The new commons thinking, fuelled after the civic disobedience movements of 21st century, right to the city movements and dispossession of the 99%, incontrovertible climate, finance and social crises, offers a new structure of social production and reproduction. Among many other disciplines it is also architecture’s liability to transform or interpret this thinking into spatial practices as a form of post-capitalist living. So how will architects position themselves within this framework? We are already witnessing that a big portion of the professionals are trying to keep the facade with the “business-as-usual” attitude while others are experimenting through projects of urban guerrilla tactics, co-housing, squatting, etc. Going beyond the already existing patterns of property (for so long defined as either public or private) commons architecture is a playground where critical spatial practices are tested and experimented. Setting the framework of commons architecture and how its implications can be shared in the form of knowledge commons are the main objectives of my research.
In this scope, the main research questions are as follows:
What is commons architecture, what are its main characteristics?
How can we activate knowledge commons for commons architecture? What are our resources, community and rules of appropriation to generate this commoning process?
How can we make this knowledge commons sustainable in terms of governance, finance and innovation?
Formulating my research in two main tracks as content and form in the first oral presentation I kept my work structured under these two titles. For the content part (related to the first research question), we have written a paper with Burak Pak to communicate well what we mean by “commons architecture”. This document is also open for co-ideation on the collective pad
For the form part (the second research question), with Burak we have written another paper focusing on the short-comings on the conventional architecture media. It is also on pad . And I have been collaborating with intentional communities, architecture networks to see how the form of collective work can be generated and sustained as commons (the third research question). The labs below are all considered as test grounds not only for finding tools for knowledge commons but also for understanding the interpersonal relationships and their impact within the community and/or network. I have spent a lot of time in attending conferences and workshops as I considered them as the best places to meet like-minded researchers who in time might be involved in the community I want to build for the platform.
Below is the ecosystemic map of my activities, how they connect to knowledge commons and form & content structure of the research.
PhD as knowledge commons
November 2017-… | Global
Considering my own research as an open-source to be shared with interested researchers or practitioners working on similar topics makes it coherent with the principles I carry out in my PhD. All my work related to my Phd is on +commons architecture, a collaborative pad where anyone with the link can edit and comment. While sharing the link with my fellows I also encourage them to share it with people who are working on these issues as well. Until now more than 30 people have roamed the pad by signing in to Paper by Dropbox and more than a dozen others that I cannot track. The structure consists of my action plans, questions, fragments, list of initiatives working on commons, events calendar and articles, etc. We, with Burak Pak also collectively write our articles on the pad, openly even in its very draft state. The main idea is to test the knowledge commons while working on the research. (Appendix 1: the whole layout of the pad)
October 2018-… | Brussels | with research collective
We, approximately 15 researchers working on similar topics such as social inclusion, co-creation, critical mapping, commons etc are forming a new research collective. For this research collective to be compatible with the ideas inherent in each of our researches we are building knowledge commons within and around the research collective through collective writing, network mapping and peer to peer sharing. For me, this is a good test ground for self-governance for accumulative knowledge generation in an intentional community. We are discussing and experimenting with digital tools for an efficient collaborative work.
June 2018-… | Turkey | with Duygu Toprak and Selcuk Balamir
Duygu Toprak (lead), master student in urban planning at METU, Ankara, Selcuk Balamir, PhD Fellow at the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis and me have applied for European Cultural Foundation’s Europe’s Courageous Citizens call and received a fund to map the commons initiatives in Turkey. During a two-days of intense workshop in October 2018 we have set the timelines and the operative framework and we are developing the project accordingly. This collaboration provides me in-depth understanding on the commoning practices in Turkey through a critical lens.
April 2018-… | Global | with CivicWise (Alfonso Sanchez Uzábal, Pascual Perez, Matteo Di Cristofaro, Jorge Toledo, Iona Valero, Jonathan Reyes Gonzales et al)
A group of us in (network of people working on civic innovation for territtory making) are trying to generate a repository of free open sofwares for collaborative work. We aim to propose an alternative to existing commercial sofwares for collective initiatives so their digital tools are coherent with their ideals. I consider this lab as an important learning ground for my understanding on knowledge commons.
Lost in Translation
July 2017-… | Global | with CivicWise (Alfonso Sanchez Uzábal, Pascual Perez, et al)
Another group of us in CivicWise started working on communication of the group both internally and externally. As a first step we rewrote the texts on the website and opened it to feedbacks from the whole network which is more than 600 people on the Slack channel with approximately 100 active members. In the last big gathering we decided to rename our work from communication to caretaking of the community and decided to invent new tools for our non-hierarchical network. For me the Lost in Translation is a good place to experience the interpersonal relationships in horizontal communities and to seek facilitation tools for better engagement within the network.
Master Dissertation Studio: Activating Urban Commons through Architecture(s)/Sint-Lucas KU Leuven
September 2018-June 2019 | Brussels | with Burak Pak, Isabelle Tjampens, François Maindiaux, Yannick Sluyts, Julie Charlot
The studio aims to investigate architecture’s capacity in generating sharing spaces for (re)production of socio-spatial interaction. The studio itself is also being co-designed as a common space where the traditional boundaries between the tutors and students are also challenged for a peer-to-peer learning environment. Working more likely as a group of six commoners we consider our personal knowledge as shared resources and write and rewrite our protocols to collaborate more fruitfully. The studio also has a collective pad +activating urban commons studio (Appendix 2)
What is Commons Architecture?
18-22 June 2018 | TICYUrb: Third International Conference of Young Urban Researchers, ISCTE-IUL. Lisbon | with Burak Pak
Paper presented in the conference, past through peer-review with no major revisions waiting to be published in the conference proceedings (Appendix 3)
Extract from the abstract: “In this paper we introduce a manifesto of commons architecture as provocation to rethink architecture and its practitioners. We frame commons architecture as the critical practice of social (re)production of space. We propose three ends and two means for an operative framework for commons architecture, and move on to elaborate on the concepts and practices of the common good, the critical spatial practice and post-capitalism as ends and the agency of hacking and feminism the relevant means.”
Post-truth in Architecture Media
28-30 November 2018 | After post-truth: 2nd Interface Politics International Conference, BAU Design College of Barcelona | with Burak Pak
Paper submitted to conference after abstract accepted through a double blind peer-review process (Appendix 4)
Extract from the abstract: “…the main aim of this paper is to initiate a critical discussion on the forms of post-truth such as manipulation of knowledge; censorship, self-censoring and blackout; commercialization of knowledge and poor journalism within the mainstream architecture media. The paper starts with a visit to three scenes experienced by the authors, revealing different forms of post-truth in this domain. Afterwards, we discuss the emergence and evolution of post-truth in relation to the architecture media. Following the presentation of a theoretical framework for the future of a post-truth-proof architecture media, we introduce the idea of a knowledge commons...”