Emergency Commons is a project that focuses on the city of Athens and constitutes an attempt to discuss the city’s current condition through an understanding of the property regime that historically defined it.

The Emergency Commons is a series of temporary occupations of existing structures in Athens that challenges the existing property divisions and the administration of space in the city. It consists of a combination of legal, administrative and architectural protocols that attempt to construct an alternative property regime. The mechanism proposes a system of ownership, which is not based on individual property but on a shared understanding of owning, administrating and occupying space. The notion of the commons does not refer directly to the specific space, but to the activity related to the biopolitical production of the commons that the mechanism allows to develop within space.

The project starts from the ground level, where the different typologies of property meet and where the conflicts produced by the current spatial and economic crisis are most intensively manifested. The proposed mechanism expands horizontally through the network of arcades (stoas) and courtyards, but also vertically to include other types of property, like domestic spaces or the empty state properties related to this network. Ultimately, Emergency Commons is an urban design project presented as a law and a construction document, specifically in order to challenge the boundaries of different forms of design, city management and control.

Maritina Koutsoukou (b. Athens, 1988) is a practicing architect. She graduated from the School of Architecture of the National Technical University of Athens in 2013. In September 2014 she concluded the March in Urban Design at the Bartlett School of Architecture-UCL with Distinction. Her thesis project “Emergency Commons” (UCL 2014) has been exhibited at the Bartlett School’s B-Pro Show (September 2014) and has been presented at the Postgraduate Programme of the University of Thessaly’s School of Architecture (October 2014).