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Urban commoning and urban morphology: tactical opportunities in residential laneways

Authors: Miza Moreau*, University of Glasgow
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning, Urban Geography, Cultural Geography
Keywords: commoning, reappropriation, residential laneways, urban morphology
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Urban commoning has been discussed in recent years as a way to reimagine cities as more socially inclusive and environmentally sensible. However, the particular conditions under which these commons arise are often left unexamined. This paper argues that if we want to comprehend fully the capacities of urban commons, we also need to understand the material conditions under which they form. In that way, we could also recognize opportunities across larger scales. The focus of this investigation is commoning in the inner-city residential laneways of Melbourne, Australia. Established for access to homes for services not deemed suitable for fronts, residential laneways lost their utilitarian purpose with improvements to infrastructure. Currently, their de facto purpose is right-of-way for vehicular access into the rear of dwellings. Often perceived as ambiguous and perhaps even dangerous, residential laneways are also associated with a range of public uses. This paper will examine the urban morphological conditions that enable the reappropriation of residential laneways into common spaces of social and environmental value.

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