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From teaching the commons to commoning teaching: towards a reflexive architectural education

Posted on 29-05-2023

While interest in the commons has increased over the years among academics in architecture, there are still limited examples of architectural education becoming in itself a commoning process. We suggest that in order to foster a commoning culture within architectural education, we need to invest in reflexive activities grounded on experimentation, creativity and collaboration.

This paper presents two academic activities independently developed but of similar characteristics in the number of the participants and their diversity in the level of study. The first is a thematic workshop held at the University Institute of Lisbon within an Erasmus+BIP, which through a scenario-based unstructured game invited students to strategize about their own urban commons developed in an empty plot at their university campus. The second case is the design & build workshop at the University of Cyprus implemented as the final stage of a semester-long co-creation process, in which students designed a park in suburban Nicosia and constructed part of its urban equipment. 

Both cases lifted operational, architectural, political, financial and social aspects contributing to the reconsideration of the role of the architect and the design process. By reflecting on these experiences through students’ and teachers’ observations we aim to cross-pollinate between approaches and understand the contribution of commoning as a tool for knowledge production towards the development of social and operational skills of the future professionals.

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