Solidarity University launches Commons mapping project

Via Andreas Exner:

The working group “Vivir bien” of the “Solidarity University” has already developed an online-tool for mapping commons & solidarity economy (as a commons-based way of production).

More precisely, Flo Lederman programmed a very promising tool – it is not online yet, but you can get invited if you are interested in co-developing the tool. And he and others filled already about 50 entries into the database.

More info via [email protected]


Vivir Bien records solidarity economies and commons. The goal is building linkages between such resources for a non-capitalist mode of living and producing. This is necessary for an alternative to capitalism.


Vivir Bien compiles initiatives and structures that are outside the scope of profit-based capitalist logic. We call such initiatives and structures “resources”. The framework used should be as broad as possible. Vivir Bien provides a platform for activities based on different theoretical concepts and labels. We focus on two approaches in particular: solidarity economies and commons.

Solidarity economies are characterized by self-management (without top- down management), egalitarian cooperation (without authoritarian hierarchies) and a demand-driven (as opposed to profit-driven) orientation. In an ideal situation, they contribute to the livelihood of participants. Solidarity economies encompass self-managed enterprises, non-profit enterprises, gift economy and organizations or initiatives that foster such approaches. Social entrepreneurship and social economy are in the middle ground between solidarity economy, in its strictest sense, and conventional economy.

Commons are resources and services that are owned collectively by a community of users, who develop them and protect them from overuse and privatization. Examples are: digital commons (e.g. free software, knowledge) and natural commons (e.g. land, water). Commons also includes self- managed means of production in a solidarity economy.

Our objective in compiling data on solidarity economy and commons is to make „hidden economies? visible. These are the starting points for the development of non-capitalist modes of life and production within capitalism. To establish a real alternative based on these starting points, solidarity economy and commons must develop material linkages by means of mutual cooperation. In order to do this, markets must undergo radical transformation or be completely replaced without recourse to state planning.

Furthermore, it is possible to map projects of the conventional economy ? either because they display emancipatory features (e.g. feminism), or because they serve as examples for problematic or even threatening developments (e.g. privatization of public services or surveillance infrastructures).

Another possible approach is to map projects in the conventional economy – either because they display emancipatory attributes (e.g. feminism), or because they serve as negative examples of problematical developments or even threats (e.g. the privatization of public services, surveillance cameras). “

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