Cancelled Spatial Commoning in Copenhagen

Course content

The aim of the course is to provide students with a theoretical, analytical and pragmatic knowledge of commons and commoning. 

Commons and commoning refer to cultural and natural resources including space that are collectively held, managed and practiced. 

Spatial commoning in Copenhagen will build an active learning community. In a rapidly changing global political context, people are re-learning collective skills and gathering together to work together on and with land – in both urban and rural environments, for social, sustainable and resilience reasons.  

The commons are now a movement, a theory and a practice that provides alternatives to market-solutions in living, playing and place making together. Sharing resources and space require clear boundaries and decision-making as well as design and planning. 

With an interdisciplinary approach, students will work alongside people from many backgrounds to find a shared vision for the Summer School. Students will discover the history that Denmark has of co-operative organising and collective land-holding projects.  

In group projects students will be considering the stages of commoning through a contested site in Copenhagen, utilising history, design and scientific knowledge to develop strategies and tactics for commons-led initiatives. Your new skills and networks will be rapidly transferrable to your home communities. The course will start with a three day stay where we will cook, work, and discuss our ideas together at a repurposed site in Denmark. 

The structure of the course will be twofold: in the first part, the course will provide theoretical understanding of the fundamentals of urban laws and policies, with the aim of defining the borders of a rights-based perspective. In the second part, the course will provide students with an understanding (and practical methods and tools) of empirical analysis of urban law and policy through an approach based on experimentation and applied fieldwork and action-based learning and research.

Theory: Elinor Ostrom’s work on Common Pool Resources; Stavros Stavrides writing on architecture, common spaces and enlavism;  Grundvig’s work on learning communities in Denmark will form the basis of the history on commons.

Learning outcome

The course will give students insight into how groups can form and work with land and communities to develop interventions and hold governance together.

It will provide students with a knowledge of empirical and field research methodologies applied to the study of the commons context.


  • Contemporary research will be tied into a social history and commons frame through site visits around Copenhagen to collective food, recreational and housing projects including Freetown Christiania.
  • The summer school will consider regulatory and legal exemplars drawing from other countries including Italy and Spain. It will line up the theoretical field and identify negotiating tools for working with state and private partners. 


  • Identify and illustrate contested sites and core concerns,
  • Demonstrate relational skills with each other and the communities they are visiting;
  • Develop narrative and integrative negotiating skills as they develop a story of site.


  • Assess and evaluate relationships and needs of land, government planners and communities. 
  • Compare sites, discuss and practise conflict resolution; integrate interdisciplinary approaches to apply a combination of legal and spatial tools.
  • Draft and develope strategies for a site specific spatial commoning process. 

The course will employ a mixture of both traditional lectures and workshop, symposia, charrette and site visits/excursions as approaches to learning. Students will be active participants in sharing their experiences and lessons. The course begins with a weekend (overnight) excursion to a community-run venue August 8-10, where students will cook and eat together and become familiar with one another.

The course reading list will be available from May 1st 2020. Students will be expected to have read the papers before the course starts.

Knowledge of and interest in land movements/​activism/​design/​planning/​social history an advantage.

To form the optimal groups for the course, students are expected to write a standard A4 page about their background experience and interest in the subject of spatial commoning. This must be submitted to the course responsible, Sophia Jarram, 10 days prior to the course start.

Spatial Commoning in Copenhagen is open to people from creative and science-based disciplines including landscape architecture, art, design, indigenous studies, history, geography, economics, law, planning, architecture, sociology and anthropology. Undergraduate and postgraduate students from various backgrounds are welcome.

Please note that students must pay 2000 DKK which cover all food, accomodation, transportation and community honoraria during the weekend overnight stay 8-10 August and for excursions. NB Accommodation in Copenhagen from 10-21st August is not provided.

Non-UCPH students who wish to apply as a single subject student may consult https:/​/​​english/​courses-and-programmes/​other-study-opportunities/​summer-courses/​practical/​

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Oral examination, 20 min
Oral exam: 20 min group presentation on a chosen area of study built upon participation and learning in course.
Written assignment: Written individual reflection on findings from summer school (1500-2000 words) due September 22nd at 12:00 in Digital Exam

Both parts of the exam must be passed in order to pass the course.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
passed/not passed
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners
Criteria for exam assessment

Please see learning outcomes

Short courses / Summer school

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Excursions
  • 60
  • Lectures
  • 20
  • Course Preparation
  • 82
  • Exercises
  • 44
  • English
  • 206