A collective study lab

Feature on: Mara Ferreri, ERC Assistant Professor, Beyond Inhabitation Lab

This month we continue our series of posts aimed at presenting the most recent research developments of the Lab’s Core Team. We are going to feature all of our researchers who are working as part of the ERC Inhabiting Radical Housing (IRH) project, the FARE Precarious Housing in Eastern Europe project, or who are pursuing their own individual Marie-Curie or USF fellowships.

We continue with Mara Ferreri, an ERC-funded Assistant Professor at the Lab.

Mara Ferreri is Assistant Professor and Senior Researcher within the ERC Inhabiting Radical Housing project at the Polytechnic of Turin. Within the ERC, she is developing a line of research titled ‘Housing commoning against precarization: differential infrastructures for decommodification and prefigurative autonomy’. This work builds on her long-term engagement with urban social movements for housing alternatives, and specifically for resident-led and cooperative models. Her specific focus on the Catalonian cooperative movements began in 2016 while a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (see: Commoning Housing) and continued as a Vice Chancellor Senior Research Fellow in Geography at Northumbria University (2019-2022).

Mara’s current research examines the situated emergence and establishment of decommodified and self-managed housing alternatives as key to understanding the interwoven and dynamic politics of housing system transformation through social movement mobilizations, policy experimentation, and the creation of novel political infrastructures for housing and spatial justice. She combines her teaching in Urban Planning (Collegio di Pianificazione e Progettazione) with longitudinal research into new models for low-income collective ownership housing cooperatives against and through urban precarity. Her research in both Catalonia and Italy is action-oriented, often undertaken in dialogue with organizations on the ground, for example with La Dinamo Foundation.

Since joining the ERC project in the autumn of 2022, she has published previous research on housing commons and social movement organising in the journals Antipode, City, and Housing Theory & Society, both as a single-author and as a co-author, as well as a book chapter on dwelling in crisis economies in the edited volume Contemporary Economic Geographies: Inspiring, Critical and Plural Perspectives (Bristol University Press, 2024). Based on her recent ERC research, she is developing an article and a book chapter on the intimate geographies of infrastructures for permanent housing decommodification.

Recent publications 

Picture: ‘We want plots of land like this for cooperative housing’, Mara Ferreri, 2018.