Who doesn’t want an Urban Commons cookbook? Help support this project by pitching to their Kickstarter page. The following was written by Mary Dellenbaugh-Losse, founding member of the Urban Research Group and co-editor of the Urban Commons Cookbook.
Mary Dellenbaugh-Losse: Dear friends of the urban commons,
As some of you already know, a few members of the Urban Research Group are hard at work on a follow-up publication to “Urban Commons: Moving beyond State and Market.” The Urban Commons Cookbook will combine the theoretical framework set out in the 2015 publication with real-world insights, usable tips, and tested methods for creating and maintaining commons from real urban commons projects. The result will be a practical handbook which can inform actors from the civil society and politics alike.
In order to develop a high-quality, low-cost product, we will be running a Kickstarter campaign from February 12th through March 9th. Upon completion, a barrier-free PDF of the book will be freely available for download (Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 3.0 license) and hard copies will be available for a nominal fee via print-on-demand.
We would very much appreciate it if you could spread the word about the Kickstarter and the project through your networks. I’m attaching texts for blogs and social media to this email, along with a copy of the exposé for those of you who want more information on the project.
About the campaign
Urban commons are everywhere – but how can projects benefit from each others’ experiences?
Urban commons – new ways of managing and ensuring access to a wide variety of resources in cities – are increasingly the focus of political, academic, and urban development discussions. Many useful theories, methods, and case study collections are being developed above all on the academic level – however, this information often does not reach activists, community leaders, local politicians, or other interested parties on the ground. The Urban Commons Cookbook seeks to bridge this gap. The Urban Commons Cookbook will combine the theoretical framework set out in the 2015 publication “Urban Commons: Moving beyond State and Market” with real-world insights, usable tips, and tested methods for creating and maintaining commons from real urban commons projects. The result will be a practical handbook which can inform actors from the civil society and politics alike.
The core of the cookbook will be made up of interviews with commons projects across a broad spectrum of resource types and locations. The interviews will focus on the projects’ experiences – which ingredients and structures made their commons project possible? What challenges arose and how did they deal with them? What was critical to success and which lessons would they pass on to projects just starting out?
These real-world experiences will be supplemented with a clear and reader-friendly introduction to commons theory and a range of practical methods for starting a project, dealing with internal & external challenges, creating visibility and impact, and building trust and community.
About us: This project was initiated by Mary Dellenbaugh-Losse, co-author of “Urban Commons: Moving beyond State and Market.” Mary had been toying with the idea of a follow-up publication about urban commons for a wider audience when she met Nils-Eyk Zimmermann, co-author of “The Initiative Cookbook,” who was looking to get more experience with commons. And thus the idea for the Urban Commons Cookbook was born! It’s been a long and productive planning process full of countless cups of coffee. We’re excited that the project is finally moving forward and very motivated by the positive resonance we’ve gotten so far!
Specifications and distribution: Once completed, a barrier-free PDF of the book will be freely available for download; hard copies will be available for a nominal fee to offset printing costs via print-on-demand. We expect the book to be about 100 A5 pages. It will be written in English with a journalistic writing style which is accessible for people of different backgrounds and a large number of graphic elements (infographics, diagrams, photos) in order to be visually interesting. The intended audience includes activists, policy makers, district managers, and educators. We expect publication in fall 2018.
All about the money: We have turned to crowdfunding in order to develop a high-quality, low-cost product without engaging in precarious work practices. Our goal of 3,500€ reflects the minimum we need to cover our costs – anything above and beyond will go to funding our further work on commons.
Thanks for stopping by and for your support!
More information at http://www.urbancommonscookbook.com
Risks and challenges
Every publication comes with its own set of challenges – we learned that while writing Urban Commons: Moving beyond State and Market. But this experience also means that the editor team has a good track record of cooperation and open communication.
We’ve done our homework about print-on-demand, the case studies we’d like to interview, and groups we’d like to network with. All that’s left is to write the book!