Episode 45 – Housing Commons & Collectives: European & US Perspectives

After discussing expropriation efforts in Berlin recently, this episode will widen the discussion of housing commons to perspectives, differences, and potentials in Europe and the US.

Housing was and remains one of the crucial social issues of our time. From Friedrich Engels discussion of the housing question to the idea of ‘commons’ gaining more traction in urban activism and research, we delve into recent developments in collective housing experiments, activism, policy models, and the role of intersectionality in the debate.

Follow Amanda Huron, Mara Ferreri, Matt Thompson, and DJ Madden discussing central questions regarding commons, cooperatives, and the state. What is ‘the commons’ in relation to housing and why has it gained traction among scholars and activists alike? What housing common projects do exist in Europe and the US? How do class, race and gender play into this? How can the collective energy, solidarity and excitement for housing commons be sustained in the long run? What role should the state play in housing?

This episode is part of an ongoing collaboration with Minim: https://minim-municipalism.org/

Our host:

Matt Thompson

Matt is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Liverpool, interested in municipalism, urban commons and policy models and movements for cooperative development and economic democracy. He is the author of the open access book Reconstructing Public Housing: Liverpool’s hidden history of collective alternatives. Matt was a commissioner for the Liverpool City Region Land Commission and is an organising member of the Minim Municipalism Observatory, an international network, magazine and database for municipalist movements.

Our guests:

Amanda Huron

Amanda is an Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences at the University of the District of Columbia. Her research interests are in urban geography, housing justice, and the history of Washington, D.C. In her 2018 book, Carving out the Commons: Tenant Organizing and Housing Cooperatives in Washington, D.C., she theorizes the urban commons through close examination of the experiences of limited-equity housing cooperatives in Washington. Amanda is active in housing work in Washington, and is a native of the city.

Mara Ferreri

Mara is an urban and cultural geographer working on issues of precarity, commons, housing and urban temporariness. She is the Vice Chancellor’s Research Fellow in Human Geography at Northumbria University, UK, prior to which she was a Marie Curie postdoctoral fellow at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, working on the 3-year project Commoning Housing. She is the author of ‘The permanence of temporary urbanism’ (Amsterdam University Press, 2021) and a founding editor of the open-access international Radical Housing Journal.

David Madden

David Madden is Associate Professor in Sociology and Co-Director of the Cities Programme at the London School of Economics. His work is focused on urban sociology, housing studies and social theory. He is co-author, with Peter Marcuse, of In Defense of Housing: The politics of crisis. He is on the editorial board of the journalCITY: Analysis of urban change, theory, action. His writing has appeared in academic venues well as in The Guardian, the Washington Post, and Jacobin. David can be found on Twitter @davidjmadden.