On February 6th 2020, we co-organized with Goethe Institut an informal workshop on the legal aspect of commons.

Within the context of gE.CO project, Open Lab Athens is interested in exploring the potential uses of law on behalf of urban communities in what regards commons initiatives. Among the deliverables of the project, a legal toolkit will bring together best practices from across Europe especially in what concerns the uses of urban voids in the cities by formal groups and informal communities. Our intention is to provide a context of this assemblage of different initiatives that would make its use more meaningful and relevant, also for the Greek context.

The aim is twofold and interconnected: a) to understand whether different experiences and strategies that pertain to the creation and fostering of the commons, can talk and relate to each other or even be transferred, given the plurality of national legislative backgrounds and mentalities towards the law, and b) explore whether law can be presented and discussed beyond technicalities and expertise and thus become a common resource for urban populations.

Touching upon issues of commons but also property, this emphasis on the use of law can also be of interest to the activities led by Goethe Institut in Athens.

In order thus to trace how law can be reclaimed, negotiated or appropriated, we organized a workshop that brought together legal practitioners and activists trying to combine a theoretical discussion and an empirical approach to the issue. This took the form of an informal discussion among researchers working on gE.CO from Open Lab Athens (Dr. Hara Kouki and Yannis Efthimiou) and researchers from Goethe Institut (Dr. Dimitris Soudias and Natalia Sartori), Dr. Alessandra Quarta and Dr. Antonio Vercellone, lawyers with an expertise on the commons from Torino University, Prof Andreas Takis from Aristotle University in Thes/ki), Dr. Giorgos Papanikolaou from Harokopeio University and member of P2P lab and Dr. Dimitra Siatitsa, postdoctoral fellow at the University of Crete and member of Co-Hab collective focusing on collaborative housing.