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An eco system for commons

A new platform brings people together for an alternative production method

Commons represent a production method whereby people join forces to start a productive activity, such as joint management of forests, lakes and irrigation channels. In more recent examples, we have seen citizens join forces to produce anything from food to energy, as well as a joint focus on mobility, accommodation and safety. Commons are an intrinsically circular production method. They are on the rise, but given the high communication demands, they are still quite rare. However, the ICT revolution offers plenty of opportunities in this view. This pilot garden aims to explore these opportunities through a digital platform. This platform should serve as a prototype for a commons ecosystem. In the long run, this could lead to a fully-fledged integration of commons into the economy.

Academic research into new economic interaction methods. Rethinking the role of advertising agencies in the circular economy. An ecosystem for commons as a first step towards a fully-fledged integration of the concept in the economy. This project is part of academic research conducted by the economist and philosopher Dr Rogier De Langhe (Ghent University) into new economic interaction methods. To this day, few economists see commons as a valid alternative production method. The traditional models based on industrial production in a vertical, hierarchical organisational structure cannot be blindly applied to the horizontal commons context. The challenge is to clearly highlight the intrinsic potential of commons for the economy, mankind and society, with respect for the unique characteristics of commons.

A platform can only be successful if it is used, but it is only used if it actually works. To tackle this chicken-and-egg problem, a platform needs to be kick-started until it reaches beyond the critical point. This pilot project represents that kick-start. Thanks to a strong focus on a small yet diverse group, the project can quickly reach a critical mass, setting an example for what can be achieved elsewhere. The main variable for the success of a platform is not the financial investment, but rather the users’ adoption rate.