Urban Commons

In recent years, a variety of activists, government officials, urban planners and academics have coalesced around efforts to reimagine “the city as a commons.” These efforts have taken many forms, from launching urban agriculture projects and reclaiming old airports to using open data systems to benefit city residents and starting community land trusts to help reduce housing costs. Forming urban commons has also entailed creative efforts to transform city bureaucracies so that they can improve planning processes, rethink architecture and affirmatively foster commoning among neighborhoods and self-organized citizen groups; the Bologna Regulation for the Care and Regeneration of Urban Commons is perhaps the most notable innovation of this nature.

In November 2015, a major conference in Bologna, Italy helped crystallize this emerging movement around the theme of “reconceiving urban space, common goods and city governance.” The challenge of creating and sustaining urban commons is sure to expand in coming months and years.

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