Over the past several years a number of calls have been made to develop better coordination and advocacy for promoting and building a commons economy and cities as commons.
A few years ago David Ronfeldt put out a proposal to create “Chambers of Commons” which would be commons based business coalitions / networks similar to Chambers of Commerce, but with a commons ethos.
In lockstep Michel Bauwens then made the proposal to create “Assemblies of the Commons” which would be citizen based models for promoting, advocating and coordinating for commons at a regional level.
More recently, Assemblies of the Commons have emerged in France, as chronicled by Maia Dereva. She details what they are, why they operate and how they function.
All three of these are discussed in the recent publication The City as Commons: a Policy Reader. (see: pages 71, 144, 150).
Why design and develop a Melbourne Assembly of the Commons?
Commons based development strategies promote the health and wellbeing of all citizens and people in a city, not just narrow minorities. They offer new pathways for empowering people as social innovators and change makers, that can create vibrancy and resilience. They can include people in the governance, development and creativity that cities need in their transformations into places of sustainability at many levels.
An Assembly of the Commons would promote these goals and aims (its exact purpose to be discussed in the design meeting). It would be a place / event for networking, coordination and collaboration in shifting the conversations and development strategies for Melbourne toward a commons one.
It would need to be unique to the circumstances in Melbourne, and should not just take a cookie cutter approach, hence a design conversation!
About the Assembly of the Commons design process
Darren Sharp, David Week and Jose Ramos will be hosting this design conversation over a two hour period. They will provide an overview of Assemblies of the Commons and present 3 design challenges that such an assembly would face. These design challenges may include:
Purpose: what is its purpose? why should it exist?
Governance: how should it be run, who is included and how do they make decisions?
Resources: what resources would be needed for the assembly to achieve its goals?
If you are a person passionate out the future of our cities and Melbourne, care about creating a city as commons, protecting, creating and governing the commons, and care about strategic ways to make this happen, please come along and join the conversation. We are only in the early stages of considering this, and would welcome your ideas and thinking to develop the ideas and strategies.