Commoning “Bucla” (the Loop) With Conviviality.
Ephemeral Spaces and Informal Practices in Support of Urban Commons in the Post-Socialist City

Alex Axinte
Doina Petrescu


urban commons
practice-based research
informal practices
collective housing
While cities are facing climate emergency, coupled with an increasing unequal access to resources and a shrinking democracy, the urban commons narrative have gained momentum (Foster and Iaione, 2016; De Angelis, 2017; Stavrides, 2019) as an alternative socio-political proposition, enabling a more democratic, just and sustainable society. Processes of commoning are enacted through situated practices of collective living, articulating alternatives to the hegemonic paradigm of individualization and marketization, transforming neighbourhoods at scale.
In the post-socialist city, thriving neoliberal policies brought massive changes, like radical privatization, collapsing public infrastructure and rampant individualization. Neighbourhoods’ public grid was fragmented, underfinanced and commodified, needing repair, maintenance and support, triggering thus collaboration and care among its users by activating what De Angelis calls “latent” commons in society (2017). Here, inhabitants stepped in and transformed the in-between spaces of the collective housing estates through community gardens, DIY furniture, animals’ support structures or using garages for socializing.
This paper investigates these manifestations of urban commons within the process of collective housing neighbourhoos regeneration in the context of post-socialist city and seeks to propose formats where designers can act in support for such commons to emerge. The paper is based on the case study of OPEN Garage project-space located in Drumul Taberei neighbourhood, Bucharest. The aims of the project were twofold: to work as a “supplement room” for the inhabitants of the Loop area by piloting a practice-based community equipment and to engage in practice-based research in support of the informal collective practices.
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Axinte, Alex, and Doina Petrescu. “Commoning “Bucla” (the Loop) With Conviviality. Ephemeral Spaces and Informal Practices in Support of Urban Commons in the Post-Socialist City.” studies in History and Theory of Architecture, no. 10 (2022): 145-158.