Lots in Common

first prize, Mixing Middle Competition \ Urbanarium, Vancouver \ 2022
with Contingent Collective \ collaborators: Roy Cloutier, Nicole Sylvia

Lots in Common is a series of spatial protocols for medium-density, mixed-used neighbourhood redevelopment in Metro Vancouver, conceptualised in response to the need to densify and diversify single-family neighbourhoods through engaging the entangled social and environmental challenges of our era.

Current attempts to address the housing crisis too often rely on conservative, nostalgic models of ownership—in turn largely failing to impact the interrelated problems of scarcity, homogeneity, unaffordability, unsustainability, and isolation. Rather, the very nature and meaning of home itself needs a more fundamental re-mixing: from homes in isolation to shared spaces held in common.

A diverse ecology of living sprouts forth, growing from the interstices of the formal city. It harnesses underused zones of space—laneways, front yards, infrastructural and latent ecological corridors—activating them with a shared network of collective activities. Instead of nostalgically recreating older modes of living and working based in static ownership of a singular space, this sharing network both decentralizes domesticity and weaves collective space into the domicile. The city’s components shake loose from their traditional roles and distribute into the urban fabric, allowing them to be held collectively.

This evolving network of shared spaces hosts a multiplicity of activities impossible in isolation. Shared space proliferates throughout North Vancouver as a field of experimentation, in which collective social life is continually re-formed through everyday rituals. Urban space is reframed via acts of sharing and solidarity: the denizens of the city find they have Lots In Common.