Civic Imaginaries: Urban commons

In 2015, the pilot University Transdisciplinary Lab was launched entitled Civic Innovation: Strategies and Practices for Transformative Change. Bringing together faculty and students from across different parts of The New School, this experimental initiative created an innovative pedagogical space for developing new ideas and practices to address pressing social challenges. Working in teams, students collaborated closely with faculty as well as practitioners across sectors to model new approaches to collaborating for transformative change.

In 2016, we continue to explore new answers to increasingly complex societal challenges. Our focus over this academic year is the urban commons. By ‘urban commons’ we mean a variety of social arrangements that enable sharing of information, materials and resources among urban denizens, to meet their needs. These arrangements are shaped by governments through the enactment of laws but not solely by them; instead we argue that ultimately such sharing occurs through the ability of different actors to work together, and design organizational and regulatory mechanisms that enable and encourage mutual cooperation.

In Fall 2016, the course will explore broad theoretical, conceptual questions regarding the urban commons. In Spring 2017 we will create opportunities for practical applications: students form groups to investigate an example of the urban commons, and consider factors required for its design, prototyping and governance.

The course will be relevant to those interested in understanding the interplay between design and management in terms of urban settings. The course will also be relevant to those seeking creative experiences in urban activism and innovative forms of social analysis.


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