Commons or communal goods – can we take care of them in the 21st century?

Lecture: Zofia Łapniewska PhD (UJ), moderator: Przemysław Wielgosz (LMD-PL)

Material and non-material commons on which our survival and quality of life depends, albeit so crucial, have been disregarded by economists for decades. Elinor Ostrom, laureate of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel in 2009, devoted her first research to underground water reservoirs, and subsequent – to many shared natural resources around which local communities organised. Today, when the space around us shrinks, we notice that these goods are threatened while both standing against logging in primeval forests and developers awaiting a chance to snatch our park or other green spaces.  We see them also in research institutes and universities where the privatization by big corporations endangers the collectively created vision. The same phenomenon for a while now has applied to the cultural heritage. The commons have become a tasty morsel for capitalism in crisis, and the situation paradoxically makes us aware that their behaviour constitutes a foundation of every society. But alongside protecting the already existing commons we can also create them ourselves – by building urban farms or joining the circular economy. What could 21st-century cities look like if we actively shaped them with available tools (e.g. participatory budgets)? What the COVID-19 pandemic teaches us and what should we see to in particular? We will try to answer these and other questions, based on examples from all over the world and projections for the future.


The meeting will be held in the Biennale Warszawa venue at 34/50 Marszałkowska Street (MA3450). The participation is free, but the number of places is limited and prior registration is required (open until 17.09.2020). Please register via the application form available on our website. Kindly provide a short justification (up to 1000 characters including spaces) which we will use to select the participants who will be informed via e-mail.

Due to the pandemic sanitary regime, the number of places is severely limited. Therefore, we would like to ask that only people certain they will attend register for the event. Thank you.

Both the meeting and the subsequent discussion will be recorded.

We will be streaming the event online on our YouTube and Facebook channels.

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