Finding out about neighbourhood commoning

What is the relationship between large-scale social and environmental questions and the agency of designers operating at a small-scale?

Over December, we are on a research trip talking with designers in Indonesia to explore this question, amongst others – in the hope that shared answers, tools, and practices will lead to future collaborations.

With the help of Kristi Monfries, the scoping phase was completed in August, during which we identified existing design initiatives in Indonesia and considered the ways they intersect with groups we know about in Australia.

Luke Bacon , who is a fellow janitor at Frontyard, is now joining me for a field work. Because of our own projects at Frontyard, in Indonesia we decided to focus on neighbourhood commoning projects with independent libraries.

We are off to visit a bunch of special people who tend special libraries. We’re full of questions:

  • what is the role of international solidarity for neighborhood commoning projects?
  • what do Indonesian independent libraries have in common with each other and with the Frontyard library?
  • is there already shared infrastructure, tools, practices, people, knowledge? are there tools and infrastructure we could be sharing?
  • why was this library started?
  • how are they dealing with increasing extreme weather?
  • what are the important relationships and dependencies?
  • what role does money play?
  • what are the political foundations?
  • what do the people who use the libraries need that they are getting from them?
  • what kinds of people use the space? What are their material experiences in them?
  • how are the spaces designed? How do they sit in their neighbourhoods?
  • what do they worry about?
  • how do they think about generational change?

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