The agency of mapping has been an increasingly relevant area of enquiry in architecture, urbanism and landscape at the very least since James Corner published his seminal paper on the agency of mapping in 1999. A few projects aiming to map the commons in cities have since developed, providing critical or counter-cartographies in which information on local groups and communities, activities and other informal evidence is collated.
This paper draws on the concept of urban commons as third places in the sense of being beyond market or state control and management, on the notion that commons cannot exist without commoning practices and on the idea of common spaces as distinct from public, private or communal ones. As such, urban commons should be mapped not as static or invariable but rather as dynamic entities that evolve over time. From that perspective, the agency of mapping should take into consideration both current commoning practices and places suitable for these agencies to happen. Spatial features and architectural configurations may also play a role in calling for, or hosting, those agencies.
This paper proposes a methodology based on both primary and secondary data collection. The former is based on a variety of methods and tactics including psycho-geographical tours, non-interactive and interactive forms of observations and mapping. The process of mapping aims to showcase both what is already taking place and possibilities for future uses as a "hidden potential." The findings include the identification of specific places where several layers converge. These may become case studies that can be further investigated through methods such as research by design and community engagement.