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From Commons to Urban Commons. Complexity and contradiction in the translation of a concept.

Francesco Caneschi



The notion of commons has been translated, in the last two decades, from the field of natural resources to the urban dimension. As every translation goes, something is lost and something can be found.

The theory of urban commons, far from being completeor exhaustive, has been also linked to the inflated slogan of the right to the city.

This article illustrates how and why the concepts of commonsright to the city and urbancommons are linked together. This insight will allow to understand the differences between these conceptsand, therefore, will point out their complexities and contradictions.

Urbancommons are addressed through the theoretical frame of the concept of commons, studied by Hardin and Ostrom, through the notions of habitand performance as articulated by Hardt and Negri and through the metaphor of thethreshold developed by Stavrides.

The conclusion of the article highlights the relational nature of the urbancommons, and thefindings outline their relation with the concepts of process, time and fugitive democracy.

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