Commons Sense Project

‘Commons sense’ is a continuation of my research investigating commons and commoning (commons/-ing) practices through design practice. This study explains how commons/-ing is a potential route to a sustainable future and a reaction to capitalism and our ‘consumer democracy’.

Commons is a broad topic. Historically it relates to enclosures, today it is a call to reclaim our commons as an effective way to tackle the climate crisis. Commoning practices that include collective stewardship and care, are crucial to the survival of the commons. Communicating the importance of commons can expose the consequences of abusing resources, and even better, show that these resources as part of the same system as ourselves. Although commoning practices exist across the globe, the commons is an emerging concept with academics and thinkers still framing what the commons is and how it can operate.

This project is an inquiry into the potential design has to contribute to making visible commons/-ing. This workbook will present the design research, theoretical context and practice through a variety of methods and studies. In my locality, I ask what people understand about commons and explore where and how commons/-ing takes place. I speculate on what other commons might be possible. I develop designs to communicate commons concepts. Each study attempts to create conditions for dialogue and ways to encourage participation. I discover the importance of situated practice, our relations to nonhuman worlds, the need for diversity and design for everyday lives.