Equal Day 2018

Commons: a new method of public government?

What are the assets and resources that could be organised in the form of 'commons' in a country like Belgium? How do we model this new type of management in the interest of its stakeholders (citizens, public powers, private sector)?

In 2017, the city of Ghent announced that it wanted to experiment with a commons model to manage common assets. But what does this approach bring that is new and how could this type of management be extended to other areas?

A commons is an open system in which one or several resources are shared and managed collectively by a community. The community establishes rules and a form of governance with the aim of preserving this resource and making it last, while having the right to use it.

The actions of individuals who collectively care for, produce and share the commons are decisive and fundamental.

This system of 'commons' implies that goods are not perceived as property but rather as something to be used. The communalisation of public services and resources can be a means for the inhabitants of a place to take back their legal and technical capacity to make decisions, steer choices, regain the possibility of governing, and manage goods and services in a participative way. Citizens thereby become part of the commons. More broadly, commons can be any resource that can be shared and should be preserved for future generations, whether these are material or non-material goods, or natural or man-made resources. The questions this subject may cover are, in particular, the following:

  • What are the assets and resources that could be organised in the form of 'commons' in a country like Belgium?
  • How can commons be organised?
  • What are the legal forms that can govern commons management (contract, association, foundation, trust)?
  • What level of legitimacy is recognised by authorities (partner cities)?

Contact:

Sophie Jacques: Sophie(at)equalday.eu
Gauthier Rolland: Gautier(at)equalday.eu

Participants