Understanding the neighborhood
Understanding the character of the neighborhood (through history, and present times)
Each neighborhood has a distinct character because it has been shaped by its history. Understanding what that history is will give a superior knowledge to what this neighborhood and its people represent. The history is what brings out the character in a neighborhood, and any addition to that neighborhood must consider the past in order to keep its character alive. Commons especially must embody that character, so that the neighborhood can keep being a place that is properly represented by the people. In order to do that, one has to talk to the people of the neighborhood who have been there for a long time, and are watching the place evolve for many years. Some people will give you historical accounts of major social events, protests, movements, and leaders, all of which shape the identity of a neighborhood. Understanding that will allow the formation of the commons to highlight these historical accounts, and the people will feel more connected to the commons as a major part of this neighborhood (character). Story sharing is a key tactic in the chartering process. The best way to do that in the chartering process is by asking locals in the neighborhood what the past was like, and what stories they will share that should be distributed to everyone involved in the neighborhood.
Tactical Story-Sharing - Inhabitants have a long relationship with the neighborhood they live in. Sharing these stories and instilling them in a shared space can enrich the presence and function of these urban commons
Cultural Awareness - Each neighborhood has a story of people moving in and out, and placing their culture within the neighborhood. It is important for a shared space to enhance the culture of a neighborhood, and this can be done by working with inhabitants and small businesses and see how a shared space can become a part of their quotidian life.
Understanding the qualities of the neighborhood to further highlight and improve them in the urban commons
It is important to find out how people relate to their neighborhood, and what qualities they share that make this place a pleasant and fun place to live. Bringing out the positivities in a neighborhood will entice people to feel a strong connection, like the place, and be driven to maintain it so that it is preserved and not degraded. When people are reminded what they like about their neighborhood, they will participate in the chartering process to make sure people understanding these qualities. Detecting of qualities makes people proud. The urban commons should be a place that encapsulates these qualities, so that people in the neighborhood can use this space to take advantage of these qualities. The best way to do that in the chartering process is to ask residents what qualities they find when living here.