Reclaiming the Commons

Radio Free Nashville

Radio Free Nashville is a local radio station owned and operated by the community that features a variety of music, news, and talk shows.  Community members create and run the programs, and are responsible for all aspects of the operation.  To ensure all community members can participate, training is provided free of charge to people interested in programming or operating the station.  To date, over 140 community members have been trained, 90 of whom are currently on the air.

Reclaiming Public Services

Satoko Kishimoto, Olivier Petitjean and Lavinia Steinfor
The Transnational Institute

This new report from the Transnational Institute (TNI) explores how localities across the globe are fighting privatization through the “re-municipalization” of goods and services. Drawing on 835 examples in 45 countries, the report finds that public ownership offers greater efficiency, affordability, and democratic control in sectors ranging from healthcare to energy. The report synthesizes trends in public ownership and includes detailed infographics on the findings. 


Re-imagining Value: Insights from the Care Economy, Commons, Cyberspace and Nature

Heinrich Boil Foundation and David Graeber

What is “value” and how shall we protect it?  It’s a simple question for which we don’t have a satisfactory more

New Haven Land Trust

Founded in 1982, the New Haven Land Trust nurtures a healthier community and environment by engaging area residents in the stewardship and cultivation of land.  The nonprofit provides land, technical assistance, and supplies to nearly 50 community gardens.  It also owns 6 nature preserves—comprising about 80 acres of land—from which it run environmental education programs.

Online Platforms for Exchanging and Sharing Goods

Anders Fremstad
Economics for Equity and the Environment Network

This case study evaluates the economic, social, and environmental effects of three online platforms. Craigslist provides an online market for local secondhand goods such as vehicles, furniture, appliances, and electronics. Couchsurfing matches travelers with hosts around the world who welcome guests into their homes. NeighborGoods helps people borrow and lend household goods free of charge. Together these case studies provide an overview of the role of online platforms as future economy initiatives. 

Cylburn Arboretum

Free and open to the public year-round, Cylburn Arboretum is Baltimore's largest public garden, encompassing 207 acres. Built in the 19th century as a private estate, the Arboretum is home to a historic mansion and carriage house, as well newer buildings created to welcome and educate visitors that were designed using green techniques, including composting toilets, a “living” green roof, and geothermal heating and cooling.  The Arboretum is the site of numerous free programs, including weekly yoga classes, outdoor concerts, and nature-focused workshops.  It also houses a teaching farm operated by the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future that features aquaponics, a system of agriculture combining fish farming with hydroponic plant farming.

Firebolt Newark Wi-Fi

Launched in 2015, Firebolt Wi-Fi is the fastest, largest, free outdoor public Wi-Fi network in the world. Funded by The Military Park Partnership, Audible, and Prudential Financial, the network covers a two square-mile stretch of downtown as well as several community recreation centers and housing authority locations in the city's neighborhoods. Read more about Firebolt Newark Wi-Fi...

Indianapolis Cultural Trail

The Indianapolis Cultural Trail is an 8-mile bike and pedestrian urban walkway connecting business and cultural districts in downtown Indianapolis.  Developed by a public-private partnership including the City of Indianapolis, the Central Indiana Community Foundation, and several other nonprofit organizations, the $63 million project was completed in 2013.  The Trail features over $2 million of public art projects and the first bikeshare in Indiana, which includes 250 bikes spread across 25 stations, providing residents and visitors an energy-efficient way to explore the city. Read more about Indianapolis Cultural Trail...

Garfield Park Conservatory

The Garfield Park Conservatory aims to grow community through the combination of people, plants, and place.  To do so, it offers a variety of free programs, including hands-on training in gardening, composting, and beekeeping.  It serves nearly 170,000 people a year, including more than 15,000 Chicago school children.

Imago for Earth

Founded to reconnect people to the natural world, Imago is a nonprofit focused on providing environmentally focused educational experiences and conserving natural areas. Since its establishment over 30 years ago, it has preserved 36 acres of urban forest, 16 of which are open to the general public for hiking and exploration.   Read more about Imago for Earth...

Slow Living Summit 2015

June 3rd, 2015 to June 5th, 2015
Brattleboro, VT

Ogallala Commons

Ogallala Commons is a non-profit resource management and development network that seeks to maintain the High Plains-Ogallala Aquifer region, which stretches from South Dakota to Texas and encompasses areas in eight states, as a “watershed commonwealth” through educational and community-building programs. The organization provides leadership development, community internships, informational fairs, engagement days, and works to develop local food systems.

  Read more about Ogallala Commons...

Economic Democracy

Ted Howard, Steve Dubb and Sarah McKinley
Achieving Sustainability: Visions, Principles, and Practices

Democracy Collaborative Research Director Steve Dubb along with Executive Director Ted Howard and Research Associate Sarah McKinley contributed the chapter “Economic Democracy” to the two-volume encyclopedia, Achieving Sustainability, now available courtesy of Gale Publishing. They outline the history of the economic democracy movement, highlighting community wealth building strategies such as community development finance institutions and cooperatives. 

Achieving Sustainability: Visions, Principles, and Practices

Debra Rowe
Macmillan Reference USA

A two-volume encyclopedia containing more than 130 signed entries, Achieving Sustainability covers economic and environmental ideas, as well as governance, demographic, and socio-cultural aspects of the concept. Democracy Collaborative Research Director Steve Dubb along with Executive Director Ted Howard and Research Associate Sarah McKinley have contributed the chapter “Economic Democracy”, which outlines the history of the economic democracy movement, highlighting community wealth building strategies such as community development finance institutions and cooperatives. 

Sharing Revolution

Jessica Conrad

The recent rise of the commons and the sharing economy seems to suggest a growing recognition of the fact that our health, happiness, and security depend greatly on the planet and people around us.Sharing Revolution: The essential economics of the commons  highlights the many ways, new and old, that people connect and collaborate to advance the common good and develop greater economic autonomy.  The Cleveland model is also featured.

Think Like a Commoner

Bollier, David

In his new book, Commons Strategies Group co-founder David Bollier describes the logic and ethics of the commons, as well as the growing international movement, especially in Europe and the global South. Bollier maps the field from information commons such as Wikipedia to common spaces such as community gardens. The book also covers threats to the commons, such as enclosures and private property rights.


Ioby, which means “in our backyards,” serves as an alternative to NIMBY (or “not in my backyard”). Read more about Ioby...