Photo by Nick Wates via, from Squatting: The Real Story, 1980

Ioana Petkova



In Common

New Alliances for Owning, Sharing and Dwelling in London 

The thesis discusses alternative modes of production known as commoning in relation to London’s housing condition. Amidst today’s financialised context, the research turns to grassroots sharing practices as successful local examples of accessible housing economies. While such socio-political models of self-governance cut across notions of ownership, access, production, sustainability and subjectivity, their complexity remains uncaptured in the existing architectural scholarship on shared living. This gap is the main focus of the research which explores how the process of commoning materialises in the domestic spatial practices of such sharing communities.

The thesis approaches the topic through a tripartite structure. The first part situates the research at the intersection between domestic spatial practices, political economy and economic anthropology. The second part assumes a historical perspective by constructing a genealogy of commons-based housing projects. The third part draws on qualitative data from interviews with dwellers of commoned households in London.

The research is important for several reasons. Firstly, in the context of exacerbating housing crises around the globe, it adds to the knowledge on creating more accessible and sustainable housing economies. Secondly, it foregrounds cases from London’s alternative housing history, providing a better record for architects, local authorities and grassroots initiatives. Finally, it supports design researchers and practitioners in defining new models for reading and engaging with such sharing collectives, potentially informing new design methodologies.


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Ines Weizman