18: Commons-Based Mending Ecologies

How can a strategic design project enable ecological reparation in deprived suburban neighbourhoods? Repairing broken social relations, altered subjectivities, depleted imaginaries, unjust politics and uneven economics as well as repairing neighbourhood assets, poor architectures, damaged environments and ultimately participating in repairing the planet, doing all this together with concerned communities – this is the ambitious goal of the R-Urban project initiated by atelier d’architecture autogérée. R-Urban creates possibilities for a commons-based mending ecology through a network of civic hubs in which inhabitants of suburban neighbourhoods can develop resilience practices and create locally closed ecological circuits. Five such hubs have been built since 2011 in Paris and London. The chapter gives a critical account on the successes and failures of this undertaking, trying to demonstrate that commons can be a valid pathway for cities mending ecologies and that architects can facilitate this process.

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