It Belongs to Everyone

By on March 12, 2016

We share so very much…but who does it really belong to?
The many efforts of groups around the world are converging for justice, peace, the end of poverty, the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, and the restoration of a healthy planet.

Interview with Sophie Ghyselen, Community Land Trust

By on March 29, 2017

This video offers a good explanation of  community land trust in Brussels and its tripartite form of governance. (Video by ZEMOS98).

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Kevin Carson on free market anticapitalism

By on March 29, 2017

PRIMO NUTGMEG interviews Center for a Stateless Society senior fellow and P2P Foundation regular contributor Kevin Carson. From the shownotes to the podcast Kevin Carson is a left-wing libertarian who supports a free market but opposes “capitalism.” We discuss the differences between various schools of libertarianism and the possibility for collaboration. We also discuss the... Continue reading

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The Nidiaci Garden of Florence, an Oasis of Commoning in a Busy City

By on March 28, 2017

The beautiful city of Florence, Italy, is nearly overwhelmed by throngs of tourists much of the year, which leads one to wonder:  How can residents live and enjoy the city for themselves?

One fascinating answer can be seen in the lovely Nidiaci garden and park. It is a commons dedicated to children that is managed by the residents of the diverse Oltrarno neighborhood and the San Frediano district. The City still legally owns the land, but it has more or less ceded management of the garden to residents who demanded the right to common.

The Nidiaci garden lies behind the apse of the Carmine church, an historic site of the Renaissance.  It is an area with lots of tourism, nightlife and gentrification. When I visited the garden recently, mothers were playing with their toddlers and six-year-olds were playing on swings and racing about: the usual playground stuff.

But what makes the Nidiaci garden special is the commoning that occurs there. The neighborhood decides how to use the space to suit its own interests and needs. “Use of the area depends on what people decide to put into it, for free,” as one amateur historian of the Nidiaci garden put it. In a neighborhood in which about 40% of the children come from families born abroad, this is no small blessing.

Not surprisingly, the park has real character. It hosts the only self-managed soccer school for children in the city, where the emphasis is not just on winning but on sportsmanship. There is a Portuguese musician who teaches violin to children and a British writer who teaches English in a studio space on the grounds. An American filmmaker teaches acting. 

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Why does community energy matter?

By on March 28, 2017

If the need for more renewable energy* or more democracy seems pretty obvious to most of us, the need for more (citizen) ownership is generally less clear. And even less the combination of the three: community energy. Insights into the multiple benefits of community energy as a transformative process. Community energy refers to any kind of power plant using a renewable source of... Continue reading

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From Oil Age to Soil Age

By on March 27, 2017

The Design Museum in London recently opened at its new home with, as its centrepiece, an exhibition called Fear and Love curated by Justin McGuirk. I contributed the following text to the book. Why we need a new story In 1971 a geologist called Earl Cook evaluated the amount of energy ‘captured from the environment’ in... Continue reading

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