47 New Maps!

August 27, 2013 Ellen C. Friedman Uncategorized

The creative juices have been flowing and the Commons Atlas continues to emerge into reality.

What’s new? If you love maps, you’re gonna love this.

There are 19 new commons maps and 28 new threat maps. There are some seriously outstanding visualizations, so please take some time to peruse the additions to the collection. You’ll find lists of the new maps below the fold.

There’s also a new collection of resources, including pages of commons organizations, commons-related blogs, and outstanding things to read. Many of the publications have been released under a Creative Commons license and are available for free download.

One book of note is “Wealth of the Commons: Beyond Market & State”. This collection of 73 essays, edited by David Bollier and Silke Helfrich, is a must read for it’s clarity showing the breath and depth of practical commons solutions from authors around the world.


Exciting News!

July 18, 2013 CommonSpark Uncategorized

The initial collection of commons maps, threat maps, datasets, and tools for creating data visualizations are now available on the CommonSpark website. The pages can be accessed by the sub-menus of “The Commons Atlas” tab.

Since we are still in the early stages of development, we are using a broad brush in defining both “map” and “commons”. “Map” implies a wide variety of data visualizations, including but not limited to geospatial maps, timelines, network maps, mindmaps, and infographics. The Commons Atlas will have it’s own website eventually, but we plan to share significant pieces as they are developed to encourage feedback, conversation and collaboration.

Our commons maps are “in the spirit of the commons”, meaning they are somehow related to the commons. We include maps of existing commons that already manifest the community + resource + management processes that a fully developed commons implies. We also include maps related to what David Bollier refers to as “aspirational commons”, things that we know deep in our hearts should be shared, like water and air, but are not yet managed as commons. Discussions about how to sort the commons maps are ongoing and the linear method we use here will evolve to represent the reality of the interconnected commons ecosystems.


June 5, 2013 CommonSpark Uncategorized

WeClaim2Our banner at the March Against Monsanto rally in Austin, Texas. Photo by Alain Braux.


For All Our Beloved Relations

June 3, 2013 Ellen C. Friedman Uncategorized

The 2nd international commons conference, Economics and the Commons, was held a week ago in Berlin. I was watching the livestream when a presenter asked, “Why do you work on the commons?” I heard a variety of answers including “justice” and “it makes sense”.

I frequent quiet, green gardens where direct experiences of interconnectedness are easy to access. This embodied relatedness with nature opens my heart to love for my friends and family, for my cats, for the trees, the bees, the frogs and all living beings who call this beloved earth home. It is love for all my relations that inspires and motivates me.

When I contemplate this planet I cannot avoid awareness of the vast harm inflicted by big money-oil-agriculture-military and the planet-eating political and social systems. They are committing terracide. They pulled off the grandest theft in all of history – the theft of our common wealth. These corporations and their governments take from the commons with impunity and give nothing back except trash and trauma. They are literally stealing our future. This awareness brings me to a terrifying encounter with a colossal wall of grief.


Commons Atlas Project Update

May 20, 2013 CommonSpark Uncategorized

With consideration given to feedback from allies in the commons movement, CommonSpark has refined the scope of its first project for the Commons Library. We feel the most valuable thing we can contribute to the movement at this time is to help people see the commons, so we have begun building a Commons Atlas.

The Commons Atlas will share commons-related data visualizations, and include a directory of resources for sharing communities: best practices, strategy, and threats. “Data visualization” includes geographical maps, network maps, charts, graphs, timelines, and infographics. In the longer term, we also contemplate providing some means to create visualizations on line. (This is a substantial technical challenge, so we will start out recommending sites with data sets and tool kits).


Discover the Commons: The hidden path to a sharing renaissance

March 22, 2013 CommonSpark Uncategorized

CommonSpark’s founder, Ellen Friedman, will be presenting “Discover the Commons: The hidden path to a sharing renaissance” at the Earth Day festivities in Austin, Texas on April 20, 2013. During this interactive session, participants will see the commons through a microscope for the first time and realize what was there all along. The commons are the ecological, cultural, economic, and information resources we both inherit and create that we must learn to see, protect and pass along to future generations undiminished. Please join us in Austin to learn how working together to reclaim the commons can address the critical issues[…]


David Rovics – The Commons

January 2, 2013 CommonSpark Uncategorized

Be inspired by David Rovics at the Festival of the Commons! (see previous post for event details)


Festival of the Commons – Jan 19th in Austin!

January 2, 2013 CommonSpark Uncategorized

Do you care about our community and this precious planet and want to be part of the forces that shape our future? Join us on January 19th to be educated, entertained, and inspired at the Festival of the Commons in Austin Texas!

Hosted by Activate Austin, this day of sharing knowledge and music features Lisa Fithian, CommonSpark collective, local folk band The Sparrowmakers and revolutionary protest/singer songwriter, David Rovics!

The Festival of the Commons is a benefit for CommonSpark’s Commons Library Project and the Orun Center for Cultural Arts.


The Wealth of the Commons

December 27, 2012 CommonSpark Uncategorized

A new collection of 73 essays that describe the enormous potential of the commons in conceptualizing and building a better future, edited by David Bollier and Silke Helfrich. via The Wealth of the Commons.


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