Category:Commons Policy

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In this section, we are compiling policy proposals that are specifically oriented around commons.

We endorse the proposal by Joseph Cederwall: A Global New Deal For The Commons [1]


Five Basic Design Principles for the Urban Commons

Christian Iaione and Sheila Foster:

"We have distilled five key design principles for the urban commons:

  • Principle 1: Collective governance refers to the presence of a multi-stakeholder governance scheme whereby the community emerges as an actor and partners up with at least three different urban actors
  • Principle 2: Enabling State expresses the role of the State in facilitating the creation of urban commons and supporting collective action arrangements for the management and sustainability of the urban commons.
  • Principle 3: Social and Economic Pooling refers to the presence of different forms of resource pooling and cooperation between five possible actors in the urban environment
  • Principle 4: Experimentalism is the presence of an adaptive and iterative approach to designing the legal processes and institutions that govern urban commons.
  • Principle 5: Tech Justice highlights access to technology, the presence of digital infrastructure, and open data protocols as an enabling driver of collaboration and the creation of urban commons."


Key Concepts

  • The Global Urban Commons Stack, a proposal for leagues of cities, associated with cooperatives, ethical finances and other actors of generative business practice, to create global open design depositories (which we call Protocol Cooperatives, to mutualize the basic urban provisioning systems.
  • Public-Commons Partnership protocols for cooperation between the public sector and commons-based collectives seeking to improve the common good of the city. ‎See also the report on the topic by Commonwealth UK: Public-Common Partnerships: Building New Circuits of Collective Ownership. By Keir Milburn and Bertie Russell. Manchester, UK: Commonwealth, 2019


Status of city-based commons transitions

A for Amsterdam and Antwerp

  • Antwerp, Belgium has a very dynamic Commons Lab

B for Barcelona and Bologna

  • Barcelona has crafted several policy plans with a distinct attention to the concept of the Commons: see Barcelona City Council Open Digitisation Plan ; Barcelona City Data Commons. "The “communitarian management framework” called “Patrimoni Ciutadà”. According to the Spanish and the Catalan legal system, “communitarian management” is a quite innovative formula enabling citizens and neighbors to manage, control, arrange, run, and decide which kind of activities and which kind of management they want for their “citizen heritage”. [3]. See: Communitarian Management Framework - Barcelona

G for Ghent and Grenoble

For context, see our P2P Foundation Report: Changing Societies through Urban Commons Transitions. By Michel Bauwens and Vasilis Niaros. P2P Foundation and Heinrich Boll Foundation, 2017 [6] This is a more reflexive document on the experience in Ghent, with chapter 3 focusing on Ghent itself.

  • the city of Grenoble, in France, where a permanent assembly of the commons, involving citizens and local organizations, was directly promoted by the city council.


L for Lille and Lisbon

  • “In 2010, the City Council of Lisbon, aware of the urban inequalities in the city, identified seventy-seven Priority Intervention Neighborhoods and Zones (BIP/ZIP, original acronym in Portuguese). .. Through this program, the City Council is trying to reinforce the socio-territorial cohesion of the municipality by mobilising citizens’ energy in the search for solutions that can continue into the future.” [8]. See: Priority Intervention Neighborhoods and Zones - Lisbon

N for Naples

Naples was one of the first cities to institute City-Based Departments of the Commons. See also its Assessor of the Commons ;

S for Seoul, Sydney

  • The now deceased mayor Park of the city of Seoul announced to the P2P Foundation an inquiry on how to move from the paradigm of the sharing city, which made Seoul famous, to that of a commons city. The Karl Polany Asia Institute, in collaboration with the P2P Foundation, are preparing a report on the urban commons in Seoul.


  • List of specific Commons Labs: Antwerp, Belgium ; The Hague, Netherlands [9]

Regional and Larger Scale

This document by the French digital ambassador stresses the strategic interest for the French government and the EU of supporting the expansion of digital commons: see Digital Commons as Drivers of Sovereignty

Territorial Mutualization

  • France: Riposte Créative Territoriale: a series of initiatives to mutualize local resources as a response to the COVID-19 crisis: "reliés par une démarche commune sont des espaces ouverts de coopération pour apprendre ensemble de la crise, favoriser les solidarités, mutualiser les initiatives et préparer l'après. Ces communautés de pratiques ouvertes animées dans une logique de communs, coopèrent entre elles et partagent leurs productions en licence par défaut CC by SA.". Examples: Strasbourg ; Bretagne
  • Netherlands: Initiative for regional transitions highlighting the role of (commons-centric) civil society initiatives in the Netherlands: "De Coöperatieve Samenleving samen met allerlei landelijke en regionale partners aan het verankeren van deze transitiesprong naar een coöperatieve samenleving."

P2P Foundation Reports

* Report/Book: Changing Societies through Urban Commons Transitions. By Michel Bauwens and Vasilis Niaros. P2P Foundation and Heinrich Boll Foundation, 2017 [11]: This is a reflexive document on the experience in Ghent, with chapter 3 focusing on Ghent itself.

Key Quotes

We need to couple private sufficiency and public luxury

"The new approach could start with the idea of private sufficiency and public luxury. There is not enough physical or environmental space for everyone to enjoy private luxury: if everyone in London acquired a tennis court, a swimming pool, a garden and a private art collection, the city would cover England. Private luxury shuts down space, creating deprivation. But magnificent public amenities – wonderful parks and playgrounds, public sports centres and swimming pools, galleries, allotments and public transport networks – create more space for everyone at a fraction of the cost.

Wherever possible, such assets should be owned and managed by neither state nor market, but by communities, in the form of commons. A commons in its true form is a non-capitalist system in which a resource is controlled in perpetuity by a community for the shared and equal benefit of its members."

- George Monbiot [12]

Key Resources

Key Articles

  • History of the Movement for the Digital Commons; see: Dulong de Rosnay, M. & Stalder, F. (2020). Digital commons. Internet Policy Review, 9(4). [14]: "This article presents the history of the movement of the digital commons, from free software, free culture, and public domain works, to open data and open access to science. It then analyses its foundational dimensions (licensing, authorship, peer production, governance) and finally studies newer forms of the digital commons, urban democratic participation and data commons."

Key Books

Key Experts


Key Policy Proposals

  • Politics for the Commons - France: "Politiques des Commun: Cahier de propositions en contexte municipal": an overview of commons-oriented policies for the municipal level, as a preparation tool for citizen lobbying for the 2020 municipal elections in France. [17]
  1. Charter of the Commons
  2. Permanent Commons Fund
  3. Inclusive Value Ledger, proposed by NY Assemblyman Ron Kim is the first contribution-based public accounting scheme I have heard of; therefore a paramount and pivotal commons-based policy proposal

Technology Policy

Key Legislation and Regulation

Key Videos



Food and Agriculture


Welfare and Social Solidarity Schemes

Pages in category "Commons Policy"

The following 200 pages are in this category, out of 484 total.

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