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COMMONS MAGAZINE

I AM WATER

August 17, 2013 | By Jay Walljasper

I AM WATER is a public art project created by On the Commons Artist-in-Residence Camille Gage. It is a vehicle for lending your voice to creation of a Great Lakes Charter.


The art project involves creating a large, moveable, indoor/outdoor sculpture consisting of hundreds—perhaps even thousands—of paper “ripples.” Each ripple will represent a voice added to the Charter and an individual who has pledged to be a steward of the Lakes.

Thank Your Local Placemaker

August 15, 2013

Last night, I left a couple love notes for my city.

The Tea Party Targets Public Libraries

August 8, 2013 | By David Morris

In September 2012 the Library Board of Pulaski County, Kentucky raised property taxes $1 per year for a typical homeowner to maintain the existing level of services in its five libraries. Voters were not given the opportunity to reject the increase; in 2006 however, they were and resoundingly approved a much larger increase to finance a new library.

Only Congress Can End Forty Years Of Insanity

August 2, 2013 | By David Morris

Act I: The People Press Their Case

Jay Walljasper's Speaking Schedule

August 1, 2013 | By On the Commons Team

“Greater Des Moines Neighborhood Conference”:http://rebuildingtogetherdm.wordpress.com/events/dmnc/
September 12, 8:30 am – 3:30 pm
Plymouth Church/Waveland Hall
4126 Ingersoll Ave.
Des Moines, IA 50312


“Built Environment and the Outdoors Summit”:http://www.kansasbeos.org/about-the-summit.html
September 25 – 26
Ramada Convention Center
420 East 6th Street
Topeka, KS 66607


Stay tuned for further details on Walljasper’s 2013 speaking engagements.

An Oregon Trail to End Student Debt

July 31, 2013 | By Jay Walljasper

Last year the Oregon legislators unanimously passed and the governor signed a bill paving the way for students to attend public universities without paying tuition or taking out traditional loans at all.

Life in the Green Lane

July 29, 2013 | By Jay Walljasper

How to describe your first time in a green lane? There’s nothing quite like it.


For me it happened on a business trip to Copenhagen. I saw bikes everywhere, beginning with the taxi ride from the airport where I spotted business executives toting briefcases on bikes, wanna-be fashion models wearing high heels on bikes, kids heading to school on bikes, parents pedaling toddlers to daycare on bikes, old folks chatting to one another on bikes.

Nature is an Open-Source Commons

July 25, 2013 | By Jay Walljasper

One of the more provocative talks at the Economics and the Commons Conference in Berlin last May was Andreas Weber’s critique of the “bio-economics” narrative that blends social Darwinism and free market economics. Bioeconomics is the default worldview for contemporary economic thought, public policy and politics. The only problem is that, by the lights of the latest biological sciences, this narrative is wrong, seriously wrong.

Connecticut Passes Commons-Based Approach to Taxing Urban Land

July 22, 2013 | By Jay Walljasper

On June 20, 2013, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed into law an act permitting – as a pilot program – a tax reform that turns traditional taxation on its head, as it also embraces the idea of the commons as a resource for the community to provide for the everyday public life of urbanized areas. That program is land value taxation (LVT) . Initially, three communities will have the opportunity to apply for permission to use the program, with more to follow if LVT is proved successful.


What is LVT

Connections, Community and the Pursuit of the Commons

July 20, 2013 | By Jay Walljasper

At one point in my life, my neighbors and I were fighting battles on two fronts to protect our community. Our modest Kingfield neighborhood in Minneapolis was threatened on one side by the widening of a freeway, which would rip out scores of homes, and on the other side by the widening of an avenue, which would escalate traffic speeds on an already dangerous road.

How to Create Wealth: Monetary, Spiritual or Psychic

July 20, 2013 | By Jay Walljasper

One of the sharper satirical jabs in People, a recent play by the English writer Alan Bennett, occurs when a consortium of wealthy investors decides to purchase Winchester Cathedral. “I know it’s pricey,” says an absurdly practical-minded archdeacon, “but Winchester is such a good idea.” “Isn’t it?” replies the consortium’s smooth-as-silk agent.

How the Commons Can Make a Difference in One Community

July 10, 2013 | By Jay Walljasper

As part of On the Commons’ efforts to strengthen commons connections and reinvigorate public life in communities, I was invited to Winona, Minnesota—a city of 27,000 on the Mississippi River 135 miles south of Minneapolis. During a two-day residency sponsored by Winona State University, I met with the newly elected mayor, a city council member, the director of parks and recreation, business owners, citizen leaders and university students, and faculty and staff. I also spoke to four classes, participated in media interviews, and gave a public talk.

Commons Strategies Can Transform Your Hometown

July 10, 2013 | By Jay Walljasper

An Opportunity for Your Community


The time-proven practices of the commons can transform where we live and how we live, That’s why On the Commons focuses on Public Life & Placemaking and regularly visits communities for talks, workshops and residencies about strengthening community connections and opportunities.

How One Neighborhood Illuminates Our Hopes and Fears for the Future

July 9, 2013 | By Jay Walljasper

You may get a glimpse of our future by strolling the tree-lined streets of South Bend, Indiana, between the University of Notre Dame campus and downtown. That few people ever make that walk—too far, too slow, too dangerous—doesn’t diminish the importance of places like this in determining the fate of America and, perhaps, the earth.

Down on the Corner

July 9, 2013 | By Jay Walljasper

You may get a glimpse of our future strolling the tree-lined streets of South Bend, Indiana, between the University of Notre Dame campus and downtown. That few people ever make that walk—too far, too slow, too dangerous—doesn’t diminish the importance of places like this in determining the fate of America and, perhaps, the earth.

Our New eBook: How to Design Our World for Happiness

July 5, 2013 | By Jay Walljasper

We are witnessing a significant social shift in which people are rediscovering common connections and recognizing the collaborative power we share for strengthening our communities.


On the Commons documents these examples of the commons in action in our new guide to placemaking, public space and convivial living by Senior Fellow Jay Walljasper, who writes, speaks, and consults nationally about this emerging trend. CLICK HERE to download your free copy of How to Design Our World for Happiness.

How to Design Our World for Happiness

July 5, 2013 | By Jay Walljasper

We are witnessing a significant social shift in which people are rediscovering common connections and recognizing the collaborative power we share for strengthening our communities.

Rajendra Singh

Rehydrating India's Dry Rivers

June 24, 2013 | By Jay Walljasper

Rajendra Singh, founder of Tarun Bharat Sangh, (TBS, or Young India Association), always wanted to be a farmer. Bowing to family pressure, he studied to be a doctor of traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine and after school moved to the Alwyn district in the arid state of Rajasthan. Singh was not simply practicing medicine, he wanted to test some ideas about healing ecosystems.

Commoning Flourishes Around the Globe

June 24, 2013 | By Jessica Conrad

Last month we had the opportunity to attend the Economics and the Commons Conference in Berlin, where commoners from around the globe gathered to discuss the commons as a worldview and practical approach for addressing today’s most pressing problems.


At the conference we were inspired by the sheer number of people working to protect and advance the commons all around the globe, and we would like to highlight the breadth of the commons movement here.

The Huge Difference Between Republicans and Democrats

June 18, 2013 | By David Morris

One hopes that in next year’s elections, the stark evidence emerging from state capitols about the difference between the parties can lay the foundation for a nationwide debate on the purpose of government in American life.