Commons network

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Description of what the network is about

Commons Network is a collaboratory for the social and ecological transition. The network brings together people and ideas and it provides tools, strategies and insights for social movements, governments and community groups. We explore new models for economy and society in order to collectively transform the system and shape a caring and just future.

Societal problem they want to address

The unsustainable economic and social order.

Societal domain

Municipalism and commoning. Democratic economies.

Basic aim of network

Actions and explorations

  • Cities and regions: The network envisions radical change often as beginning in the local and desgined to be as local as possible. Cities and regions are seen as pockets of transformation, where real alternatives are being explored and put into practice. In 2014, the network joined the municipalist wave that inspired much of the European New Left back then. The network finds municipalism and commons thinking being closely related.
  • Degrowth and the caring economy: The network, along with activists, policy makers and scholars all over the world, is rethinking and redesigning society beyond the hegemony of growth. They do not only propose the redistributive downscaling of the biophysical size of the global economy, but also envision a new, feminist-inspired paradigm in the form of a caring economy: a socio-ecological transformation centered around the key values of care, autonomy and sufficiency.
  • European translocal solidarity: The Commons network believes it is crucial to build a Europe that goes beyond extractive capitalist markets and repressive and exclusionary nation states. A Europe of translocal solidarity exists alongside it, fueled by the commons movement, feminist politics and municipalism. In order to build caring, inclusive and autonomous societies across Europe, the network works in solidarity with local partners in cities, towns and regions across Europe’s regions. Together, they deliberately build political power from the ground up, as they believe that real change happens bottom up.
  • Knowledge commons: The Commons network believes that scientific knowledge should not be enclosed by a select few profit driven private actors. The network aims to contribute to the production, management and distribution of knowledge in a more equitable and shared way. Knowledge commons can be an antidote to monopolies in every industry, improve accessibility and spur innovation. In a world that is increasingly knowledge and data-driven, the question of how we organize it becomes more urgent with every passing day.
  • Public-civic digital systems: The Commons network believes that we urgently need a radically different approach to technology, one where communities are empowered to use alternatives when they need them, and to reject new technologies if they don’t. Building solidarity-based and just societies requires challenging the dominance of Big Tech. At the moment Big Tech determine everything, from the way we communicate, our transport, our politics, to our cultural expression. The network's vision is to build an alternative economy through public-civic digital ecosystems, where citizen cooperatives collaborate closely with strong public institutions, and where communities become literate to technology and independent from it at the same time.


Tools and strategies

Commons Network builds networks, engages in research, coalition-building and story-telling. In all this work, the network collects insights, tools and strategies for movements, governments and other organisations with an ambition to change. On their website they have collected tools and strategies for different areas of expertise, such as community wealth building, commons, publis-civic partnerships, platform coops, degrowth and caring, knowledge commons, shared digital spaces. The network also provides a selection of services through which they share insights with people. These include keynotes, inspiration sessions, activation tracks, situated research, spaces and dialogues and transition collaboratories.

For more information

Commons network web page



Entry done by

Aleksi Salmela