Ben Rogaly’s chapter on Contesting Neoliberal Common Sense: Bottom-up History and the Struggle over Urban Space (pp.51-54) was published in Jessie Brennan book (ed), 2016, Re: development: Voices, Cyanotypes and Writings from the Green Backyard.

Ben’s chapter looks into the case of The Green Backyard, a space at Fletton in Peterborough, which as he argues ‘by its very existence and through the practices of its founders, board members and other volunteers, stands as a direct challenge to neoliberal common sense.’ In Ben’s words, as The Green Backyard ‘seeks to find a way to sustain its existence in the face of Peterborough City Council’s plans to sell the land once made available for common use by law’, it is also changing its practices. While the space used to resonate with more fluid structures, it has now moved towards considering and defining itself under the ‘recent research on the “commons” that moves away from seeing the commons as an idealised thing to which society can and should return, and moves towards commoning as a verb.’ The chapter ends by pointing to the importance of such spaces’ work in this time and place, and stresses the ‘much wider ramifications not only for our understanding of belonging but for political action over who this place, and other places, belong to.’

Learn more for the book here.