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Commons are collectively owned resources, collaboratively managed by their co-users under formal or informal governance systems. They forms management institutions that are finely attuned to the specifics of place and closely link ecological, social and cultural realities. For this reason, traditional commons are a crucial ingredient in all documented cases where human groups self-organise to achieve sustainability and/or resilience. In addition, many social movements concerned with sustainability, justice and related matters are dedicated to the creation of new commons, creating new institutional forms that transcend the limitations of state and market.

Institutional Diversity

  • Ostrom (2005) on institutional diversity
  • Triangle of State, Market, Commons [1]
  • Connected Autonomy

Main theories of Commons

  • Resource and political commons (Holemans 2021); Traditional and political commons (Henfrey & Kenrick 2017)
  • Traditional/resource commons (Ostrom, Berkes etc.)
  • Commons and resilience
    • Commons and social-ecological resilience (Berkes & Folke 1998)
    • Commons, cooperativism and regional transitions (Lewis & Conaty 2013)
    • Linking traditional and political commons (Henfrey & Kenrick 2017)

Commons and Structural Coupling

  • Commons and Capital (de Angelis)
  • Public-civic partnerships [1]
    • Example (summary and link): Ghent [2]
    • Example: Bologna [2]
    • State Support for RE communities (PROSEU)

Commons Ecologies

  • (Henfrey et al 2019; Esteves et al 2021)

Urban Commons

Knowledge Commons

  • Overview (recycle from UrbanA D3.3)
  • Examples

Commons movements and networks

  • Major networks and organisations
  • Crossover with other movements (commons in all but name)


  1. 1.0 1.1 Holemans, Dirk. 2016. ‘Institutional Diversity for Resilient Societies’. Green European Journal 14:14–19.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Holemans, Dirk. 2017. ‘The City Taking the Commons to Heart’. Green European Journal 16:76–81.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Holemans, Dirk, and Kati Van de Velde. 2019. Creating Social-Ecological Societies through Urban Commons Transitions. Final framing paper of the Green European Foundation transnational project 2018. Brussels: Green European Foundation.