Hi everyone,

Kate, Bridget and me will facilitate/coordinate the breakout session  CARING FOR THE COMMONS.

We are working on it…

We invite everyone who is interested to join the team!

We are currently thinking about the main themes we might talk about;  we think we are gonna  focus on what the commons are (and language about it) and how we care about them. As specific topics it seems that cultural and environmental issues are the most interesting for our community


1.we would like you to let us know what you think we should talk about 


  1. since every session will begin with two testimonies: any of you wants to share her/his experience about commons within the session as a testimony? (of course we will have the time to talk about different experiences afterwards).

Let us know!

Maybe defining concepts is a start?

Hey, I took the liberty to assign this report also in the Commons session, along with Bridget’s “Two topics linked by culture: learning & the commons” where we can build an inventory of all relevant reports, or create summaries etc.

What do we mean by environmental issues, more specifically? I know that there’s a lot of interest in urban environments and living in the city, re-appropriating public spaces and really use them as commons, but that;s not environment per se, is it?

And what about language on commons? It keeps coming up but I have a hard time fully understanding what it means… maybe if we could explain this it would make it easier for people to come up with insights?

it seems weird because we’ve been talking about commons for some time now, and when we’re supposed to go deeper in the subject I find some basics are missing. Or am I just backward…?

thanks Betta!

Language on commons: RESPONSIBILITY

Oh, I just read a comment by Lyne and according to her when framing language we should have in mind the concept of being responsible for our role in society, immediate environments, for our relationships. I think it is a starting point…

Some basic definitions

Hello Noemi,

It seems that I have managed to login and post some comments finally!

Commons ‘activists’ usually define the commons as the collective heritage of humanity, the shared – natural, genetic, material, intellectual, digital, social and cultural – resources that we inherit, create and use and transmit to future generations; vital for our sustenance and livelihood, our individual expression and purpose, our social cohesion, quality of life and well-being; embodying the relationships between people, communities and these shared resources. This fits with Lynne’s definition and leaves room for relating the commons to lots of streams of thought and action, or memes…

What is interesting in the concept of commons is that it can be expressed as an object of care (environment, community, relationships, natural resources etc), a way of being and acting (sharing, giving, minding, with justice, equity, etc), or an outcome (well-being, prosperity, quality of life, resilience). So there is interesting matter to build around depending on people’s reasoning mode from moving from the general to the specific, and what their preferred focus points are: governance and organization, infrastructures, human and natural rights, law and equity, ethics and responsibility, management, conservation and replenishment, stewardship and protection, empowerment and resilience, etc…

And the commons embrace all this, because people who reclame themselves from the commons embrace all this. What needs to be done is make it visible to each other to multiply the effects…



Thanks! Object of care -> Ways to do it… -> Outcome. It sounds like a red line to follow if we are to think in policy terms, right?

About the language of commons, I was thinking it’s worth exploring if there a way to communicate about them at present, that is unfulfilling, or just wrong, and if yes, how can we make a point ? one that’s specific enough to frame the issue and and makes clear the room for policy.

example: Reading about collaborative consumption nowadays it drew my attention that this philosophy cannot be explained and understood if we don’t move towards establishing positive connotations of cooperatives, collectives and communes.

What I understood so far reading Edgeryders and other materials (including the ones you posted on the seminars and the new narrative on commons):

  1. Common resources are not the same as commons, or dont necessarily have to be commons.

  2. Commons deeply ingrains the idea of relationships, practices = commoning, more than the objects of care or resources per se. commons as community

  3. The complexity and power of “property” and “rights” - particularly in terms of access, public/private relations, commodification and the legitimacy issues they pose. How this is framed institutionally and politically has an impact on enabling commoning at policy level or commons as a political paradigm

Thanks Helene and apologies, I’m learning and enjoying it :slight_smile:

commons, commons, community

Hi Noemi

that’s very close about what I was talking about when referring to language of the commons.

Since it is something we care about we didn’t think so much (and I 'd say not enough) to what we were actually talking about. One of the reason is that the word “common” itself is so…common…that it may refere to various ideas.

For example the idea of common heritage (for me, but not only for me) is not coincident with the one of commons: there are points of overlapping but it’s not the same.

One of the reason behind this issue is that…we can make a game and ask to people "talking and caring"about the commons when this topic arised, I guess than half of them will consider it very very recent  (I am not talking of researchers, of course). They won’t be completely wrong because as a matter of policy making (as you underlined) it is actually very recent…but it is an argument for economics since almost 45 years!!!

Moreover I agree with you about common resources (discourse close to the one on common heritage).

The connection between commons and community and responsibility, for example is etymological…since Latin, but almost no one knows about it (I am pretty sure about it since part of my dissertation was about it!)

Another issue is about the difference between " the common good" (which is, at least in Italian, “what is good for the entire community” or "what is good for everyone), “the common”, singulare, or better “the commonwealth” (as the famous book by M. Hardt and A. Negri) and “the commons”, plural, or “the commons good”.

Finally he idea of commons has been used (at least in italy) as political slogan by traditional leftwing parties, which might be good, beside the fact that they did it in a completely meanless way ( this is strictly my opinion, of course)

Then there are all the legal stuff concerning the commons and their position between public and private.Nowhere in the legislation in europe there is any reference to the commons.

There has been a legal document in Italy and there is an European Citizens initiative about it…but both of them haven’t had any practical result yet.

Commons are matter of economics, policy makin, politics and law; beside being a social argument!

That’s what I meant with talking about the language of the commons…

(and by the way I am doing a research about it!)

I hope I was enough clear,

and apologies for replying so late to your first question, Noemi

Use this as a short intro at the session

No worries, Betta! Really useful distinctions, at least for me!

I suggest you include these in your very brief overview at the beginning of session, explain it in 3 mins, and then move on to Edgeryders experiences, maybe build some sort of a map (Helene was talking about this at some point, a holistic view - but better not be about commons in general since there won’t be enough time, but about Edgeryders reads of commons), and then keep narrowing down until participants agree on 1 topic which is specific enough to lead to an action via policy-making.

We can start building it now, I can help since I’ll most probably be in this session (have a hard time deciding between commons and learning :slight_smile: )


Your help is very appreciated!

And you suggestion to include it in the overview too…by the way we are still looking for the testimonies. We thought that it would be useful if they are very concrete ones. Any suggestion?

I really like the idea of the map, I am happy to facilitate its creation…

see you

Commons as a funnel… to commoning and sustainability

Betta, Noemi,

You are right that commons are not exactly commons heritage, or commons resources, or responsibility for the commons they are a whole lot of things because yes it is an ethos that encompasses objects, ways and outcomes. What ‘hides’ behind the concept and whether it is more of an object, relationships and practices, or desired outcomes is actually in the eye of the beholder… So the beholder will relate to the commons through the dimension of it that speaks directly to him.

What I like in the concept of commons is that you can ‘nudge’ or ‘funnel’ many views of sustainability towards a more complete and whole concept of commons and commoning by working on the overlaps and adjacencies. Thats how the whole and a convergence could be made visible, while letting eveyone concentrate on his ‘thing’… Not sure if I am clear here…

Here are the Ten Guidelines for the Commons by James Quilligan that could help for the creation of the map

  1. We are Co-creators with Nature

  2. By Creating our Shared Environment, we Participate in our own Culture

  3. Thru Creative Cooperation, Resource Users become Producers of their own Resources

  4. Cooperation between Users and Producers is the Practice of Stewardship

  5. The Social and Political Expression of Stewardship is Trusteeship

  6. Co-produced and Co-governed Commons Generate New Sources of Value

  7. Commons Value is the basis of a Debt-Free/ interest-free Monetary System

  8. A Commons-Based Society results from Collective Intentions for Sustainability

  9. The Economics of the Commons is Replenishment


I would be glad to join the team.

Hello, Betta, Kate, Briget,

I would be glad to join the team. I am currently working with the School of Commoning in London on a map that would:

1. Help people recognize which spot or niche they occupy within the commons action space so they can assert their position and adjust their action in relation to an overarching generative commons discourse.
2. Help the various niches find their areas of overlaps and adjacencies so that bridges can be built and exchanges occur, strengthening the meshing of what emerges into a network of initiatives and achievements that would multiply everyone's impact and accelerate a convergence.
3. Provide some visibility on the 'whole' (or at least an impressionist picture of it) so that policy makers and other interested parties can build some political action.
I outlined this in the mission I posted last week:
Let me know how I must proceed, and if there is a specific space where I should look or join a work group. I have been experiencing problems with login in to this site. I hope this goes through. Thanks and apologies for not being present enough... I would have some time to engage a little more in the coming days.

Approach to a map

Here is an map approach of the memes related to commons, sustainability or other forms of ‘improving the future’. This is what I was referring to below.

Don’t hesitate to look at the outline view if you feel overwhelmed by the bubbles.

And please provide feedback and suggestions.

Testimonies found but you will have chance to share yours

I think I am right in saying that we have a draft agenda now that has two (very short) testimonies to start with, so we’re not calling out anymore for ‘speakers’. However, we also have a structure that leaves lots of space for all the participants to share their testimonies, their experiences and examples of commons. This thread is also a place to share examples and ideas.


Hi Bridget, so which testimonies will we start with? anybody volunteered or you suggested they do it?

Have you seen how large this team is growing? almost 30 people, I wonder if they’ll stick to this or have already other sessions in mind as well… I think you, Betta, Helene are doing a great job, can’t wait for this!

Also, we need someone to take notes and after the session build them into a mission report here, so that other people in the community and those who won;t come to Strasbourg can see what the discussion was… we can decide on the spot, just wanted to make sure it’s listed in a to do :slight_smile:

a small preview :slight_smile:

hi Noemi

acctually we decided to “modifiy” a bit the agenda for many reason including that choosing two testimonies would have been incredibly difficult. So we will start with two very quick short intros (the one on culture by Bridget, and the one on language by me) followed, probably, by the discussant…

But on the other hand ther will be more than two testimonies we will refer to later in the session…

I want to keep you curious, of course!

We remember the last “to do”…board and markers will be our notebook…

see you soon

Really good work

Wow, this session is shaping up very nicely! Congratulations everyone.

human rights as commons

Hi everyone,

I would like to join this group and I think that your post are all interesting. I put my mission in “promoting and asserting migrants’ rights in Venice” in “Caring for commons” campaign because I strongly think that human rights shoul be considered as a “common good”.

In my point of view rights of citizenship and other rights - like the right to learn the language of the country you live in - should be seen as something “Inclusive” and not “exclusive” and this is something that affects all of us because depriving migrants of rights and dignity is the first step to deprive all the “civil society”.

We have to build up a new welfare inside social centres and local associations to fight against the “war among poors” that is affecting our society and that is day by day creating the fear of the “others” and of the “unknown”.

That’s why I think that human, civil and political rights are common goods like water, land and public spaces.

you are welcome…

you are welcome Davide, join us!

By the way i agree with you, even if I am still convinced that the interconnection between human rights and common could be even more complicate. And that among the common good there are different levels of definition which imply different shaping of the topic.

(By the way if you join the group is gonna be easier for me to find you: we have a close friend in common who said to me she is very happy we are gonna meet eachother )

Ηello Davide,

of course you

Ηello Davide,

of course you are very welcome to join any breakout session you feel like!

Go in and suggest to the facilitators your points of view and what you would like to see there

See you in the #lote

Practical Commons

Hi Commons group … here’s just a bit pre-conference input from my side. I will be at the Caring for the Commons breakout session and may contribute to the discussion in the direction outlined below, but I won’t have something formally prepared …

What I missed a bit so far is innovative projects dealing with actually managing (using but also caring for) a specific kind of the commons. I think of things like:

  • (German project indexing unused fruit trees on a map that are allowed to be harvested by anybody)
  • (global project indexing abandoned buildings and discussing ways to make them useful again; it's not exactly commons property always in a legal sense, but it has the basic idea behind that abandoned structures should be available for commons use since their original owners indicate by not using them that they don't want them right now)
I have a small collection of such projects from several areas and would like to ask people what unused resources they want to see commons managed. That again might result in some actionable, specific policy proposals.

Just my 2c, and thanks for all your preparation work!

Thanks Great examples.

Hi Matthias. I joined the team as well. We have more or less wrapped up the agenda of the session. This will fit perfectly. I think that the idea ‘make the best of what we have’ is great.

I saw you will be talking at the Meet the policy makers session. Could you share a bit of what you will talk about? Will it be on the project you are working on? It seems very impressive! Maybe we could find a moment to meet in the morning if you plan to arrive early.