• Everyday Commoning: Living Diaries for Nicosia's Transnational Spaces
    Alice Buoli, Popi Iacovou & Socrates Stratis

Alice Buoli, “Storefront space in Nicosia. Spontaneous Occupation of the Threshold Between Indoor Space and the Street,” 2023. Digital photograph. Courtesy Alice Buoli

The walled city of Nicosia in Cyprus has experienced a decline in its urban life and building stock due to the effects of the island’s division since 1974. A vast number of unused and abandoned buildings has provided opportunities for the reappropriation of spaces by transnational communities. In certain neighborhoods, particularly those near the United Nations-controlled Buffer Zone, “new” inhabitants have transformed entire buildings and ground floor spaces, seeking affordable housing and engaging in collective activities. These encompass human rights advocacy, religious worship, and commerce. Some of these spaces became bridges between public and domestic spaces, linking long-time residents with newcomers. Others are “invisible” until Sunday morning when a multicultural soundscape reveals their purpose. This project aims to comprehensively trace the old city of Nicosia from the perspective of transnational communities, focusing on the urban scale and its everyday life as it unfolds within the weekdays, starting from Sunday morning.

Alice Buoli is an assistant professor in urban design and planning at the Department of Architecture and Urban Studies (DAStU), Politecnico di Milano, Milan. Her academic and professional expertise combines Euro-Mediterranean and African urbanism, borderlands studies, creative practice research, and editorial and curatorial activities. Prior, she was a Marie Curie experienced researcher for ADAPT-r (Architecture, Design, and Art Practice Training-research) at the Estonian Academy of Arts in Tallinn, Estonia; the assistant curator for the Tallinn Architecture Biennale 2017; and a post-doctoral researcher at Politecnico di Milano working on sustainable territorial development projects in Mozambique and Italy. She is the principal investigator of the project Italian Borderscapes After 2020 (2023–25), funded by the European Union through its NextGenerationEU program and the Italian Ministry of University and Research. She has taught in numerous European universities, including coordinating the Urban Design for Borderlands studio at Politecnico di Milano. She cocurated the edited book Territorial Fragilities in Cyprus. Planning and Preservation Strategies (Springer, 2023).

Popi Iacovou is a lecturer at the department of architecture, University of Cyprus. Her research explores the intersections between architecture and the moving image, focusing on situated filmic practice as design research method for the study of sociopolitical architectural and urban phenomena. Her films and design work have been shown in film festivals and architecture exhibition venues such as the Melbourne Design Week; Copenhagen Architecture Festival; the 16thInternational Architecture Exhibition—La Biennale di Venezia, Venice; Hong Kong and Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture; Architecture + Design Film Festival  (A+DFF), Winnipeg;, the International Thessaloniki Film Festival, and others. Research focused on unarchiving practices through a multimedia approach resulted in two curatorial projects entitled Past-forward: Stavros Economou Unarchived that took place at the SPEL Gallery, Cyprus, and at Kolektiv, in Le Corbusier’s Unité d’Habitation, Marseille. She received a PhD from The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London, and an MPhil in architecture and the moving image from the University of Cambridge. She previously taught at Central Saint Martins and the University of Cambridge.

Socrates Stratis is an architect, urbanist, activist for the urban commons, and professor at the department of architecture, University of Cyprus. His research focuses on the political agencies of architecture and urban design. He studies the strategic value of urban design, as well as the social dimensions of architecture plus, the ways they both transform into critical urban practices. He oscillates between diffractive practice and practice-based research, thanks to entanglements between teaching, practicing, curating, and writing. He enriches his research by operating in a highly contested territory, such as the Cypriot one, and through his scientific position in EUROPAN Europe. He is one of the main founders of the critical urban practice agency AA & U, Cyprus. The Guide to Common Urban Imaginaries in Contested Spaces (Jovis, 2016) is one of his main editorial works. He also published Urban Design on the Move: Five Stories about Implementing a Winning Europan Project (Jovis, 2024). His curatorial and activist work involves Cyprus's participation in the 15th International Architecture Exhibition—La Biennale di Venezia, as well as the Hands-on Famagusta project.