city as commons (policy reader)

city as commons.png

[image links to 177 pg pdf]

via michel fb share:

[links to 34 contributors]


(2016) notes/quotes:


this reader attempts to bring various dimensions of urban commoning into one place.. to provide a resource for urban commons advocates.. which helps to articulate and strategize urban commons transformation projects in a variety of areas..

It is also part of a process of experimentation. Many of the ideas are new: urban collaborative governance, sharing cities, platform cooperativism, open money, the new political contract between citizens and the state, and so on. Therefore, you the reader are in a special position. ..You the readers should go through each of the proposals with scrutiny and discernment.

platform coop..? money..? contracts..? i don’t see those as common\ing..


A simple definition of the commons is: “that which we mutually depend on for our survival and well-being”

Elinor Ostrom’s work, ..showed people effectively manage their common resources as communities, outside of the state-market dualism


David Bollier, provided this succinct definition for what a A social system for the long-term stewardship of resources that preserves shared values and community identity


Michel Bauwens has offered these four categories to explain some of the dimensions of the commons: immaterial, material, produced, inherited



silke and david.. on commoning

silke and david on common\ing


christian – ‘any articulation of the urban commons needs to be grounded in a theory of property’

property a theory of non property maybe

hardt/negri property law



state is a facilitator or enabler for citizen led common ing synonymous w proposal made by michel bauwens and others regarding a ‘partner state’ .. state’s central role is to empower its citizens as a whole..


a leader in the development of urban commons theory and practice is govlab.. developed to train a new breed of professionals.. experts in the governance of urban commons’

no train


from conference nov 2015, govlab distilled these learnings on the urban commons:

5\ role of tech is important of commons, but a means not an end..

tech is huge.. it’s what is diff.. today.. it’s how we ground the chaos of authentic common ing.. ie:  as it could be..

7\ uban commons need an ‘industrial plan’ and new economic and/or social institutions to help transition some cities..

actually just need 2 convos.. as infra

10\ there should be safeguards

gershenfeld sel


critical themes: contract; citizenship; value exchange system; visibility for what has ben invisible; new way of seeing city



design and the city commons – marco bevolo

spatial agency – .. redistribution of decision making .. ezio manzini: ‘design, when everybody designs’

let’s try.. 2 convos.. as infra..  focus on listening to all the voices.. everyday.. rather than decision making (ie: if people were truly free.. i don’t think we’d be spending our days deciding on the things we keep trying to figure out how to decide on today).. as it could be..

in the city.. as the day


active transit & city commons: putting people back into the city & city back into place – anthony james

naked street ness.. walk\able and bike\able ness


repurposing public spaces in a city as a commons: the library – sandrina burkhardt



heritage and city commons – marta botta

repurpose empty spaces as preservation of heritage

city sketchup

value exchange

marsh exchange law et al.. – i don’t see exchange as part of common ing

re imagining value report and value


sharing cities: an asset based approach to he urban commons – darren sharp

shareable’s sharing city network.. self org for asset mapping


have/need ness.. until people are truly free.. we have no idea what we really want/need


city govts have a major role to play in designing the infra, service and regulation that enable sharing in all tis forms..

try 2 convos.. as infra


community currencies and city commons – michael linton

city commons money is community money.. . that provides us w a measure of ourselves.. w/o its own money, a city continually needs money from elsewhere..

money/measure ..a disturbance/distraction to undisturbed ecosystem


common money ends monetary poverty. this is an essential first step to addressing material poverty

only thing i didn’t resonate with in assembly.. ‘common money’

while reading.. fb share by michel:

a bit idealistic about cities and in support of the Digital Towns initiative:
via douglas (in 1 min video)

an economy should never suffer from lack of currency to enact exchanges 

should never measure them either.. ie: marsh exchange law; 10 day cares; et al

commons money requires that all users, w/o admin intervention, can create currencies and declare their terms..

why..? why money..?.. why measure..?

let’s just try have/need ness via  hlb of 2 convos 


time banks and city commoning – teppo eskelinen

time.. already a mess of measureing ness..

time banks: build social relation between members on the community;..

well.. they build measured relations.. which are cancerous to humanity/eudaimonia.. ie: marsh exchange law; 10 day cares; ..

how much time/energy will then be spent on all that measuring..? too much

time banks: encourage active citizenship, particularly amongst those who normally volunteer least;..

we don’t need volunteers.. for projects that most likely aren’t us (aren’t part of ie:undisturbed ecosystemeudaimoniative surplus).. what we need most is the energy of 7bn alive people

we’ve got to stop measuring

time banks: create social safety nets for isolated people (ie: elderly people)

our best bet at a safety net: gershenfeld sel


what the time banks need is to be able to flourish and grow w/o arbitrary restriction to their activities or forced valuation in official currencies

rather – what people need is to be able to flourish and grow w/o arbitrary restriction to their activities or forced valuation in official currencies/time-banks/exchanges


construction waste transformation and city commons – scott boylston

upcycling ness


norton productivity law


platform coops for democratic cities – nathan schneider

platform coopnathan

property ness


coworking: challenges and opps for a prosperous and fair new econ – julian waters-lynch

david harvey – the right to the city


coworking ie’s: enspiral


orchards and the cit as a commons – timothy dolan


cosmo-localism and urban commoning – josé ramos

cosmo localism – design global/manufacture local.. ie: global village; fabcity;..  intellectual property is available globally for all to use



city commons and energy demand – josh floyd


forty years ago, ivan illich recognised that beyond a certain threshold of energy use ‘technical processes begin to dictate social relations’..



energy intensive mechanisation is capital intensive and requires high level of tech specialisation.. regardless of the primary energy source.. a vicious cycle results..  the decisions open to citizens about how they spend their time become increasingly constrained by investment decisions of those who control capital flows.. and by the tech specialists who design the systems of mechanisation.. civic participation then requires citizens to be both consumers.. and producers.. therefore, there are commons oriented benefits available where cities make efforts to converge on sufficient, rather than max, energy demand levels..

energy ness

i’ not aware of any city scale situation to date where ‘demand sufficiency’ has been pursued.. there are .. situations where this is an implicit co-benefit.. ie: slow cities; hans monderman’s shared space.. ie: calm traffic et al..



parallels can be seen in permaculture design principles.. take advantage of natural energy flows to max possible extent..


at large scale, bhutan’s efforts to pursue a development path based on gross national happiness in preference to gdp are potentially aligned w a demand sufficiency ethos..


promote and support reduced and flexible working hours, in order to increase the viability of ‘human powered’ options for meeting basic needs by reducing time pressure



it’s time to create chambers of commons – david ronfeldt

idea picked up by bollier and bauwens in 2013.. by 2015 a few prototypes efforts were in planning.. a parallel proposal by bauwens for assemblies of the commons is proving more attractive) in europe

david, michel


pro commons ideas are mostly advance piece meal by dispersed issue specific civil society ngos (ie: sierra club, electronic frontier foundation)

not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake



sharing cities: governing the city as commons – duncan mclaren and julian agyeman

@mclaren_erc and @julianagyeman

buen vivir – genuine inclusion et al


devolved commons governance for cities – david week

yochai: no theory of commons can afford to exclude



technical-rational decision making has its place, but it can only deal w explicit knowledge it cannot deal w the tacit knowledge of the citizenry: their embodied, lived experience of their urban world. this can only be elicited thru conversation between citizens. and this require s a more intimate level of governance than is afforded by the large bureaucratic state..t

let’s just keep it ginorm small (because today we have the means to).. ie: 2 convos.. as infra


consider a dept of neighbourhoods..

neighbor\hood govt


anticipatory governance and the city as a commons – josé ramos

builds on experiments.. tapping into citizen knowledge can create the requisite awareness for change that provides agility and new pathways for city policy making and change efforts..

or do away w them.. (policy and change efforts)

w/o anticipation a city’s polities are likely to be reactive at bet and misguided at worst.. anticipation allows a city’s policies to be adaptive while driving toward preferred futures

antifragile us.. via the whimsy of 2 convos..

it is also important that the direction or vision for a city or municipal region reflect the common good for all of its people..

has to be all of us.. ie: undisturbed ecosystem


city’s vision/purpose is driven thru the multifaceted and dynamic knowledges and wisdom of its may citizens..

1\ ongoing process

rev of everyday life.. equity: everyone getting a go everyday

2\ deeper wisdom/data

self-talk as data

citizens are critical to the energy needed, data requirements..t

the energy of 7bn alive people..via self-talk as data


ie’s: institute for future has used its ‘foresight engine’


twine online data gathering w live intelligence building workshops that allow citizen foresight potential to develop and build.. deeper citizen connections and synergies

rather.. let’s go ginorm small .. ie: 2 convos.. as infra


a civic union – david week



civic sector has no rep voice comparable to govt/business.. individuals, households, .. do not have forums/systems for communication w each other .. mechs for organising themselves ..t

ie: 2 convos.. as infra..  as it could be..


software platforms: nextdoor, cityscapeapp, streetlife, nabo




tax reform for a commons based city – karl fitzgerald


land use is a prominent commons issue. if we get this right, so man other aspects of life become attainable

property ness

the value of living in a community is quantified by the price we pay to live there..

the classic ie of unearned income is land.. all land was a gift of nature..

land becomes more profitable the more it is hoarded enforcing scarcity rents


taxes on natural monopolies are key to a modern commoning city

i wouldn’t call that common ing.. just like i wouldn’t call air bnb sharing


tax delinquent private property and city commons – paula z segal

property ness – and common\ing ness.. don’t see them together..


community land trusts – karl fitzgerald

property ness – and common\ing ness.. don’t see them together..


the city as a regional commons – colin russo

i wouldn’t call it common\ing unless it’s global



open data and city commons – paula z segal

open data matters

true.. what matters more though is legit data.. until 7bn people are awake.. data is skewed/corrupted.. and then we spend our days collecting/reading/believing it.. so it gets exponentially worse..

alt: self-talk as data – wakes us up (detoxes us) and focuses on what matters.. simultaneously

then use something like city sketchup for have\need ness


human service directory data as a commons – greg bloom


today info about community resources (ie: health, human and social services available to people in need) is scattered across a fragmented landscape of siloed info systems

not to mention .. it’s not legit data.. it’s for whales in sea world..

if the many diff kinds of ‘community resource databases’ could recognize a *common language and share resource data thru **interoperable techs.. t

*idio-jargon.. to .. **hlb that io dance.. as the day.


the unseen city: commons oriented cities and the commons beyond – sharon ede



the more a city can become locally productive in most of its needs, the less it is likely to act as a ‘remote control’ on other communities’ commons.. t

ie: fab city from fablab


cities who truly ‘walk the talk’ of the commons will also seek to minimise the impact of their unseen city on the commons of other communities



culture as commons – arlene goldbard

culture is another word for our intangible commons


to enable development and awareness of he commons that is more than an abstraction to the people who co create it.. must have social and legal standing  and explicitly named value in policy deliberations..

or.. to my thinking on common ing.. no legalities/deliberations/ al

rather: meadows undisturbed ecosystem


ubuntu as a primer for city commons – charles ikem

the philosophy of ubuntu is more about commons than communes..david bollier: ‘the art of commoning is approached form the inner dimensions – how people relate to each other’..

2 convos.. as infra.. as it could be..

david,.. common\ing

unbuntu is the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity.. humanity towards others that stress interconnectedness..

thurman interconnectedness law

strategies for unbuntu (only listing some):

family: the core of the community is family

missing piece #2


connection and identity

maté basic needs

more town hall meetings

rather 2 convos.. as infra.. to better create in a space ness


identify passionate voices

rather.. listen to all the voices.. everyday.. as it could be..


cultural intelligence (cq) and the city as commons – cherie minniecon

to help those in power to understand the perspectives of those who remain *marginalised.. **misunderstood and continue to live on the *fringes of society

rather.. *no one marginalised or living on fringes (equity: everyone getting a go everyday).. **no one misunderstood (idio jargon)


david livermore argues that a high cq comes from having a strong sense of self and id..  less likely to respond from place of fear, intimidation o defense..

if you or even an entire city knows its *id.. and has principles of inclusion and participation.. then there is an assumption that points of difference would be met w a healthy openness, curiosity and sensitivity to ones’ knowledge of how their own perspectives/cultural positioning may be perceived or impact others..

rather.. knows its *curiosity daily label .. (ie: has bravery to change mind)..  no need for principles of inclusion/participation.. would just be natural

ultimately cq development enables the capability to sit in discomfort when our reference points are worldview are being challenged.. it is the space where emergence of new ways of being together can take place if we are wise enough to acknowledge this active space between us



no one likes to have their id ignored, abused, challenged or denied..

well.. when we are whales in sea world anyway.. we have no idea.. if we focused on curiosity.. what things may become irrelevant.. ie: id as property as a disturbance to our undisturbed ecosystem

creates a culturally safe and dynamic city

safest safety net: gershenfeld sel

ie: the human library .. creating safe spaces for people to explore their perceptions.. challenge worldviews..

human (open) library



bologna celebrates one year of a bold experiment in urban commoning – neal gorenflo


from ladies not able (illegal) to put park benches in park 2011.. to new regulations where citizens could help (2015)


project leader christian iaione


no longer was placemaking for urban design experts who plan everything out in advance, but rather it was for everyone in a real time multistakeholder dance that included both planned and spontaneous elements.. i began to see the possibilities for an entirely new way to live in a city that was evermore creative, spontaneous and social than what cities already offer..t 

fromm spontaneous law.. in the city.. as the day..


two points stood out in our convo.. 1\ citizens as active managers of resources.. instead of passive recipients of services  2\ old idea of commons needed an upgrade in the urban context…ie: beyond forests, fisheries, and pastures..

room must be made for urban commons in a city’s admin law and processes..  they must be productively linked to other sectors of with a city.. this arguable makes urban commons more complex to set up.. but could provide more protection for them than what’s typical for natural resource commons, which are prone to enclosure..

begs.. whole city as commons.. so can be sans B.. ie: not part\ial


milano, new practices to booster social innovation – monica bernardi

smart city.. sharing city.. as evolution of practices of smartness w deep focus on people..

crowdfunding experiment



the emergence of assemblies of the commons – maia dereva



events clearly id’d as related to commons began to be org’d in 2009.. and are scattered over 30 territories in 2013.. the same year, michel bauwens popularized the concept of ‘chamber of commons’..  and quickly supplements it w the concept of ‘assembly of commons’ , in an appeal: proposed next steps for the emerging p2p networks and commons

michel – assembly


governance is currently based on consent: as long as nobody makes a reasoned objection, the meeting records progress.. after 6 months of operation (7 assemblies) no major objections were raised.. should this happen, the meeting would focus on dialogue rather than voting..

stigmergy as org



history and evolution of the chamber of commons idea – david ronfeldt.. compilation by michel bauwens


david bollier: ‘timely idea.. a way to advance the commons paradigm’



david: ‘we need to create a new focal point for making commoning more visible in an org’d way’

2 convos.. as infra

michel – powerful triad: 1\ civic/political (alliance of commons).. 2\ economic (commons global local phyles).. 3\ political/econ (chamber of commons)


michel viewed the camber as a way for ’emergent coalitions of commons friendly ethical enterprises’ to form counterparts to the business oriented chamber of commerce

chamber and assembly.. separate like church and state


goal: new type of post capitalist econ/society.. org’d around the commons and p2p principles..  served by a new type of state.. the partner state..  chambers and assembles as bridge to fields of action

bauwens: ‘the commons transition plan is based on a simultaneous transition of civil society, the market and the state forms’

commons transition


big blue sky: re igniting the art of citizenship – christine mcdougall

from entitlement to empowerment


zaragoza activa, an ecosystem of entrepreneurship, social innovation and creativity in an old sugar factory – raúl oliván

library for youngsters..



as it could be..

2 convos.. as infra

ie: hlb via 2 convos that io dance.. as the day..[aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake…]..  a nother way

the energy of 7bn alive people

undisturbed ecosystem


gershenfeld sel

why leap


while reading city as commons this tweet

lisagansky (@instigating) tweeted at 5:32 AM – 23 Jul 2018 :
Uncommon thinking abt our urban #commons @TNatureOfCities @ArjenWals @rowemw @johan_enqvist @raulpacheco @aprilrinne @mbauwens @EskoKilpi @njbowden @lesamitchell @gorenflo #cities (

In this roundtable, we ask 16 people to talk about some key ideas that motivate their work, and how these ideas have roots in the ideas of either Jacobs or Ostrom, or both.

jane (city) elinor (commons)

from lisa:

In the words of Jane Jacobs, “Cities have the capability for providing something for everybody, only because and only when, they are created by everybody’’.

has to be everybody


michel fb share nov 2018

dear friends,

I spent a day yesterday in a conference in Amsterdam, and there is VERY GOOD NEWS: the new coalition in the city, represented by ‘wethouder’ of GroenLinks, Rutger Groot Wassink, declared a open and official commitment to make Amsterdam into a ‘city of the commons’. Many longtime commons activists were present such as Socrates Schouten and our friends from the @Commons Network (Jens)

and from twitter:

yesterday, Friday 16th, the new coalition in the city of Amsterdam, represented by ‘wethouder’ of GroenLinks, Rutger Groot Wassink, declared a open and official commitment to make it into a ‘city of the commons’.

Original Tweet:


common\ing et al


via Michel fb share – n&s korea as commons

by @epastreich and @hartsellml (p2p guy)

Michel Bauwens, founder of the P2P Foundation, explains,
“I’ve had the occasion to visit Korea at 18-month intervals, and I am struck on each visit by the rapid acceptance of the commons paradigm. Perhaps such a rapid shift is possible in Korea because of the strong tradition of land commons, a dynamic democratic movement, and a vibrant solidarity economy.”

North Korea can be an *inspiring experiment, a space where blockchain technology, micro-manufacturing, sustainable energy infrastructure and a P2P approach to internationalization ushers in a new era for that nation, for Northeast Asia, and for the world. .t

cure ios city as infra to common ing


p2p’s paper/report on study of commons and commons transition (also putting it on city as commons policy reader page):

Michel Bauwens (@mbauwens) tweeted at 6:34 AM – 13 Dec 2018 :
@petervan Dear Peter: this is the link! thanks for the kind words: (


commoning city





commons house

commons transition

city ness

in the city  .. as the day..