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Housing as a Common: Practices and Policies of Self-organised Housing Communities

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Minora, Francesco
Conference: Practicing the Commons: Self-Governance, Cooperation and Institutional Change
Location: Utrecht, the Netherlands
Conf. Date: 10-14 July
Date: 2017
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/10367
Sector: Social Organization
Region: Europe
Subject(s): housing
Abstract: "Traditionally considered a private space in Western countries, housing takes instead a series of common spaces that make it usable and shape it as commons. From kommunalka2 to the stairs in condominiums, from common entrances and gardens of residential complexes managed by homeowners' associations or cohousing setups to the facades decorated by artists in the urban landscape, many spaces share a common element that represents a real intrinsic factor for shaping housing as we know it today. Today in Europe, we are witnessing a re-emergence of several housing practices that make self-organisation of communities the main vehicle to achieve fine-quality housing, such as making the price affordable or increasing and enhancing the number of services. Such practices may constitute a critique of the way that housing policies are currently defined, which often dramatically underestimate the importance of the issue of common housing. Comparing housing studies on self-organising communities with the study of commons in housing, this paper examines this issue more in depth, addressing from a theoretical perspective the idea that housing can be considered a common good under certain conditions. Some paradigmatic cases are discussed, showing how from the home to the neighbourhood scale, the common dimension is relevant to defining new housing policies."

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