In the U.S., and around the world, vacant and abandoned urban land and structures is more ubiquitous than most people realize. This is true in resurgent and declining cities, and their suburbs. In this lecture, Professor Foster will make the case why we should think about this urban infrastructure - physical spaces, structures, buildings, etc.— as a “commons” capable of being generative to meet the social and economic needs of the most vulnerable urban populations. Thinking of the city as a commons recognizes as legitimate, and even innovative, the collective action of various urban actors who utilize land and other infrastructure to construct informal settlements, community gardens and urban farms, mesh wireless networks, and new limited equity housing and commercial spaces that are then collaboratively stewarded by an identified community or group of people. Thinking of the city as a commons requires us to move beyond the public/private and market/state binaries when thinking about urban development and revitalization. It is in the space between public and private, market and state, where we can find a set of rich conceptual and practical solutions to enduring racial and economic inequities that continue to plague many communities around the world, particularly those on the margins—social, economic, and geographic—of so many cities.
This lecture will be followed by a Q&A. You may ask questions during this time using the Q&A feature on Zoom, or you may submit questions for the speaker beforehand using this link: https://harvard.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_1ESdavyfqGjDbRX