is it a home or a plaza? JAMILAH: I mean, the plaza should be walled in, and part of it should be for men and the other part for women, and we should prohibit men from coming into the women’s section of the plaza. Even if we agree to come to the plaza, our brothers and husbands would not let us go if it’s not segregated. They would tell us, ‘what are you going to do, are you going to sit in a plaza where there is a mix between men and women?’ ARCHITECT: What do you think the plaza should look like? ABU RAMI (Another highly esteemed camp elder): This plaza should be organized. We should have a guard on duty at all times because our kids will not be able to take care of it without supervision. If this plaza were to be open for people to come and go as they pleased, it would never work. People would steal and destroy everything. They would rip up the pavement, they would take the ironwork, nothing would stay put. ACT TWO/2010 ARCHITECT: Who do you think you are, to be able to stop a plaza that is owned by the whole neighborhood? This is not your plaza, it’s not your property. It’s everyone’s. ABU AHMED: I work in the security services in the Palestinian Authority, and I will absolutely be able to stop this if you will not accept my demand. ARCHITECT: I will tell you for the thousandth time that this is not a parking lot, it’s a plaza. It’s not for you and it’s not for others; it’s for all. I still cannot understand why you can’t park your car only five meters away. If every person in the camp demanded to be able to park in front of his entrance, we would be obliged to be demolish half of the camp’s homes in order to fulfill this request. (...) (To the group) This is a plaza for all of you. If you are not able to convince ABU AHMED to allow the construction to continue, then let’s stop the project immediately. I will not solve this problem. This is not my problem, it’s a camp problem. If each person imposes his own desires on the others, then the camp is not

ready to have a collective space.

ARCHITECT: (Looks at ABU ATA) Do you remember how you were opposed

coffee or preparing tabbouleh in the plaza?

ACT THREE/2011

to the idea of drinking tea and

ABU ATA’s WIFE: Maybe with time, you know? Sometimes we need time in order to get used to doing things we didn’t formerly accept in Fawwar. (Rallies) Because now I am often out in the plaza with my kids, running after them and playing together with them, and this is why I believe that everything will come with time. ARCHITECT: What do you think about the final form of the plaza – a kind of home without a roof? What do you feel about the walls surrounding the plaza? 2nd FAWWAR WOMAN: (...) You didn’t just create the plaza, but you also created very small plazas in front of all of the homes that border on it, where we can be outside in the sunshine and still enjoy some privacy. (...)Also, for me, it’s not at all a closed plaza – why are we speaking about closed plazas? It has entrances and exits. We can easily come and go. ACT FOUR/2012 SAMI MURA (a member of the ARCHITECT’s team): (...) I don’t think that this plaza was an architectural project. It’s not enough to design a nice plaza and implement it in order to ensure that it will be a success. For me, the most important thing was how long it took to implement this plaza. We had different phases. Buying the two shelters, demolishing them, clearing away the rubble – all of this took time, and it gave people a chance to come to grips with the change. I think the main difference between the Fawwar experience and the Talbieh experience is that in spite of the fact that you (gesturing toward the visitors from Talbieh) had a lot of community participation during the design phase, the implementation happened very abruptly. Most of the project was finished within a month. Giving people the time to imagine and reflect is a very important thing. We spent more than one year building the basic form of the plaza – work that could have been done in three months. And of course we often had to stop work and allow for additional negotiations. But I think this gave people the time to shape the vision of what we were doing. (The people of Fawwar Camp nod in agreement.) An Atlas of Commoning - MUD 2017 Fall

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“is considered I feel that the plaza is the place that represents me. It a challenge for the camp as it represents

public space in a temporary place. It is very similar to the challenges of women, proclaiming our rights to be in public, to my rebellion against all the stereotypes the reality in which I live. I feel a lot of similarities between the plaza and me: both of us are roofless; my thoughts have no limits but they are still within what is accepted by the walls of religion and society. My thoughts have no limits when I think how much is possible for me to change my reality and the reality of other women my age in the camp. – Ayat, a young woman from the camp

“state The concept of “the common” is different from that of “the public.” The apparatus mediates the existence of the public, whereas the common exists beyond state institutions. The public is a space that is given to people by structures of power, whereas the common is a space created by the interaction among people. Public space can exist without people. Common space only exists if people are constantly producing it. – Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti

“to The plaza becomes a key protagonist in Ayat’s struggle define resistance to this place: the plaza as a place from

within the community to begin to imagine their own future. The process of decolonization begins with negotiations, discussions, and inevitably contradictions within their community. – Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency

Roofless


1948

Over 2000 Palestinian refugees are displaced into the Al-Fawwar Camp.

2007

The architecture team starts the conversations with residents to disscuss the plaza.

2008

The Camp Improvement Unit starts the project by demolishing the shelters and preparing the space.

2009

The demolish of 2 shelters is finished.

2010

2011

2012

The construction process is finished. It spends more than one year to give people the time to imagine and reflect, although the work can be done within three months. Nov 19, The first meeting at the Women’s Center is held to figure out what kind of learning the women are attached to. Dec 19, Cooking Maftoul event. People are excited because it’s the first event in an open space.

2013

May 5, Gathering event of Arroub and Fawwar women Jul 18, Let’s Make it Green Event encourages people to grow plants in the plaza.

2014

Fawwar Popular Committee establishes an office of Campus in camps in Fawwar camp.

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Gathering of Arroub and Fawwar women

The wall around the plaza

Cooking maftoul event in the plaza 57

Ayat

Roofless


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COMMONING THE CITY RESEARCH

GLOSSARY

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WHAT’S MINE IS YOURS About the Author

Rachel Botsman writes, consults, and speaks on the power of collaboration and sharing, and on how it can transform the way we live. She received her BFA (with honors) from the University of Oxford and undertook her postgraduate studies at Harvard University. She has consulted with businesses around the world on brand and innovation strategy, and was a former director at the William J. Clinton Foundation. Rachel has lived and worked in the UK, the USA, Asia, and Australia. Roo Rogers is an entrepreneur and the president of Redscout Ventures, a venture company in New York. He has served as the co-founding partner of OZOlab and the former CEO of OZOcar, and his other endeavors include Drive Thru Pictures, UNITY TV, and Wenite. He received his BA from Columbia College, and his Masters in Economic Development from University College London. He lives in New York City.

About the Book

“Amidst a thousand tirades against the excesses and waste of consumer society, What’s Mine Is Yours offers us something genuinely new and invigorating: a way out.” —Steven Johnson, author of The Invention of Air and The Ghost Map

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Glossary


WHAT’S MINE IS YOURS OVER CONSUMPTION

DEMATERIALIZATION

“Not only do the things we own fill up our closets and our lives, but they also fill our minds.”

“As our possessions ‘dematerialize’ into the intangible, our preconceptions of ownership are changing, creating a dotted line between ‘what’s mine,’ ‘what’s yours,’ and ‘what’s ours.’ ”

Over consumption is the behavior and habit consumers develop over consumption process. The satisfaction of purely in possession of the stuff drives people keeping purchasing and enjoying the ownership of the things people don’t even often utilize. Over consumption not only leads to the pressure on the environment but also is drowning our lives.

Dematerialization is the process people change the attitude towards ownership from the physical possession to the right of access.

REDISTRIBUTION MARKETS

COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION

“...keep stuff circulating, maximizing use and extending the life span of individual items” Redistribution markets encourage the sellers and consumers to collaborate in determining the rules of the markets, to build trust among the participants and to recirculate the stuff which is not in use into reuse.

“...is a new promising economic and social mechanism that starts to balance individual needs with those of our communities and planet.” Collaborative consumption is an economic model when people own the products, spaces and services with large idling capacity and share them with others to reduce the environmental and social implication of over-consumption. It makes people become micro-entrepreneurs and builds up a new collaborative community among the people participated in the consumption process.

CRITICAL MASS “...is a sociological term used to describe the existence of enough momentum in a system to make it become self-sustaining.” Critical mass is the tipping point decided by the expectation of the users. Having enough critical mass means that in the collaborative system, the users are satisfied with the choice and convenience available to them.

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IDLING CAPACITY “The unused potential of those 50 million drills when they are not in use is referred to as idling capacity.” Idling capacity is the capacity left for extra use when the stuff is not being used, space is not occupied or any other format of resources is not fully taken advantage of.

COMMUNITY “We believe we will look back and see this epoch as a time when we took a leap and re-created a sustainable system built to serve basic human needs – in particular, the needs for community.” The community in collaborative consumption is the group of people who join in the collaborative process and expect to achieve individual identity, mutual recognition in the community. The members of the community perform the sharing activities and collaborative behaviors.

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THE CITY AS COMMONS About the Author

Stavros Stavrides is an architect, activist and associate professor at the School of Architecture, National Technical University of Athens, where he teaches courses on social housing design, as well as a postgraduate course on the social meaning and significations of metropolitan experience.

About the Book

With Common Space, Stavrides calls for a re-conceiving of public and private space in the modern age. Stavrides appeals for a new understanding of common space not only as something that can be governed and open to all, but as an essential aspect of our world that expresses, encourages, and exemplifies new forms of social relations and shared experiences. He shows how these spaces are created, through a fascinating global examination of social housing, self-built urban settlements, street peddlers, and public art and graffiti. The first book to explicitly tackle the notion of the city as commons, Common Space, offers an insightful study into the links between space and social relations, revealing the hidden emancipatory potential within our urban worlds

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Glossary


THE CITY AS COMMONS URBAN ORDERING MECHANISMS

COMMON SPACE “...is a set of spatial relations produced by commoning practices.” “...can be considered as a relation between a social group and its effort to define a world that is shared between its members.”

“...are mechanisms of social normalization. Normalization shapes human behavior and may use space to do so. It has to be the result of certain arrangement of power relations.”

Common space is the spatial area where the emancipating potentialities of sharing are being experienced through the commoning practices. The rules of the common space are constantly being negotiated. New relations between people are produced in the common space.

Urban ordering mechanisms are mechanisms that can regulate the urban environment and able to learn from their own mistakes and keep modifying the systems to make sure the urban environment can work in order.

URBAN ENCLAVES

INSTITUTIONS OF EXPANDING COMMONS

“...tend to be self-contained worlds in which specific forms of spatial ordering prevail. Enclaves are spatial forms of a normalized state of exception.” Urban enclaves are concentrated areas that have their own boundary and work in their own order. Within the enclave, the users share certain similarities. The identity and characteristics of enclaves are defined by the enclave users and differ from one enclave to another.

“Compatibility, translatability, power sharing and gift offering are indeed forms of relations between subjects of commoning that encourage commoning to expand beyond the limits of any closed community.” The qualities of the institutions of expanding commons are 1) different subjects of action and different practices can meet and be aware of one another, 2) the opportunities and tools are provided to allow negotiations, and 3) any accumulation of power by individuals or groups should be prevented. The institutions of expanding commons should be flexible and welcome to the newcomers instead of forcing the newcomers to accept the rules unconditionally.

OTHERNESS “...is a relational term. Approaching otherness is therefore an act involving both spatial and temporal passages.” Otherness is the material, time or space that one needs to cross the boundaries to get in touch with.

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THRESHOLDS “...both symbolize and concretize the socially meaningful act of connecting while separating and separating while connecting.” Thresholds are the status of transition from a previous social identity to the next. Thresholds are acts of passage from one condition to another.

POROSITY “...is a new promising economic and social mechanism that starts to balance individual needs with those of our communities and planet.” Collaborative consumption is an economic model when people own the products, spaces and services with large idling capacity and share them with others to reduce the environmental and social implication of over-consumption. It makes people become micro-entrepreneurs and builds up a new collaborative community among the people participated in the consumption process.

HETEROTOPIAS “...are not simply places of the other, or the deviant as opposed to the normal, but places in which otherness proliferates, potentially spilling over into the neighboring areas of ‘sameness’.” Heterotopias are heterogeneous spaces existing in reality but are the osmosis areas where different identities can meet and the otherness may be transformed into the sameness in the heterotopias.

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COMMONING THE CITY

THESIS NARRATIVE

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TEMPORALITY / PERMANENCE Chun Zheng

TEMPORALITY

power. In the book–the city as commons, Stavrides talked about The expanding of the commons should always keep the compatibility. Commons should always invite different groups or individuals to become co-producers which means the commons shouldn’t be over-institutionalized when expanding.

Most of the professional training, thinking and strategies of urban designers are three-dimensional. But, of course, the city is four dimensional, and we need to acknowledge the influence of time in design. Similarly, there has been relatively little research on the importance of interim, short-term or temporary activities in urban areas. In an era of increasing pressure on scarce resources, vacancy and dereliction shouldn’t always wait for developers to start new development and realize them step by step. Thus, temporary use is increasingly important for urban design.

From the opportunities and challenges of temporality. I want to further explore the question of the transition from temporality to the permanence of the commons. I found City in the Making a best case study to be inspiring for this question. City in the Making

The commons often aims to respond to a sudden crisis and if I quote Harvey’s words–is not ‘a particular kind of thing’ but ‘an unstable and malleable social relation’. So the commons is by nature always-in-themaking and can’t be pre-planned and wait for step by step implementation. Hence, many practices of commoning often start with temporary use and see temporality as an opportunity.

City in the Making is a project takes on the redevelopment of vacant properties aiming at establishing affordable housing and working spaces in collective ownership and management. After the 2008 financial crisis in Rotterdam, artists Ana and Marc from Stealth.unlimited are struck by the imbalance between too many vacant buildings, and very few affordable housing. When they discover that real-estate developer Havensteder has to bear a loss of around 60,000 Euro over the next 8 to 10 years to simply maintain its vacant buildings, they persuade the developer to spend the money upfront and let them temporarily use the buildings in exchange of up-keeping them.

What does temporality mean? Temporary can be a powerful tool through which we can drip-feed initiatives for incremental change. In the temporary state, the commons provides an opportunity in flux because temporality allows the users to try alternative ways of live-work together and the users are more open to changes. Sometimes, temporary uses are also limited to fewer legal/political restrictions. The famous Time Square Intervention is a model of temporary use. The result of the temporary changes in time square was dramatic led to the decision of the permanent closure of Broadway at Time Square.

City in the Making is concerned with developing a business model, in which each building has a micro-circular economy able to afford its own upkeep. It has created a mix of live-work and common spaces in each of the buildings. The ground floors are made available for production and collective use while the upper floors are made suitable for living and/or working.

However, the opportunities opened by temporality come with challenges as well. Sometimes, the temporary interventions don’t have enough energy to sustain their momentum. Sometimes, they can successfully revitalize neighborhoods, attract investment but they would easily go through the trajectories of displacement. Even they can expand and scale up, they still face the challenged of losing their emancipation

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City in the Making also offers specific kinds of resource to the neighborhood while contributing to the diversification of street and neighborhood life.

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Temporary change in Time Square

Circular economies in City in the Making

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Thesis Proposal


Compatibility, translatability, power sharing and gift offering are indeed forms of relations between subjects of commoning that encourage commoning to expand beyond the limits of any closed community. Expanding commoning always invites different groups or individuals to become co-producers of common world-in-the-making. – Stavros Stavrides Common Space: The City as Commons

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Renovation of the first property, City in the Making 73


Overview of a Lilong neighborhood


Starting from their first 2 properties and until now, City in the Making has an expanding network of 8 buildings. They remove the properties from the real estate market, owns and manages the properties for a period of 3-10 years. The project started from purely temporary vacancy management with ambitions to move beyond such temporary uses. In the future, they even have a scenario to achieve a long-term socially and economically sustainable life in the city and become the market itself. City in the Making is not the only project has such ambitions. How City in the Making deals with temporality leads to my questions: What are the factors that contribute or limit the transition of the commons from temporality to permanence? Can early measures and strategies be identified in order to create the dynamic mechanism that allow the project sustain and expand over time without losing the emancipatory power?

URBAN MILIEU The urban milieu I chose is in Shanghai, one of the world’s largest metropolitan. As the opposite of the prosperity, Lilong is viewed as the scar of the city. Li means neighborhood, long means lanes and streets. These 2 words combine to describe a traditional urban neighborhood form in Shanghai. For the past few decades, we have seen a drastically decreased number of Lilong from near 4000 longs to only 1000 left now. Lilong is constantly in the controversy of demolition and preservation.


TANGIBLE AND INTANGIBLE ISSUES We can easily observe the tangible issues in Lilong neighborhoods: The original living units in the buildings have been divided into smaller units to meet the increasing need for spaces because of the new generations. There are still 40% of the residents who do not own a private toilet or kitchen and have to use shared facilities. We often see damaged shared facilities. Originally, the neighborhood has clear streets pattern and a clear public and private boundary. However, the residents have taken informal occupations–structure built or stuff piled in the public space and destructed the urban pattern. The residents think invading public space and dividing living units are ways to improve their lives, but actually, these actions cause the exacerbation of poor living environment. Physically, how can we break this cycle and think the challenge of the growing need for spaces as an opportunity? Underneath the problems of the physical environment, what Lilong has to face are actually dilemmas rooted in the social mechanism. Sharing was a tradition in Lilong neighborhoods which has been lost nowadays. The residents in Lilong brought their meals out to the alley and shared the food together. The old did knitting in front of their front doors and chatted with each other. Nowadays, although we can still see trading carts in the alley and people still utilize shared facilities, the tradition is long gone. Using the shared facilities is a sharing out of living needs instead of their willingness. How can the temporary interventions make the existing activities visible, bring people together and encourage them to coordinate instead of doing their own things? How to preserve morphology of the neighborhood and the spirit of the traditional community but reinvent how it can be used today as a commons and imagining new ways of sharing?

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A family is having dinner in the alley

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Thesis Proposal


METHOD I envision the project will experience 4 stages: •Temporary interventions as triggers; •Building connections and creating catalyst effect; •Forming a robust network from inside-out; •Being widely spread and gain the collective energy against the counter forces. The case studies I chose can resonate the questions I’m interested in and also be inspiring for Lilong. Specifically, Roofless, R-Urban and West Philadelphia Landscape Project can be good references for my research and design proposal. ROOFLESS Roofless is a collective design project of a plaza in Al-Fawwar camp, Palestine led by Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency(DAAR). The plaza represents not only the design of a physical space but also initiates a long process of negotiation and collective emancipation. The Fawwar Camp was established in 1949 after the occupation of Palestine by Israeli forces. People in the camp don’t own their own homes, so it’s not private. The UN only provides the refugees with fundamental living supplies like food and water and doesn’t not administrate the camp, so it can’t be defined as public. The camp is neither private nor public. It’s the spaces of collectivity where people share life together. Palestine refugees have lived in the Camp for three generations and yet their hope to return to their homeland makes their situation temporal and precarious. In the absence of public politics and governance, and the political resistance to settling down, here, the notion of the public sphere and collective institutions barely exist. The project raises questions about how a space for coming together can

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Method and Vision Diagram

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Thesis Proposal


be constructed within the framework of a permanent temporality?

comprising facilities for reusing locally salvaged materials.

The plaza sees the struggle that how can the refugees enjoy a more permanent form of life despite the temporary exile situation.

(3)EcoHub hasn’t been built, is a cooperative and ecological housing hub. Together, they form a network which is diverse and modulable. These circuits form an ecological metabolic system based on ecosystem services and tight feedback loops. Citizens can be involved in different ways, from participating in events and training programmes, to supporting and running the hubs.

The design of the plaza is not only the physical space but also the negotiation process. In 2007, the design group starts conversations with residents in the camp. The collective design process gives the users the opportunity to be part of the design and construction process and thus build up their sense of ownership. The architects talk to every family to decide how high they want the wall in front of their home. The plaza ends up to be an open plaza within the neighborhood but with a closed format with all the walls around it. The closed plaza makes the public and private became vague and allows more freedom for the users.

The initiators created this network and guide the participants through the first several years and withdraw from the project later. This leaves the space for the users to create their own mechanism for running and managing the project.

Roofless is built as a house without the roof where the domesticity is flipped inside-out. By bringing the activities out to the plaza, the residents view the plaza as the common living room where conversations are encouraged. A series of events held in the plaza have enhanced the mutual cooperation and the social connection among people.

The leases obtained for the two R-Urban hub sites are only short-term. The Colombes municipality supports speculative development and can’t provide a long-term lease for R-Urban beyond the term of the office. R-Urban didn’t last in Colombes, but the co-production model is widely recognized by people. AgroCité is recently reconstructed in Gennevilliers, another district in rural Paris.

R-URBAN

WEST PHILADELPHIA LANDSCAPE PROJECT

R-Urban is a bottom-up strategy initiated by Atelier d’Architecture Autogeree(AAA) in Colombes, France. It introduces a network of resident-run facilities to enhance the capacity of urban resilience.

The West Philadelphia Landscape Project (WPLP) is inspiring to my final vision of Lilong. The project is a model that the history and physical environment can enhance community engagement and shape city life.

The resilient network is based on three civic hubs: (1)AgroCité is an urban agriculture hub. It transforms a vacant lot into a space for co-production, diverse economies and knowledge dissemination.

In the late 19th century, the Mill Creek in Mill Creek neighborhood was covered over and converted to a sewer, which has caused problems ever since, including cave-ins and structural damage to buildings. As a result, Mill Creek becomes home to an abundance of vacant land and abandoned properties.

(2)RecycLab, a recycling and eco-construction hub

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Women are meeting in Roofless plaza

Learn-Construction-Design in WPLP

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Thesis Proposal


Busy processing the food in AgroCitĂŠ, R-Urban

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Cooking event in Roofless plaza

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The strategy of WPLP is composed by 3 parts: education, construction and design.

CONCLUSION To recapitulate the lessons I learned from the case studies and can be inspiring for my thesis project:

(1)Education WPLP employs landscape literacy. The inability to “read” the landscape prevents public officials and community residents alike from understanding the risks and opportunities posed by the buried floodplain of Mill Creek. The project helps residents to understand how their neighborhood came to be and the forces that continue to shape it.

•The designer plays a key role in the initial stage and can gradually withdraw from the project •Finding a third area between the public and private space •Bringing domestic activities to the public and make them the triggers of conversations

(2)Construction Since 1995, WPLP and Aspen Farms have been partners in developing and implementing an urban watershed curriculum for Sulzberger Middle School, which combines local history and landscape design. Sulzberger students, along with the students of Upenn, use the garden as a construction practicing field.

•Building a robust cyclical economic and social model •Exploring the root of the problems through history and beyond the physical appearance •Education is about knowledge and skill that can sustain for a long time.

(3)Design Through over 30 year’s long-term community engagement, WPLP and residents of the Mill Creek neighborhood marry professional expertise with local knowledge to create projects that improve the physical environment and express their shared values and goals for the neighborhood.

Finally, coming back to the question of temporality. The thesis proposal tries to resonate with a quote from the book–Urban Catalyst: “Instead of creating self-contained areas, they create public places, a magnet that, if they are successful, function as the urban hot sport. The basic principle is not exclusion but creating attractors, even if these places target a very specific public.”

WPLP really combines top-down and bottom-up approaches to design and addresses concerns that are often seen as separate, such as polluted water, vacant land, poverty, and troubled public schools.

An Atlas of Commoning - MUD 2017 Fall

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Instead of creating self-contained areas, they (temporary uses) create public places, a magnet that, if they are successful, function as the urban hot sport. The basic principle is not exclusion but creating attractors, even if these places target a very specific public. – Philipp Oswalt, Klaus Overmeyer and Philipp Misselwitz Urban Catalyst, The Power of Temporary Use

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Thesis Proposal


Commoning the City_MUD F17_ pure part  
Commoning the City_MUD F17_ pure part  
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