Carving Out the Commons by Amanda Huron is an interdisciplinary monograph about the history of the cooperative housing movement and civic activism in Washington, DC, from the 1970s to the present. At the same time that she traces the origins of the cooperative housing movement in the nation’s capital, she also theorizes about this process and offers lessons for contemporary cooperative movements in the eras of capitalism, globalization, and neoliberalism.

Throughout world history, a commons was a communal space, largely based in rural areas or small towns, where people shared resources, cultivated agriculture, or raised animals. The commons has long captured the imagination of scholars, but few have turned a critical eye toward urban commons. Here, Huron intervenes in the theoretical literature by adding an urban perspective, considering the philosophies of cooperative living communities.

Trained as a geographer, Huron’s work is theoretically based. In Carving Out the Commons, she...

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