Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Earth & Environmental Sciences


Marianna Pavlovskaya

Committee Members

Vinay Gidwani

David Harvey

Susan Saegert

Subject Categories

Urban Studies and Planning


This research theorizes the work of the urban commons through close examination of a group of ten limited-equity housing cooperatives in Washington, D.C. Limited-equity co-ops, or LECs, are a noncommodified resource that is collectively owned and maintained by their members. I argue that LECs are a manifestation of the commons, and that they represent a specific form of the commons - the urban commons. In this research, I ask: how does the urban commons - as manifested in this case by limited-equity housing cooperatives - function? The commons, as I theorize it, is a space that both provides a basis for life outside of (or at least less dictated by) capitalism, and that requires collective work to build and maintain. The commons, Peter Linebaugh (2008) argues, is constituted through commoning - the many overlapping practices of being-in-common that allow for a collective approach to life. The urban commons, I argue, is constituted through work, and future theorizing and action around the commons needs to take work seriously.


Digital reproduction from the UMI microform.