Debate on Margaret Kohn’s The Death and Life of the Urban Commonwealth


This interventions forum presents a debate on Margaret Kohn’s The Death and Life of the Urban Commonwealth. Four contributors from different disciplinary backgrounds discuss and critique Kohn’s book, which offers an exploration of the political in an age of modern urbanism. Building on theories of solidarism and social rights, Kohn puts forth a set of new arguments about how the city might be a more governable commonwealth. Her book lays bare some of the great contradictions inherent in questions of the distribution of wealth and space in the metropolis. It builds on classical and current political theory and philosophy, theories of justice, and debates on gentrification and social mobility. The reviewers appreciate the great contribution the book is making to current debates in urban politics, geography and law, but they also point to significant areas for further debate along various lines as laid out by the author. Kohn concludes the debate with a response to the critical interventions.