The commons: (Co)managing commonly owned resources
Proceedings of the symposium of 9 March 2012 in Brussels, Belgium
Thinking in terms of commons gives us new horizons to overcome these obstacles. This approach has been developed over many years, made famous by Elinor Ostrom’s work, the only woman to win the Nobel Prize in economics. Ostrom analysed the way communities across the world organise themselves to collectively manage natural resources (e.g. rivers, forests). In order to avoid excessive exploitation, communities adopt norms and rules, which they experience and improve over time, to finally succeed not only in protecting these resources in the long term, but also in strengthening social ties within the community.
Beyond natural resources, the commons are a way to rethink the production and management of other goods, (e.g. culture, transport, or housing), but also the collective reappropriation by the citizens beyond the traditional state/market dichotomy. At the crossroads between social, environmental and economic issues, the commons are a tool to collectively reinvent a shared prosperity.
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