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The Death and Life of the Urban Commonwealth

By Margaret Kohn ’92. Oxford University Press, October 2016. Available on Amazon. The city is a paradoxical space, in theory belonging to everyone, in practice inaccessible to people who cannot afford the high price of urban real estate. Within these urban spaces are public and social goods including roads, policing, transit, public education, and culture, all of which have been created through multiple hands and generations, but that are effectively only for the use of those able to acquire private property. Why should this be the case?
As Margaret Kohn argues, when people lose access to the urban commons, they are dispossessed of something to which they have a rightful claim – the right to the city.