Urban Commons Transdisciplinary Graduate Lab

Through our research about the Urban Commons emerged three different lenses: Alternative Economies, Inclusive & Dynamic Governance and Reclaiming Spaces.


We then used these lenses to further frame our investigation.


Alternative Economies: We explored different economic models that differ from the mainstream capitalist model of today. Our current system promotes ideals of value exchange and the marginal cost of production almost always being greater than zero. In this system, individual interest is driven by material gain and physical and intellectual property are meant to be privatized and protected. Alternative economic systems promote ideas of shared value creation, the marginal cost of production remaining close to zero, collaboration, connectivity, and the sharing of ideas.


Inclusive & Dynamic Governance: As we explored the urban commons, we considered what it means to govern a common good or resource. We studied models of alternative forms of governance that promote inclusion, and enabled disenfranchised groups to gain power through commoning. We also studied dynamic forms of governance, those that cultivate evolving structures for decision-making and maintenance. These models promote ideas such as membership, stewardship, horizontality, and collective ownership.


Reclaiming Space: Our exploration of reclaiming space centered around repurposing spaces for new kinds of access and value. The reclaiming of spaces included the opening or reopening of access to a particular space, from private to public ownership in order to produce greater social value or good for a community. This reclamation can include the activation of a space, but can also new forms of ownership, governance, or stewardship.