Common World

James Auger, Sónia Matos, Julian Hanna, Simone Ashby

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


“…the common world is what we enter when we are born and what we leave behind when we die. It transcends our life-span into past and future alike; it was there before we came and will outlast our brief sojourn in it. It is what we have in common not only with those who live with us, but also with those who were here before and with those who will come after us. But such a common world can survive the coming and going of the generations only to the extent that it appears in public. It is the publicity of the public realm which can absorb and make shine through the centuries whatever men may want to save from the natural ruin of time.”
- Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition

What has changed since Arendt wrote this? In a sense, everything: today we are no longer dealing only with the familiar ebb and flow of human conflict, but have fundamentally altered the physical environment — turning it to something irreversibly artificial and indelibly marked by our existence. At the same time our perception of the world is rapidly changing too, reflecting this and other facets of our new reality.
What, then, is to be done? How do we design for the “common world” of the future, taking into account the ecological constraints humanity has imposed, intentionally or not, upon itself? How can we set new coordinates in the hope of creating a more balanced world? We approached these questions by first breaking “common” into seven of its component parts; the resulting fragments reflect the increasing complexity of our epoch.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDesigning in Dark Times
Subtitle of host publicationAn Arendtian Lexicon
EditorsEduardo Staszowski, Virginia Tassinari
PublisherBloomsbury Publishing
ISBN (Print)9781350070257
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameDesigning in Dark Times
PublisherBloomsbury Publishing


  • Design
  • Hannah Arendt
  • Speculative Design


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  • REDEMA: Redesigning Madeira

    Auger, J., Hanna, J. & Nunes, N.


    Project: Research project

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