Dates: 10th November – 30th November 2018

Institute of Public Enterprise (IPE), Osmania University Campus, Hyderabad, Telangana, India.




The crisis of sustainability of the current pattern of urbanization has become the focus of the development discourse today, in the background of the growing urban demographic in relation to the rural, especially in the countries of the developing world. We are seeing the destruction of agrarian economies,and also migration due to poverty, conflict, or disasters, whether natural or manmade due to climate change and profit oriented urban ‘planning’. Cities represent avicious disparity in incomes and life styles.

Joblessness, economic and social disparity and the problem of access to essential and basic necessities and services, affect people in almost every country in the world. The need for a framework to ensure justice and dignity for all, is a major concern. Although there have been many debates on possible alternative paradigms, solutions continue to elude us, not because of ideas are not around us, but because there has been too little conviction from policy makers and ordinary citizens to imagine and insist upon moving away from an elitist, profit driven mode of urban development, totally under the control of the ‘free market’ which is (ironically) controlled by big business.

The Right to the City, a framework a concept introduced by Lefebvre and developed into a framework for resistance by David Harvey, around which urban social movements have converged has become a byword for social movements, first in Latin America, but later in different parts of the world, to forge a new understanding of common collective entitlement and the relationship of people to their city.

The idea of a ‘commons’ refers to the resources accessible to all members of a society, including natural materials such as air, water, and a sustainable, habitable earth. While originally commons referred mainly to collective ownership of land, the concept has broadened, especially in an urban setting, to include all manner of natural, cultural and social needs of people. It has emerged as a possible framework for ensuring that everyone has access to affordable, good quality essential and basic necessities and services, irrespective of whether they have jobs or not, and whether they have the capacity to pay for it or not, which is critical given the high cost of many essential social needs, eg. housing, education and health, energy even water for many in many parts of the world.

Social commons mean shared ownership and control, forging new relations between people and the public realm. Commons go beyond markets and states, both of which will have to adopt a different logicin order to ensure its access.

The commons approach can help to build a new narrative to strengthen and broaden people’s movements as well as for political and legal action against the exploitative use of our resources. Commons are about power. Claiming and controlling social commons means building power together with others. The labour movement in particular, has to play an important role, countering the fragmentation and precarisation of work, taking into account the role of women and creating alternatives based on their abilities and skills.

This edition of the annual 3- week course of the Urban Action School will focus on the Commons, the framework and how it can be embedded in the Right to the City.

The course will break down the various aspects of the Commons: Physical commons, Social Commons, Ecological commons, Digital commons, and also touch upon the context of urbanization, ecology and Right to the City.

For more details – Call for Applications-Urban Commons

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