BRACKET [on sharing]


Submission Deadline

Architecture February 4, 2018

Please note that this competition has expired and is for reference only. See our active listings for competitions.

Sharing is one of the humanity’s most basic traits; we intrinsically recognize the benefits of pooling resources within a community in order take advantage of varied abilities and access in order to fulfill needs.  Sharing is the key driver behind civilization’s move towards collective living – first in small settlements and eventually in megalopoleis.  The impact of sharing goes beyond simply satisfying the necessities for survival and extends itself into the social and cultural dimensions of our communities. In constructing an urban commons, composed of collectively managed and shared resources, we shape our physical, social, and cultural environments to achieve some degree of shareabilty – whether of goods, services, or experiences.

These historic and evolved cultural roots ensure that sharing is inevitably part of our daily lives. Yet, its central role in how we organize and manage our cities is increasingly threatened.  Specifically, the resources previously contained within the commons are slipping into privatized forms of management. Commodifying elements of the public realm, such as energy, space, water, transportation and education, among others, has fragmented the commons and led to major, now too familiar, issues of injustice and inequality. Within a context of increased emphasis on the individual and privatization of the commons, sharing holds much promise for re-evaluating our economic, political, and social relations to equitably distribute resources and services at the scale of both the individual and the collective.

The prevalence of the sharing economy in cultural discourse has reconfirmed many of the benefits of collectivity by readdressing how we think about time, space, and excess. Yet, its deep connection with commerce prevents us from focusing on a holistic sharing practice that goes beyond economic transactions to include socio-political activities. Further, there has been little critical reflection on what Rebecca Solnit has termed the ‘Sharecropping Economy’ to understand how the commons is transforming with the convergence of physical and virtual space. Bracket 5 will examine the growing potential for sharing today—from innovative technologies to gritty resourcefulness.

We recognize that sharing is not easy — it requires compromise, negotiation, inconvenience, and patience. Can the challenges of sharing be designed for? How have recent design projects found innovative ways to share space, time, or resources? What types of spaces and conditions can foster contemporary models of sharing? Can architecture serve as a mediator for more effective sharing? What are the appropriate scales to share? How can sharing engage issues of equity and politics? Bracket 5 suggests that sharing needs to be re-learned today. We ask how can the design of our environments encourage new approaches to sharing that question our social, economic, and governmental practices.

The fifth volume of Bracket invites design work and papers that offer contemporary models as well as historic readings of the roles, mechanisms, and outcomes of sharing. Positional papers should be projective and speculative or revelatory, if historical. Suggested subthemes include:
Sharing Objects
Sharing Services
Sharing Histories
Sharing Resources
Sharing Time
Sharing Labor
Sharing Space
Sharing Technologies
Sharing Power

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