In our perspective, charters of urban commons are rules of (self-)governance of resources established by communities to be able to organize commoning with a view to preserving, sharing and transmitting those common goods. Charters can be legally recognized and then it formalizes rights and sovereignty of individuals and of the community over their common goods. The multitude of activities, narratives, creations, illustrations, celebrations, and studies around these charters reflect the commons culture we want to conserve and hand on from generation to generation.

The R&D investment will be based on the analysis of the experiences and the stories of 4 local collectives in their contexts, to be able to define key aspects of the mapping of the charters of urban commons, and tools and methods for their implementation.

Concrete output of the R&D :

  • a mapping prototype of the charters and legal instruments for commons based on semantic web technics.
  • a catalog of tools and methods to understand charters of urban commons in their environment and to co-produce and support practices of governance of urban commons.

In addition, the research phase also aims to define a business model and a model of governance of the project.

Possible replication and development

Ourselves, we freely draw our inspiration from elsewhere efforts: LABSUS, LabGov, Observatorio Metropolitano, Barcelona in Comú, Community Chartering, ... We concentrate our effort in the francophone area and we hope to inspire other activists with whom we can work in the future.

People and organizations participation

The project (Atlas) involves commoners and activists and researchers, and civil servants and policy makers at the local level. How to design and implement legal mechanisms that aim to create and/or regenerate urban commons? The Atlas will be a space for collaboration and learning by sharing experiences and researches. It will work by implementing periodical events, such as seminars, camps, and editions, that will invite people to :

  • document specific experiences or issues
  • produce specific proposals for a local group
  • define a set of political proposals that support the commons.

During the R&D phase, commoners and activists involved in culture, local food production and farming, social work, ... will share their experience of creation and use of charters at the local level, and experiment the mapping of charters of the commons. Designers, artists and web developers will facilitate participation and publishing in the research action process. We already have a very strong collaboration with researchers, throught the collective project of research En-Communs (directed by B.Coriat, that is studying urban commons in France, and with G. Arena (LABSUS) that supports the adoption and implementation of charters by Italian cities.

All people will contribute to design the tools and methods for the documentation of charters of urban commons and commons based politics, starting from the needs of the inhabitants.

Core team

  • Frédéric Sultan (Remix the commons) - Paris. Culture and communication for the commons. He has launched the initiative, is leading the R&D phase
  • Alexandre Guttmann (Centre d'Economie Paris Nord) - Paris/New York. Doctoral Research on Urban Commons. He has contributed to the documentation, descriptions, and analysis of the Charters and will help initiate the peer production process.
  • Alain Ambrosi (Remix the commons) - Québec. Culture and communication for the commons. He has launched the initiative, will be an explorer of places and initiatives that will inspire the project.
  • Yves Otis (percolab) - Québec. Use of technology for participation. Development the semantic tools for the commons
  • Irene Favero - Paris / Italy. Cultural rights. Connection with activists in Europe (squats, cultural initiatives, ...)
  • Sylvia Fredriksson - Paris. Design of local experiments for participation. Design of the research action process and documentation
  • Nadine Jouanen (percolab-europe) - Montpellier. Art of Hosting. Design of facilitation of the dynamic

Partners and friends of the commons are participating and supporting the project

  • in France project of research En-Communs lead by Benjamin Coriat.
  • in Italy, S.Rodotà is supporting the project and G.Arena (LABSUS) starts with us
  • a conversation for designing a session of school of commoning in France.
  • In UK, I.Carlisle from Community Chartering, has offered to hold a workshop on the Atlas of the charters of the urban commons.
  • in US D.Bollier, already participant of two workshops co-organized with him at Paris (June) and Chieri (July) is following the initiative .
  • in Sénégal, with A.Seck, we are looking for designing a model of popular workshop of documentation of commoning
  • S.Helfrich, working on rethinking the State in the commons perspective, will share her work and join our dynamic.

We would like to develop some cooperation with Spanish organizations working at the city and regional levels, such as Barcelona en Comú, Stupid City, Observatorio Metropolitano. Research trips dedicated to better understand what are the factors in favor of an engagement for the urban commons in these cities.

Idea camp was an opportunity to meet with S.Bloemen from Commons Network. We'd like to have a joint 3 day camp with the core stakeholders from the two projects. It will be part of a meeting organized at the end of the project (Atlas) that aims to design tools and methods for self-governance of the commons and identify a set of recommendations for public policies at the local, national and European levels.

Idea camp was also an opportunity to meet (one more time) Goteo and start to think how to built a business model for the project. We would like to open a discussion during the R&D phase.

Key target groups and future target groups and effects of the proposal

The key target group of the project is the commoners ie: inhabitants involved in collective action. The Atlas will be inspirational for the imagination as well as the practices. If charters are different depending on the location, culture, and their object, to share experience with charters and legal mecanisms for the commons in the city, and collaborate in P2P, allows commoners to appropriate mechanisms of governance of urban commons, in a cross-cultural perspective. Secondly, we seek to evolve the behavior of administration (civil servants and Representatives) by offering them to use charters of urban commons for open government.

Involvement of citizens/communities

We invite in the R&D phase 4/5 collectives, that have already experimented some charter based process of governance of urban commons, to tell their stories and share their experience. The collectives involved are :

Shakirail' is a place located in Paris, owned by SNCF, occupied by the collective of artists Curry Vavart to meet the need of working space for young creators from all disciplines. This group has designed an occupancy agreement (convention) recognized by the city of Paris and develops a horizontal governance. Site web

Ferme des bouillons is a farm located in the suburbs of Rouen. It was occupied by a group of people to prevent its destruction and to restart organic farming and short circuit. In 3 years, it gathered 1200 members and attempted to develop a project for the farm in negotiation with the city. Site web

The Federation of MJC (cultural houses for young people) of Ile de France, tries to rethink its agreements with inhabitants, and municipalities to make MJC as urban commons. [ Site web|

The Cooperative of residents Hotel du Nord is located in Marseille. Its members develop tourism homestay hospitality and conservation and enhancement of their historical, cultural, and social heritage. It works with the municipality on the basis of the Convention of Faro. Site web

The Association eco-quartier in Lausanne has developed a set of recommendations for the implementation of eco-neighborhood, used to negotiate with local authority when building a neighborhood. Site web

The idea is to co-produce with each of these experiences, a story of the legal mechanisms they have invented, in order to better understand what are the required capabilities and requirements to achieve this kind of process. This process will take a form adapted to the possibilities. The goal is to publish a document (text, audio, or video) for each case.

The second line of work is the development the prototype of the mapping of charters based on the semantic web. This work will begin with a mapping iteration of already identified charters. It will continue with sessions of mappingof the experiences of the groups involved in the R&D process, and it will end with a collective work of design of the prototype with all the participants.

Then a pooled summer camp, open to other groups managing urban commons projects: Interphaz Lille, BrusselsCommons Josaphat, Collectif des Garrigues, ... will be held to design the tools and methods for the documentation of existing charters of urban commons and implementation of commons based politics, starting from the needsoftheinhabitants.Thissessionwillbeheldwith LegalToolsprojectofSophie Bloemen.

Planning, milestones and risks

  • 4 workshops of production of stories of legal instruments (one for each case) + editing /publishing. Between January and June 2016.
  • Workshop on the Atlas of the charters of the urban commons with Community Chartering (UK)
  • Workshops for prototyping the web semantic database :
    • Dec. 2015 : mapping the already identified charters. (online) ○ Mar.2016:mappingthestoriesdocumented1and2.(online)
    • Aug.2016:mappingthestoriesdocumented2and4.(WSF) ○ Oct.2016:Finalsession(online)
  • 2 research trips in Italy and Barcelona : between Fev. and June 2016
  • 1 summer camp with all actors and open to other collectives. In collaboration with Legal Tools project - August / september, it will take place at Villarceaux (near Paris) with financial support of the FPH. 7/8 people in charge of Atlas.
  • Publishing of the catalog of tools and methods : October 2016
  • Communication : Launch in november 2016
  • Model of governance : publishing a charter V0.1 in January 2016, periodical revision with the stakeholders
  • Business model : Discussion will be planned starting in January.