Physical Assets, Digital Assets and Communites: Curators' notes and recommendations for session participants

Stewarding Physical Assets:

Curated by: Track sessions lead by:  @Caroline_Paulick-Thiel and Fabrizio Barca


Lote4 Physical is a track that discusses different forms of generating, managing and lobbying for an engagement with physical assets in way that is supporting a sustainable development of our societies. Within the proposed session the use of natural resources like water and oil, woods and rivers, the location of illegal dumps and new ways of bringing back to use and sharing unkept and abandoned buildings in communities will be discussed.

A first possible output could be a visible relation to a bigger policy framework like e.g. SDG’s or UNCSD or CBD to increase the influence of practical approaches with political decision making processes. A second output could be the identification of those assets and contexts in which there is a greater chance to move ahead with exemplary successes.

Description and instructions

A first stream of work can come from the current Edgeryders’ collaboration with UNDP and UNESCO. Therefore it seems more than relevant shaping the capacities within our network to fill some conceptual frameworks of these international organizations with life.

By combining the different expertise offered in the sessions we would like to „scan the network“ for experiences on the ground that can be seen as practical efforts linking to international agreements that are often lacking practical credibility and local action.

In this regard, concerning our output we would like to answer the following questions together: Why do we need a different interaction of politics, economy, civil society? Which needs do institutions have concerning the engagement of civil society? How can we (Edgeryders) engage and what do we have to offer? (these are only a first suggestion, please expand)

For preparation we suggest to briefly dive into the following documents:

Convention on Biological Diversity:

A second stream of work could concentrate on participants’ knowledge and personal experience about attempts to generate, manage or lobby for projects aimed at communities’ stewardship of existing unused or under-utilised buildings. In particular, the prolonged crisis has further reduced the willingness and capacity of the State to take care of physical assets built or restored at time of economic bonanza. Our territories are therefore laid with closed hospitals, schools, public offices and baracks, as well as castles and palaces and libraries sometimes perfectly restored but totally unused. At the same time communities lack common places for meeting, sharing knowledge (namely the elderly), exploring each-other identities (cooking, music, dancing, fables) among residents and new migrants, setting common labs, etc.

Keeping this paradox in mind participants are invited to share their knowledge and experience and to concentrate on the following issues:

– how did the original idea come about ? Who started it? Which allies and which enemies?

– how did the conflict/discourse among the stewarding citizens took place? How informed was it?

– how was the State approached? With which arguments and to which use? What made a difference in getting through initial resistance?

– who turned the original idea into a feasible project? Did private agents with profit-making purposes played a role and which role?

– was the leadership stable or did it shift? And why? Which competences turned out to be the winning ones?

– what was the interaction among local actors (with idyosincratic relations to the physical asset) and external actors?

– once the project was accomplished how were the rules of the game for using the asset established? Did they stand tensions and divergent views? Finally a description would be appropriate of the outcome of each “story” from the point of view of Amartya Sen’s capabilities and functionings:

– how were citizens’ capabilities (to access services, to enjoy each-other, to participate, etc) truly enhanced (or restricted)

– how was citizens’ well-being in its different dimensions (including dignity) truly improved

For preparation: Amartya Sen, The idea of Justice, Harvard University Press, 2009 (and/or a commentary


Stewarding Digital Assets:

Curated by:  @teirdes and @matthias Track sessions lead by: 


In this track, we explore the viability and economics of “free” digital artefacts: In the absence of political will to develop the Digital Commons as a free & open, public resource, what can we hack ourselves and how, and where are the limits beyond which we need public infrastructure and proper policies? We want to go home with a draft pattern language (like the original - here in full text) that we assemble from complementary contributions made by your sessions.

Description and instructions

Digital artefacts have a tough time - whether it’s knowledge, entertainment content, data, software, literature, journalism or cultural artefacts. They can be copied for free, so we want them to be free (as in “gratis”). Which means the old model of a sales price works ever less: we urgently need new models for producing and maintaining what is digital.

That task gets even more difficult because politicians largely take a back seat instead of stepping in to develop the Digital Commons as a public resource. It falls on us, the citizens, to care for our own free digital artefacts, and that’s why we need to talk.

To make your session contribute to the Pattern Language for Viable Digital Commons, try to tune it so that you answer the following questions in your area of concern:

  1. Which tools, hacks or principles did you discover or invent that make Digital Commons economically and socially viable and durable, while keeping them as free and open as possible?
  2. Can you describe these tools, hacks and principles in a way that makes them reusable by others and in other contexts? How do they relate to the tools, hacks and principles presented in the other LOTE4 sessions on digital assets?
  3. Is your tool, hack or principle a DIY thing or has it to be implemented in binding, society-wide manner (means, through politics)? If so, which policies do you propose, and what do you see as the path to get them implemented?

For documentation, @Matthias will add a wiki-like “Tool” content type to this site to document all the patterns (“tools, hacks or principle”). You and your audience can do so after the session and also connect the tools to others in our toolbox. It’s an experiment; note that pattern languages are great, but take time to co-develop them. But since they are great, some might get the hang of them. Check out the original one for inspiration!

Stewarding Communities:

Curated by: @robin and @Nadia. Track sessions lead by: 


What we are aiming for in the communities track is to generate a shared list of activities using resources entirely within a neighbourhood which can help communities discover other kinds of social and economic relationships they could be having with one another.

The challenge is in designing sessions so they contribute towards answering two questions:

1. What would be small, easily achievable successes?

2. How to prioritise amongst them for different places, people and situations?

Description and instructions

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. We know that communities can be credible candidates for stewardship of common physical and digital assets. However there is a tendency to lean to heavily on certain community members causing them to burn out.

Beyond the unacceptable cost to personal well-being, this is a structural weakness: any initiative which relies on too much work/responsibility concentrated in few hands without sufficient social and economic support from a critical mass of people is vulnerable. And likely to fail. Which means a loss of trust: social and economic.

So it makes sense to identify steps will draw more support around community leaders and what they are trying to do. Not in a distant future, but starting from where we are right now and what we have. How can sessions in the communities track of #lote4 contribute towards this?

There’s a path we all need to travel in getting ourselves and others to change behaviors: find things that are less difficult to do, and then take them all the way. Because small successes make people ready to try again. Or bigger.

So what is the small specific experiment we could try which has the highest likelihood of succeeding for improving one another’s psychosocial well-being and economic resilience?

Our aim for this track is to have prototyped 1-3 ideas and maybe even have started implementing them before we all leave #lote4.

To focus the conversation towards actionable outcomes we recommend participants to:

1. Think “my neighbourhood”. We believe that geographically defined spaces, physical locations- are key. It’s within those circumstances that people are willing to put in investments because they will benefit directly.

2. Start from Abundance. Brainstorming and mapping where participants see excess capacity in the form of resources that are already available to participants and underutilised. In other words we can begin with what we have and use it to create what is missing. This is more empowering and keeps expectations realistic.

3. Make it social: Design of activities which build and strengthen the relationships within a community, between people in different communities as well as with people with access to resources and power make individuals and initiatiatives more resilient.

In other words what we are aiming for is a shared list of activities using resources entirely within a neighborhood which can help communities discover other kinds of social and economic relationships they could be having with one another.

At the end of each session we ask session leaders to create one entry in this spreadsheet: [URL Coming Soon]

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Moving forward…

Hello curators, just a quick note to let you know all session leaders have been emailed with short questions from your notes to include in their presentations/ workshops…

If you’ll make sure to walk in their sessions and have those points noted and taken further it would be great… Remember Friday and Saturday there are wrapping panels with all of you walking the audience through the daily insights. See you soon!

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Yayy, thank you!

Best organised lote so far :slight_smile: