Skip to main content Skip to main navigation menu Skip to site footer

Urban Commons and the Right to the City


In the increasing cosmopolitan condition of our cities inclusionary urban commons are becoming more and more relevant as civic institutions for encounter, dialogue and collaboration. Their non-commodifiable asset experiences increasing issues of social inclusion, participation, privatisation and universal access. The papers included in this issue of The Journal of Public Space are focused on the development of the commons’ capacity firstly to contingently relate and articulate heterogeneous values and paradigms, personalities, spheres of thought and material and intangible elements; secondly to sustain equity, diversity, belonging by transforming conflicts in productive associations that counter conditions of antagonism to set up critically engaged agonistic ones (Connolly, 1995; Mouffe, 1999, 2008). They include analytical studies, critical appraisals and creative propositions—part of which documenting the City Space Architecture’s event at Freespace, the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale—which address the power of the inclusionary urban commons to support the constitution of free, open and participatory networks that enhance social, cultural and material production of urban communities by reclaiming, defending, maintaining, and taking care of the “coming together of strangers who work collaboratively […] despite their differences” (Williams, 2018: 17).

Pages:1 to 4
Section: Editorial
How to Cite
Manfredini, M. (2019) “Urban Commons and the Right to the City”, The Journal of Public Space, 4(4), pp. 1-4. doi:

Author Biography

Dr Manfredo Manfredini is Associate Professor at the University of Auckland and since 2016 he is Honorary Professor at the Hunan University, Changsha, China.
He studied architecture and urban design in Milan, Rome and Berlin and he has consistently been involved in fundamental and applied research projects, both locally and internationally research over a wide range of topics in architectural theory and criticism, as well as in design at architectural and urban scales. After teaching architecture and urban design in Italy, Germany and China, since 2010 he has been teaching architecture and urban design at the University of Auckland. His current research interests address post-urban spatialisation forms and correlated design aspects, particularly focusing on valorisation, re-qualification and redevelopment of architectural and urban heritage; affordable and special housing; and education in architecture. Each of these areas has been successfully developed in collaboration with international and multi-disciplinary teams, as proven by the track record of consistent publications, successful grants (national and international) and awards (e.g. first price Biennale di Venezia, Sironi Group), and invited participation in major global events (e.g. United Nation Habitat III).


Arendt, Hannah (1958). The Human Condition, Chicago: University of Chicago.

Benhabib, Sheila (2000). The reluctant modernism of Hannah Arendt, Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Borch, Christian and Kornberger, Martin (eds.) (2015). Urban commons: Rethinking the city, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

Butler, Chris (2012). Henri Lefebvre: Spatial Politics, Everyday Life, and the Right to the City, New York and London: Routledge.

Calhoun, Craig (1992) Introduction: Habermas and the public sphere, in Habermas and the public sphere. Studies in contemporary German social thought, ed. Craig Calhoun, Cambridge, MA, MIT Press, 1–50.

Connolly, W. E. (1995). The ethos of pluralization, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Davis, Mike (1990). City of quartz: Excavating the future in Los Angeles, New York: Verso.

Dawson, Ashley (2010). Introduction: New enclosures, New Formations, 69, 8–22.

Debord, Guy (1983 [1967]). Society of the spectacle, Detroit: Black & Red.

Dehaene Michiel and De Cauter, Lieven (2008a). Heterotopia in a postcivil society, in Heterotopia and the city: Public space in a postcivil society, ed. Michiel Dehaene and Lieven De Cauter, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 3–9.

Dehaene Michiel and De Cauter, Lieven (2008b). Notes, in Heterotopia and the City: Public Space in a Postcivil Society, ed. Michiel Dehaene and Lieven De Cauter, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 22–29.

Firat, A. Fuat & Venkatesh, Alladi (1995). Liberatory postmodernism and the reenchantment of consumption, Journal of Consumer Research, 22, 3: 239–267.

Flusty, S. (1997). Building paranoia, in Architecture of fear, ed. Nan Ellin, New York: Princeton Architectural Press. 47–59.

Foucault, Michel (1995). Discipline and punish: The birth of the prison, New York, Vintage Books.

Fraser, Nancy (1990). Rethinking the public sphere: A contribution to the critique of actually existing democracy. Social Text, 25/26: 56–80.

Garnett, Nicole Stelle (2012). Managing the urban commons, U. Pa. L. Rev. 160, 2012: 1995–2027.

Hardt, Michael and Negri, Antonio (2009). Commonwealth, Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University.

Harvey, David (2003). The new imperialism, New York: Oxford University Press.

Harvey, David (2007). Habermas and Foucault: Deliberative democracy and strategic state analysis, Contemporary Political Theory, 6, 2: 218–245.

Harvey, David (2008). The right to the city, New Left Review, 53: 23–40.

Harvey, David (2011). The future of the commons, Radical History Review, 109.

Harvey, David (2012). Rebel cities: From the right to the city to the urban revolution, New York: Verso Books.

Hodkinson, Stuart (2012). The new urban enclosures, City, 16, 5: 500–518.

Kristjansdottir, Sigridur & Sveinsson, Jon Runar (2016). Phantom suburbs out of the ashes, in Gromark, S., Ilmonen, M., Paadam, K. & Støa, E. (eds.) Ways of residing in transformation: Interdisciplinary perspectives, Farnham: Ashgate, 242-259.

Lee, Shin and Webster, Chris (2006). Enclosure of the urban commons. GeoJournal, 66: 27–42.

Lefebvre, Henri (1991 [1974]). The production of space, Oxford: Blackwell.

Lefebvre, Henri (1996). Writings on cities, Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.

Low, Setha (2006). How private interests take over public space: zoning, taxes, and incorporation of gated communities, in Politics of public space, eds. S. Low and N. Smith, New York: Routledge, 81-104.

Low, Setha and Smith, Neil (eds) (2006). Politics of public space, New York: Routledge.

Manfredini, Manfredo (2017). The augmented meta-public space: Interpreting emerging transductive territories in enhanced centres of consumption, The Journal of Public Space, 2, 3: 111–128.

Manfredini, Manfredo (2019), Simulation, Control and Desire: Urban Commons and Semi-Public Space Resilience in the Age of Augmented Transductive Territorial Production.The Journal of PublicSpace, 4, 2: 179-198.

McQuire, Scott (2008). The media city: Media, architecture and urban space, Los Angeles: Sage.

Miles, Steven and Miles, Malcolm (2004). Consuming cities, New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Minton, Anna (2012). Ground control: Fear and happiness in the twenty-first century city, London: Penguin.

Mitchell, Don (2003). The right to the city: Social justice and the fight for public space, New York: Guilford

Mitchell, Don (1995). The end of public space? People’s Park, definitions of the public, and democracy. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 85: 108–133.

Mitchell, Don (2017). People’s Park again: On the on-going history of the end of public space, Environment and Planning A, 49: 503–518.

Mouffe, Chantal (1999). Deliberative democracy or agonistic pluralism? Social Research, 6, 3: 745–758.

Mouffe, Chantal (2008). Public spaces and democratic politics. In Highrise–common ground. Art and the Amsterdam Zuidas area, ed. J. Boomgaard, Amsterdam, Netherlands: Valiz, 135–156.

Purcell, Mark (2002). Excavating Lefebvre: The right to the city and its urban politics of the inhabitant. GeoJournal, 58, 2–3: 99–108.

Purcell, Mark (2014). Possible worlds: Henri Lefebvre and the Right to the City, Journal of Urban Affairs, 36, 1: 141–154.

Sennett, Richard (1977). The fall of public man, New York: Knopf.

Sennett, Richard (2008). Reflections on the public realm, in A Companion to the City, eds. Gary Bridge and Sophie Watson, Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell,380-387.

Sennett, Richard (2018). The open City, in The Quito Papers and the New Urban Agenda, eds. UN-Habitat, Richard Sennett, Richard Burdett & Saskia Sassen, Abingdon, Oxon: Taylor and Francis, 90–95.

Soja, Edward (2010). Seeking spatial justice, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Sorkin, Michael (1992). Variations on a theme park: The new American city and the end of public space, New York: Hill and Wang.

Stanek, Lukasz (2011). Henri Lefebvre on space, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Susser, Ida and Tonnelat, Stéphane (2013). Transformative cities: The three urban commons, Focaal, 2013, 66: 105–121.

United Nations (2017). New Urban Agenda: Quito Declaration on Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements for All, adopted at United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development - Habitat III Quito, Ecuador, October 2016.

Villa, Dana (1992). Postmodernism and the public sphere, American Political Science Review, 86: 712–721.

Williams, Miriam J. (2018). Urban commons are more-than-property, Geographical Research, 56, 1: 16–25.
Open Access Journal
ISSN 2206-9658