we should better talk about commoning..

commoning means.. being aware that plenty of resources.. we need to make a living.. don’t belong to individuals.. need to be shared with other people..

Silke Helfrich


commons transition


[not in wikipedia]

actually adding page because of this (despite being huge fan of the verb from the get go):

this in particular:

In particular his final four-volume magnum opus The Nature of Order(Alexander 2002) should be mentioned here; it integrates the research of biological systems and finds far-reaching parallels between natural and cultural structures and processes.1

Alexander’s research made him understand complex systems – such as cities and works of art and culture – as living sys­tems, as growing and unfolding like biological organisms and biospheres. Both kinds of systems, biological living systems and non-biological complex systems, as well as combinations of those two, follow the same principles.

Having no English word for the quality of such living systems in a general sense, Alexander wrote about.. 

a “quality without a name,”

which gave his texts a somewhat mystical touch. Other authors abbreviated this to the acronym QWAN. This quality is central because a designer should optimize for it. Alexander tried to define this quality in twenty pages of The Timeless Way of Building, using words like alive, whole, comfortable, free, exact, egoless, eternal, not simply beauty, not only fitness for purpose, and slightly bitter. In later books, he used the word wholeness instead.

Other authors talk about systems being lively, vivid or life-supporting, or refer to their vitality or liveliness. These replacements never work fully: readers have to build a concept in their minds without having a single cor­responding word. This is difficult for most people, at least in the beginning.

via Christopher Alexander (now 80)


via Dougald:

aug 2013:

dougald on the city

“Of everything I hear during these two days [at a Stockholm conference on “Commoning in the City”], the answer that most impresses me comes from Stavros Stavrides: ‘

commons’ has become useful, he argues, because of a change in attitude to the state, a disillusionment with the ‘public’ and a need for another term to takes its place. The public sphere, public values, the public sector: all of these things might once have promised some counterweight to the destructive force of the market, but this no longer seems to be the case.

We are not witnessing a turn towards anarchism, exactly, but something more pragmatic: a shift in the general mood, reflecting the reality of people’s experience after five years of this unending crisis, itself coming after decades of neoliberalism. It is the attitude that underlies the Squares Movement, from Tahrir to Syntagma, the Puerta del Sol and Zuccotti Park. If those camping out in cities across three continents were reluctant to distill their discontent into a set of demands on government, this was not simply a utopian refusal to engage with the compromises of political reality; it was also a conviction that to put hope in government is now the most utopian position of all. This is also the attitude that has driven the rise of Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement, and it has all the uncomfortable ambiguities such an example suggests.


Yochai, Stavros, Michael, Michel, David, Elinor, Andreas …..

commons transition

the commons (doc)

the omni commons


city ness

– – –



tragedy of commons



perhaps.. give 1 yr to try commons (common\ing) a go..

in the city. as the day. ness

ie: hosting-life-bits via self-talk as data.. as the day.. (aka: not partial)



sept 2016 – reimagining the future – common ing

small revolutionary steps

rev of everyday life

as the day.

what kind of alarm clock will wake us up

the turtle needs it shell back.. let’s do that..  first



Transition and the Commons: freeing our imaginations – Transition Network

re-imagining what it means to be a citizen of place.

beyond constitutions & chosen topics

rev of everyday life.. city sketch up style



Patterns of Commoning: Can Commoners Become Self-Aware of Their Collective Potential? | P2P Foundation

1\ do not belong to one person alone..the conventional idea of “ownership” is a category error – an inappropriate frame of reference for understanding commons.


2\ relationships cannot be linear, hierarchical or merely bureaucratic because in a commons the terms of human relationship require authentic social connection and care.

networked individualism..  stigmergy – swarms – and ant network and 99 and 1 and murmuration and free to fly and  – self-organizing

3\ a commons needs to affirmatively develop the systems – social, legal, technological – to protect the integrity of its commoning from entropy and hostile outside forces, especially corporate enclosure.

a nother waydaily structure – around 2 convos and gershenfeld sel

A commons resembles a morphological form that shapes both physical matter and social organization and culture. New things will emerge in this world as they are generated anew time and again. Slowly, commoners develop a self-awareness of their acts of commoning, stabilizing them through rules, rituals, traditions, language and ethics. Through the practice and experience of commoning, some very different forms of knowing arise or are preserved. They slowly take root and eventually change our patterns of thinking and our frames of reference. In this fashion, a commons can transport us into a different way of being

ongoingly emerging/regenerating

commons have such emancipatory potential. They can help incubate new ways of seeing, being and knowing. Such emergent sensibilities can help us escape ossified categories of dominant paradigms of thought, politics and economics.

These commons are animated by a different logic, a different repertoire of human motivations and emotions than the logic of maximizing individual gain at the expense of nature or other human beings

In working with the authors on their essays, we found it fascinating that so many of them thought that things we were interested in were not worth mentioning. To them, certain realities of their commons were self-evident; they simply took them for granted.

irrelevants.. keeping us from us.. we keep asking about them.. yet.. if we let go.. and trust.. we end up not caring about them..

The term ‘commons’ tends to be a term of political art and not of self-description.” (Lohmann/Hildyard, 2014:16) Tech-savvy initiatives in particular tend to focus on their experimental or technological components, or on their openness. See, for example, the profiles of the Public Library of Science journals, Arduino, Open Design, OpenCourseWare and Fab Lab St. Pauli. They do not necessarily recognize that their very processes of commoning point to a very different type of economic activity and way of living.

a nother way

Commons may appear to be islands, yet if we connect the dots among the dozens of commons profiled here, making invisible patterns more visible, we cannot help but agree with Norbert Rost’s insight, “Islands grow to form continents if we connect them intelligently.

ie: hosting-life-bits via self-talk as data.. that io dance..


jan 2017 – patterns of commoning.. role of memory and id in the forest commons of romania:

By Monica Vasile: In the Vrancea Mountains of Romania, the Eastern Carpathians, people in dozens of villages have used community-based institutions known as obștea to manage forest commons since the sixteenth century.1 The original sense of the word, coming from Slavonic, is “togetherness,” and it underlines the participatory essence of the institution. The traditions of obștea are so deeply rooted among Vrâncean villagers that the forest is not regarded simply as a resource; it is a powerful source of collective identity, social practice and pride that has near-mythological resonances. The effectiveness of obștea as a customary institution, however, has been profoundly affected by the rise of extractive technologies, the fifty-year reign of communism (1948-1989), and by the surge of modern markets. Through it all, people have cherished their affective relationship with their forests and the obștea form of forest management.


The institution of obștea was not founded at a precise moment or as a contractual organization. Legend tells us that in the sixteenth century Stephen the Great endowed the founders of seven villages for their military merits with communal ownership of the Vrancea Mountain


Initially, the whole region owned the entire mountain area (Stahl 1958) in devalmașie. The first division of the land among villages occurred in 1755, followed by another five divisions until the last one in 1840. The divisions were made to meet the pasturing needs of each village and to resolve a political conflict.2 By the end of the nineteenth century, villagers’ access to their forests became more and more restricted as exploitation technologies improved and wood became a valuable commodity associated with money, and social status. During this period, several powerful foreign forestry companies, especially from Austria and Italy, struck deals with local elites for leasing and exploiting large areas of forest. In several villages, with the money yield, the old elites worked for the best of the community, building schools, village halls and communal baths. In others, the locals’ collective memory remembers elites who deceived people to sell their use rights, often for a pack of cigarettes. The foreign companies ended their activity in Vrancea by the beginning of the First World War, after committing massive deforestation.


The law required villagers to obtain vouchers from a local committee (without payment) to harvest lumber, as well as certificates to transport it. These regulations were mostly seen as *unnecessary formalities and were not strictly followed at the time.

*unnecessary .. of course.. but we keep things like that in our history books… to say.. even the common ers common ing.. had vouchers/measures of transactions..


The obștea might have slowly transformed from a socially embedded institution into a modern organizational form except that, in 1948, the Communist Party came to power and the state seized all communal forest property. In the 1950s there were a number of serious fights in Vrancea between villagers belonging to the Anticommunist Resistance Movement, and communist authorities. Several people were killed, and some were imprisoned. These events, along with an outmigration of educated people from rural areas, *led to a loss of capable local elites. Many obștea traditions were lost or receded.



I found in my study of forest usage during the communist period that “having” and “owning” were not very important. More important was access and use, which were facilitated in many ways, both legal and illegal, usually involving state officials and corrupt practices.


Collective property rights were re-established only in 2000. Meanwhile, local businesses involved with timber extraction flourished. These new businesses did not contribute to local economic development; they offered mostly black market, and low-wage jobs, but they played an influential role in the evolution of obștea institutions because many of them, in flagrant conflicts-of-interest, also served as decision makers.

Nowadays, twenty nine obștea institutions continue to function in Vrancea, managing around 65,000 hectares of forest. Each village owns between 1,500 and 14,000 hectares for a population that may range from 800 to 5,000. The restoration process stipulated that the obștea institutions should follow the model of the old organizational structures and that each obștea has the right to modify their statutory norms, according to local situations, with the agreement of the village assembly.


A fundamental characteristic is the equal participation of every individual. But the individual does not hold any measurable right or own a precise plot; the only entitlement is the “right to be a member.” Membership includes the right to vote in the village assembly and to receive an annual quota of wood, which changes according to assembly-based decisions about individual shares. An executive committee, ruled by a president, together with the village assembly, manages each common forest. Villagers elect the committee and the president by a secret democratic vote. The committee handles all administrative operations, including organizing the village assemblies, auctions for selling timber, and distributing annual shares of wood to commoners. *The participatory framework is excellent in principle, but in practice there are problems with poor attendance at assemblies, fears about the integrity of vote-counting, conflicts of interest, and a limited pool of capable councilors.

*of course.. public consensus always oppresses someone(s)

so this story is so fractal ish of the rest of the world.. it’s not an ie of common ing..


The legend of the commons’ origins stands as a source of legitimacy for present-day property arrangements. This “once upon a time story” is widely remembered and frequently repeated, with the forest perceived as a “legacy from Stephen the Great.” It amounts to a kind of emotional capital that villagers in the Vrancea Mountains draw upon to reassert their collective local identity and history. The symbolic and affective dimension of property, as managed by obștea, is thus reinforced. Most locals cannot conceive the idea of dividing up their forests because it would violate “the old way.” Some people see the rights to use the mountains as a compensation for the vrânceni (as people there are called) for not having access to the prosperous, arable land of the plains. Collective property is seen as a simple historical fact – a given. Even though the quality and quantity of the allotted forest land varies from one village to the next, the initial act appears as indubitable: “This is the way Stephen gave it to us!

still .. sounds more like pride.. than common ing


, from the survey I conducted in 2005-2006,3 42.2 percent say that feel “a lot” like proprietors of the commons. Another 32.7 percent consider themselves proprietors “to some extent” and 24.1 percent “not at all.”

ie: 24 % .. so not common ing..


Feelings of deprivation and injustice arise when ob?tea is perceived through the lens of its ruling structure, as a group of “corrupt opportunists.” Eighty-nine percent of respondents in my survey perceive that ob?tea, understood as its managing committee, does nothing or too little for the communities.


Part of the problem is that the legal framework of commons is not clear or detailed on many matters. Another problem is that there are no local *mechanisms to resolve conflicts in low-cost ways.

no means for any of us.. to redefine decision making.. et al.. until now.. ie: *mech simple enough.. to facil whimsy/curiosity for all of us (has to be 100% of us).. (rather than resolving conflicts in low cost ways.. gershenfeld sel makes that irrelevant.. no consensus needed et al).. now there’s a nother way..


despite these challenges, I have found in my studies of Vrâncean villages that there is a remarkably strong support for ob?teaas an institution of collective identity and purpose. Managing the forest is not all about calculations, performance, material value and revenues. It is also about affective relationships and symbolic meaning as reflected in *collective memory, tradition and identity. These affective dimensions keep people interested in and involved in the processes related to their forest property even if the external forces of the state, market and local officials may work in other directions.

*hosted-life-bits  via self-talk as data


occupied buildings.. common ing..

it recognises the social value of the experience of living in occupied spaces and not only the economic value of the properties. It is also important because it establishes “the recognition of public spaces as part of a process of constant active listening and monitoring of the city and its demands, in relation to the collective use of spaces and protection of the commons.”

2017 – ghent