Reimagining the Civic Commons

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= "a national (U.S.) initiative that seeks to counter economic and social fragmentation in our cities by revitalizing and connecting public spaces".



"Reimagining the Civic Commons is a national initiative that seeks to counter economic and social fragmentation in our cities by revitalizing and connecting public spaces such as parks, plazas, trails and libraries to bring together people from different backgrounds.

Through projects in five U.S. cities, Reimagining the Civic Commons intends to be the first comprehensive demonstration of how a connected set of civic assets – a civic commons – can connect people of all backgrounds and yield increased and more equitably shared prosperity for cities and neighborhoods.

It seeks to foster community, social mobility and economic opportunity by creating experiences and spaces where people of all backgrounds can exchange ideas and address common problems while making cities more environmentally sustainable in the process.

Alongside the demonstration cities, a national Civic Commons Learning Network will coordinate a learning agenda, impact assessment and storytelling across the sites. It will host cross-city learning opportunities and generate a series of toolkits to act as how-to resources for civic asset and city leaders in demonstration cities and beyond.

The five demonstration cities, paired with the Civic Commons Learning Network, represent an opportunity to build a new field of practice to reimagine small civic anchors to yield increased and more widely shared prosperity for cities and neighborhoods.

Reimagining the Civic Commons is supported by The JPB Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation and local funders." (


""When the five Reimagining the Civic Commons cities met in Detroit earlier this month, the group consensus was pretty much unanimous: Detroit is creating a new model of community development with civic assets at its heart, and has learned lessons with implications for cities far outside its borders.

While some of the work being undertaken in Detroit is a response to the city’s famous decades-long decline, other projects carry significant implications for those who want to use civic assets to drive positive change and social impact. Detroit’s Reimagining the Civic Commons project encompasses a breadth of asset types: a community park (Ella Fitzgerald Park), a commercial corridor (McNichols Road), a residential neighborhood (Fitzgerald), a greenway combined with public and private investments in housing and streetscape improvements, including bike lanes, crosswalks, new lighting and street-side plantings." (