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Productive Insurgence: Re(addressing) the ‘Tragedy of Commons’

Part 2 Project 2021
Lahiru Fernando
University of Moratuwa | Sri Lanka
The brutal capitalist transformation of the Sri Lankan urban context, which is happening under a profit-oriented urban planning direction that only favors specific political ideologies, is the leading cause of the increasing demolition of commons in the country. A massive housing complex introduced by the government to replace a community play playground is selected as the perfect example of commons’ decaying. Challenging Garrett Hardin’s “Tragedy of the commons” theory which is supposed to be the real solution for the above issue, this design thesis searches for an ideal solution by following the principles of Elinor Ostrom, who illustrated Commons as all resources and spaces open for common use for the benefit of communities’ development. In the end, the study proposes a “third place” with a dispersed commons network as a model for future commons. It articulate the architecture of the commons in contemporary urban context. This productive third place investigates if the commons has the potential to provide a design framework and to suggest an approach that offers the possibility of a more inclusive and equitable form of city-making and city as the ultimate common: a collective social, cultural and material construct that is composed for its inhabitants.
Lahiru Fernando


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