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StadsSalonsUrbain – The City as a Commons

The City as a commons: deep democracy, diffused governance & social reproduction

Part of the 2021/22 StadsSalonsUrbains lecture series ‘Cities for People, not for Profit. From private ownership to communal stewardship’.

Governance systems should be designed with one purpose in mind: that of addressing the grave multiple crises of reproduction, both social and ecological while at the same time promoting good life for all. This of course implies deaccumulating capitalist social relations and to establish new social process of production, distribution and exchange that are in line with ecological and social objectives. Where do we start? From social reproduction itself, as the field of social cooperation that has the potential to be a recomposition field of multiple issues and subjectivities, and that if reclaimed in novel organizational and institutional forms through deep democracy and diffused governance, can re-articulate our multiple dependencies by redefining the quantitative and relational/qualitative aspects of social reproduction as a whole.

In this talk I provide a framework that enables us to peek at a way to handle the complexity of governing a city as a commons, a complexity related to the need to articulate freedom and autonomy of the parts, with cohesiveness of the whole, in a context of de-accumulation (de-growth) of capitalist relations and processes, while seeking to address the quality of life of the city’s inhabitants and reducing the ecological impact of its operations. I will provide this framework through Stafford Beer’s Viable System Model as applied to the city under one fundamental assumption: that the city as a whole intends to put social reproduction as its key purpose and its inhabitant intend to govern it as a commons.

  • Professor Massimo De Angelis (University of East London) 


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17:30 > 19:30



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