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Design as Commoning: Drawing Together with Care

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Abstract

This chapter places the evolving discourse of the commons in architecture and urbanism in relation to broader cosmopolitical questions concerning the agency and response-ability of design. It contends that more than a socially held or produced resource, the commons must be reconceived in a twofold manner: from a discrete locus (the commons) to a process (commoning, or the politics of connection), and in turn, from concerning primarily human decisions to explicitly involving a more-than-human ensemble. In this shift to a systems-relational approach, commoning becomes a cipher for rethinking our relation to relation. The first section of the chapter addresses the polemics of commons discourse and its reflections in architecture and urbanism. It follows several historical threads leading to the more recent re-conceptualization of commoning as the politicization of livelihood relations. The second part situates these trajectories within the feminist material-semiotics of care, positing it as a lens to refract current discussions of commoning in design. Incorporating contemporary examples, the chapter concludes with two postulations for drawing as a material-semiotic practice of commoning, building from the Latourian provocation of “drawing together.” Drawing-together those who have nothing in common involves representing the manifold entities assembled in, and affected by, design. And drawing, together, common-enough worlds entangles these heterogeneous agencies in new constellations beyond received roles and hierarchies, recasting design as a collective production. Both examples begin a renegotiation of the ways in which the designer’s place in webs of life and matter matter, and how we might act care-fully with(in) them.

Keywords

  • Commons
  • Commoning
  • Entanglement
  • Care
  • Collective production
  • Design

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-95057-6_14
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Notes

  1. 1.

    An incomplete list includes the Venice Biennale of Architecture “Common Ground” (2012) and the upcoming “How Will We Live Together?” (2021); the conferences “Designing the Urban Commons​” in London (2015) and “Constructing the Commons​” at TU Delft (2016); the ongoing travelling exhibition “An Atlas of Commoning: Places of Collective Production” (2018–); two instalments of the Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism, “Imminent Commons” (2017) and “Collective City” (2019); and the Tbilisi Architecture Biennial “What Do We Have In Common” (2020).

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Vass, L., Cloutier, R., Sylvia, N. (2022). Design as Commoning: Drawing Together with Care. In: Bruyns, G., Kousoulas, S. (eds) Design Commons. Design Research Foundations. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-95057-6_14

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