The Transition Design Design Discussion Page

The purpose of this page is to encourage themed discussions around questions relating to transition design. Topics will change on a regular basis and be archived and accessible. Responses, comments and relevant web links are invited, regardless of background or expertise. Articles relating to the current discussion topic are being posted on the Transition Design Facebook Page, https://www.facebook.com/transitiondesigncmu, and it is hoped that these will inform the discussion.

What is Design’s Role in Amplifying the Commons? 11.05.2015

Moderated by Dimeji Onafuwa, Phd Researcher, School of Design, Carnegie Mellon University.

‘The commons’ refer to resources that are shared or generated by a group of people. Historically, and in many cultures, the commons have been at the heart of complex economies that over generations have helped individuals and communities co-operate in the creation of their livelihoods and of their social and cultural practices, without degrading their natural environments. The process of ‘commoning’ is guided by collective benefit rather than self-interest, and it empowers communities and challenges centralizing institutions. Furthermore, in fostering non-commodified forms of exchange, commons challenge conventional, neo-liberal economics. To the extent that the commons require the ongoing collaboration and participation of individuals in a process of ‘commoning’, they embody a democratic and consensual way of being in the world, and to the extent that the commons balance long and short-term interests, ‘commoning’ becomes a practice of stewardship. The concept of the commons and the practice of ‘commoning’ are currently undergoing an historically important renaissance, and design has the potential to play key role in this phenomenon.

What is design’s role in amplifying the commons? And in so, doing how can it help transition us to towards a form of society in which the commons play a vital role?

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