Procomuns statement and policies for Commons Collaborative Economies at European level

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Procomuns statement and policies for Commons Collaborative Economies at European level

(Version 0.3 - May 2016)

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Source, contributors and more info at: Licensed as a collective work: Public Domain (For license and attribution related to icons, see note at the end of the document)


The Commons Collaborative Economy: Context

Collaboration means economy


Collaboration in achieving shared objectives and the provision of goods and services that meet the needs of the population and ensure a decent life is, or should be, the purpose of the economy.

The adoption of new information technologies and communication has greatly reduced coordination and collaboration transaction costs, generating a universe of new opportunities. If in other historical moments the reduction of these costs explains the emergence of the "traditional" firm as we know it, during the last three decades it has generated an explosion of collaborative activity mediated by Internet through new models of organization, where citizens collaborate supported by digital platforms and other cutting-edge technologies for the achievement of common goals.


Commons-based production (among communities who work for mutual and collective benefit under the principles of participation and shared governance, resulting in collective property or open access resources and services) is not new and has in fact been largely diffused in pre-capitalist societies. The 2009 Nobel Prize in Economics awarded to Elinor Ostrom for her studies on traditional commons can be regarded as an acknowledgement of the effectiveness of this economic model. Commons is a third model that breaks with the binomial market-state notion, formed -allegedly- by the only two organizational models able to meet the needs of the population. Although it is not new, new technologies have greatly promoted its expansion and its scalability, hence boosting the emergence of an economy of collaborative commons (where the commons are no longer bound to a specific place and time, but are interconnected thanks to the Internet).

The emergence of new cases

The most renowned and highly successful cases are Free Software (which dominates over proprietary software in many fields, including for example Internet servers) and Wikipedia (a global leader in terms of free knowledge and online participation), which demonstrated that the commons model can succeed and have more presence than traditional proprietary economic models in sectors where it operates. Commons production is growing rapidly, expanding not only in knowledge or immaterial fields, but also in the production of hardware (such as agricultural machinery, as in the Open Source Ecology project, or FabLabs and makerspaces), accommodation (the Couchsurfing network), design thinking (with examples like the DIY Toolkit) and shared parenting groups. These cases, among many others, are models of the commons development of products, resources and services.

Worldwide, and specially at European level1, there are thousands of examples of the development of this model, generating significant creative capital and innovative capacities, as well as great potential for the consolidation of a robust productive sector. In 2014, a study2 promoted by the European Commission pointed out various innovative experiences in this field, such as (a community infrastructure for wireless Internet access), the intelligent citizen kit "Smart citizen" (a device for citizens to share and control data) or (a leading civic microfinance platform).

Potential linked to the emergence of new decentralized technologies

To these already proven demonstrations of model efficiency and sustainability, we can add the most recent advances in new emerging blockchain technology (with its decentralized logic), opening new and very promising avenues for its expansion, through the future development of a collaborative commons economy.

What kind of economy do we want? Extractive and privative collaborative economy vs social, solidarity and commons economies

Recently, we have seen the emergence and growth of hybrid models that adopt the same ethos and present organizational rationales that are similar to the collaborative commons economic model, based on principles of collaboration, but which in turn -at the same time- privatize other aspects and layers (that are privately owned and which do not allow people who contribute to intervene in its governance model). This is the case of Uber and Airbnb, multinational corporations based in Silicon Valley, which behave in the style of the prevailing globalized capitalist economic model, based on extracting profits through networked collaboration.

In the context of a severe economic crisis, with social inequalities reaching disproportionate levels, an extremely serious environmental crisis and political transformation, a collaborative commons economy can add its potential to a cooperative, social and solidarity economy and provide an opportunity to transform the prevailing economic system. It can operate in synergy with an economy based on small and medium sized enterprises and cooperatives, more committed to covering the basic needs of the majority of the population and more inclusive and democratic in the distribution of profits. Moreover, it is based on a conception of technology that is free and transparent, on open knowledge and consumption and production models that could have less environmental impact, as well as greater reconciliation with a caring economy.

We mean collaborative commons economies that do not see the role of citizens-producers as an opportunity to benefit third parties or for the offshoring of profits, through digital platforms or services that convert their activity into economic value. Instead, we are talking about processes that are analogous to the principles of cooperativism and a social and solidarity economy, in addition to criteria of emancipatory governance, empowerment, equality and positive social impact, as well as the principles of -transparently and effectively- sharing tools and knowledge online.

The collaborative economy has been on the one hand readapted to a deepening process of economic models, driven primarily by profit and speculation (Internet as the new bubble, like real estate in the past), creating severe inequalities and loss of rights and, on the other hand, it is a reality that allowed the principles of a cooperative, social and solidarity economy to ascend and gain centrality, with great potential for economic transformation and innovative solutions for social and political exclusion problems, as well as environmental sustainability. It is time to choose what type of collaborative economy -and in the end what kind of economy- we want.

An economic model for a different economy: from privatization to commonification

The commons collaborative economy also represents a different public policy model. Organizational commons models can be an inspiration for public administrations, becoming more efficient and making better use of public resources, as well as opening new channels for the participation and activation of civil society in solving common problems and public needs through commons-private partnerships. It is a way of moving from prevailing privatization -within the globalization crisis cycle- to "commonification", through the involvement of citizens and democratic institutions in the provision and production of public goods and services, without having to fall into a private framework or state re-centralization, but via the activation of citizenship.

Public policies for the commons based collaborative economy

So far, the public debate has focused, on the one hand, on regulatory short term reactions to these platforms and, on the other hand, on the not less important issue of how to act or legislate against the tax avoidance and personal data malpractices of big digital economy players like Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Yahoo and Microsoft. However, alternative models with distinct economic implications, better rights’ protection and transformation potential have not reached the majority of people.

In fact, the more important the collaborative economy becomes, the more interest it is attracting from governments, also increasing the need for public administration positioning and regulation. In this sense, this statement is a call directed to the European Commission to intervene in defining and conducting -in an open and participatory way- policies in the field of collaborative economy.

Now is the time

We believe that on the part of government institutions it is time to define and advance the promotion of viable production and entrepreneurship alternatives, ones that fulfill the conditions for transparency and open resources as an engine of real progress, resilience and multiplication of opportunities. It is time for governments to act and stop the enclosure of knowledge and digital commons.

Now is the time to join and strengthen this type of collaborative economy, ignoring the one that is appropriating its name. Now is the time because the emerging role of cities and municipalities as operating systems of change is coming together, as well as the need to advance towards shared solutions against inequalities, participation in and with institutions, testing new formulas in which economic activity is understood in a holistic way and at the service of the people.

The Commons Collaborative Economy: what are we talking about?


Guiding principles

The guiding principles of the collaborative commons economy approach and the things we can do -therefore- in order to address the initiatives designed to promote and foster a collaborative economy (taking into account the different actors involved) would be:

What kind of economy?

  • One that seeks to provide a service or resource that is economically sustainable, without putting profit above the purpose of service or entering into speculative dynamics.
  • One that recognizes beyond monetary value through governance procedures adopted to ensure the control of value generated by users and community members.
  • One in line with company procedures related to the cooperative, social and solidarity economy, such as cooperative tradition and the third sector (e.g. foundations representing the community).
  • One which is attentive and responsible for externalities generated, both in terms of environmental and social reproduction.
  • One that includes principles of equality and justice in the development and distribution of work, focusing on the welfare of people in the governance of the community.

What kind of knowledge?

Open knowledge through the use of open licenses (such as Creative Commons licenses). One that seeks to promote access and reclaim the resources generated through public or collective ownership.

What kind of technology?

Technology options that favor the transparency, participation and freedom of citizens, taxpayers and users. In this sense, one based on free software, open standards and if possible decentralized architectures. In terms of software, free technology is that which allows you:

  • The freedom to use work and enjoy the benefits of using it.
  • The freedom to study work and apply the knowledge acquired from it.
  • The freedom to make and redistribute copies, in whole or in part, of information or expression.
  • The freedom to make changes and improvements, and to distribute derivative works.

Identifying features of the collaborative commons concept

Collaborative commons assures a more democratic economic organization, control over means of production and public access to resources. Rather than exclusive features or a unique formula -which can be summarized schematically as a collaborative commons economy-, projects usually have a combination of the four following significant elements (with respect to the production process, relationships and resources being established):

1. Collaborative production: an open and inclusive participatory process. Digital platforms or tools that involve some kind of interactive co-creation between people, for the generation and operation of new added value services or products, allowing contribution, sharing and peer production, freely and voluntarily (at best protecting the privacy and even anonymity of people).

2. "P2P" or peer relations: Encouraging co-creation in the context of an interactive community of users through relationships not mainly based on contractual, commercial or hierarchical factors, but fostering egalitarian relationships, empowerment and autonomous and / or decentralized participation.

  • In terms of motivation, this means a rich diversity of motivations for participation (not only monetary) and encouraging individual motivation, which may include cash (as a resource, compensation or consideration), as well as towards collective shared values, where relationships with other people contribute also to the commons.
  • In terms of community governance, this means enabling decision making regarding participatory and equitable mechanisms -whether centralized or decentralized-, enabling collaboration in the management and leadership of the project and its aims.

3. Common resources: to one degree or another, the process will generate assets collectively rather than through restrictive or exclusive access, which can be enjoyed, adapted or replicated even openly though digital licenses that often determine the degree of openness and rights, in order to conduct derivative works, as well as also accessing data.

  • Access: free access based on the user and service information that is generated by use, trade, consumption and/or production.
  • Appropriation: Sharing features, generating or reusing licenses, in order to allow derivative works to generate new economic opportunities and social capital (without causing damage).
  • Details: as a result of its evolution and activity, the data generated by projects based on the activity of participants is unrestricted, and instead of unethical or extractive uses (operating, selling, etc.), they are available as a more openly common good, promoting transparency.

4. Systemic added value: the results of collaborative commons economy projects can combine economic or monetary value (including marketing and compensation formulas) with a positive social impact and criteria based on governance and shared value management models (such as cooperatives, associations, foundations, etc). The contribution of commons to the common good is wide ranging. The collective multiplier effect will in the long term offer multiple solutions to societal challenges.

Although in a sense many examples of the collaborative economy we call "extractive" (like Uber and Airbnb) can -to some extent- fulfill the first two dimensions -that of collaborative production, and to some extent that of P2P relationships-, the collaborative commons economy (in cases like, Wikipedia, Goteo, etc) typically reaches beyond these first two dimensions with commons rationales, in terms of the resulting resources and value governance system.

Recommendations and general principles


The collaborative commons economy is a model and trend, which -as detailed below- can renew and reformulate the necessary policies to promote entrepreneurship and innovation as the engines of Europe while encouraging changes to its functioning mode as a key agent, as well as promoting its regions -as global leaders- to the outside world. Experiences in key cities -in the field of economy or the concept of collaborative commons-, such as Bologna, Bristol, Seoul, Barcelona or Quito can be examples to follow.

From the Barcola group (Barcelona Col·laborativa) and the collaborative peer production initiatives under its umbrella3, informed by the research developed by the group at IN3-UOC and the P2Pvalue European Project, in connection with the conference (March 2016 Barcelona, which had more than 400 participants), and as a result of an open parallel process of participation in the co-design of public policies, we ​​propose this set of recommendations, followed by specific measures:

General principles

  • Economic policy: To support SMEs following the rationale of a cooperative economy, social solidarity and the companies with production and consumption patterns which take care of the environment, social reproduction and which are inclusive. This means adapting business methods and the role of the citizen as a producer in the collaborative commons economy.
  • Technology policy: To support free and decentralized technologies.
  • Knowledge politics and innovation: To support open knowledge and ensure that innovation is funded by public funds available under free licenses.
  • Public policy (public administration / public services): To encourage the creation of partnerships between public administrations and the collaborative commons economy, within the strategy to move from privatization to "commonification".

1. Improving regulations

Regulatory approach:


* Administrations -when regulating collaborative economy initiatives- must take into account diverse models, differentiating the property that is generated and who benefits from it, in terms of the economic profitability and governance of the project, community or platform.

  • Proactivity when moving towards the establishment of criteria such as governance, opening data, value distribution, etc., in order to define which initiatives or projects can be considered commons-goods, taking into account that it cannot be a binary system, but a grading system. Taking as a reference social and solidarity economy and finance in ethical banking, where criteria are established through social balance tools.
  • Fostering (in its use by administrations and implementation in cities, with public funding for dissemination / training purposes) technologies that allow disintermediation and hinder capital accumulation and value extraction in a few hands.
  • To encourage new and more open standards, as well as ratios toward self-regulation: public administrations should take into account that whoever uses the service would, as a proactive citizen, perform assessments thereof.
  • Enable participatory processes for the regulation of the Collaborative Economy. To set the framework for leading experimental processes, where solutions come first and the setting of rules -for this innovative process- second (as has been done in Iceland with a housing contest, for example, and the urban regulatory law based on these solutions). Pilot mechanisms could be evaluated, changed and improved gradually by participants themselves.

Regulation for specific areas:

1.1 In legal subject terms:

  • To explore the practices worth replicating in the adoption and promotion of new legal subject forms ("peer cooperativism", "benefit corporation", social enterprises, etc.), adapted to the organizational rationale of the Commons model, which puts forward participatory governance, open production and a social mission, as well as environmental sustainability in economic activities.
  • Encourage Commons collaborative economy organizations bidding in public procurement.

1.2 In terms of the collaborative contributors to the economy:

  • Protect the figure of the "responsible citizen producer" as a new agent that generates economic and social commons, versus situations where it is penalized or banned by the pressure of "lobbies" or professional lobbyists.
  • Devise monetization regulatory standard mechanisms beyond the concept of salaried and freelance employment.
  • Reduce costs and facilitate the freelancer concept, for example where social benefits that are normally linked to a contract may instead be linked to the freelancing person.
  • To promote fair, respectful and non-exploitative working conditions, in terms of the time management and life of people who work on collaborative economy projects. Not to allow situations of labor exploitation and to promote working environments that are free of sexual harassment and gender gaps.
  • To ensure that collaborative economy projects implement effective measures to eliminate the gender pay gap.

1.3 In terms of digital platforms:

  • To apply measures in order make sure the terms of use and privacy policies are not abusive.

1.4 In terms of technological infrastructure and management of key services:

  • Telecommunications policy based on free competition (not on the control of large multinationals) and serving the public interest, so that it does not duplicate private infrastructures (financed largely by public funds). The infrastructure where public funding is involved must be open, free and neutral, and must cover the whole country, be deployed taking into account social and territorial benefaction criteria, based on the economy for the common good. In addition, existing infrastructure, regardless of the mode of management, should allow other operators universal access.
  • To promote laws that force companies that produce smartphones and similar technology to offer decent working conditions (with appropriate safety and training standards, without any forced or child labor, respecting regulations on work-day limits and wages, as well as trade union freedom) and foster transparency concerning suppliers and the conditions of extraction of minerals used (such as coltan, cobalt, tin, tungsten and gold), and not to benefit armed groups or feed wars.
  • Promote laws that encourage the reuse of technological devices, opposing planned obsolescence and other forms that prevent the maintenance, repair, expansion and upgrading of technological devices (e.g. manufacturing appliances that can be repaired without special tools, with expandable memory and with software that can be freely updated).
  • To change or adapt the regulatory framework so that the management of strategic services is not concentrated in a few hands, nor the governance of these taken away from citizens.
  • Laws to promote cloud computing services based on open source software, with policies that respect privacy and open standards, allowing us -if we use them correctly- to regain control over our activities, data, and communications (as well as how and with whom we interact and cooperate, with total freedom).
  • Take proper action in terms of legislative initiatives or complaints made by local authorities in relation to Internet services providing abusive terms and conditions, forcing people to accept their use.

1.5 In terms of new economic activity and participation in democratic governance

  • To defragment European policies relating to different framework programs. To coordinate the different areas of European policy linked to commons collaborative economies in order not to act separately (social policy, labor policy, political cooperation, sharing economy, open science, open education, industrial policy, public sector information , open data, etc). Sharing common programs transversally: in the digital, physical and cooperative fields.
  • To define protocols in order to identify different kinds of collaborative economies, to interconnect them through Regional Committees and other institutions of the Union.
  • Involving different types of public -and community- consultations regarding commons collaborative economies and their related fields, opening participation for the co-definition of actions, regulations, subsidies, etc.

2. Promoting incubation for new projects and initiatives in the collaborative commons economy

  • To create an incubator with a physical and technological infrastructure designed for commons, and facilitate access to resources for collective commons entrepreneurship, which -apart from the positive social impact- would promote viable projects meeting the criteria of openness, reusability, transparency, etc.
  • Review incubation models for innovative and current technology-based projects. To consider -more clearly- an alternative path to that of start-ups of extractive or proprietary collaborative economies, to promote the scalability of the collaborative commons production model. To encourage projects that contemplate a sustainable medium-term perspective and not those whose sole purpose is being acquired by a large firm.
  • Articulate a call to support existing experiences or pilot initiatives to cooperate with and rethink key existing local collaborative commons services available in the economy with a negative or controversial impact on cities.
  • The creation of collective entrepreneurship commons resources and experiences in conflict mediation to develop within this sector (informative materials, specific training, free tools, exchange of experiences, etc).
  • Adapting the services of key players such as public funded business incubators so that they can also play a key role in the promotion and support of new commons business initiatives, which will contribute to consolidate the proposed model.
  • Promoting a "House of Commons" public institution -linked to monitoring international experiences- as a space for commons self-organized open meetings, social networking, and support activities, associated with other excellence centers worldwide.
  • Enhancing infrastructure and local services which already exist or are at a developmental stage, such as FabLabs or “maker spaces”, to generate new employment models.
  • To facilitate services and infrastructures for the testing of prototypes created by "makers" and personal manufacturing movements, and adjust security and certification parameters to extend their use, replicating and / or using them in critical environments.
  • When giving support to collaborative economy projects, to include the implementation of co-responsibility and labor conciliation measures.
  • Help to create a “non-extractive” alternative to Airbnb. To distribute income, responsibility and control so that sustainable policies can be implemented on tourism, welcoming travelers, space use, impact on neighborhoods and buildings, etc. To study and regulate possibilities like cooperatives renting accommodation, a mandatory city platform for holiday accommodation and a local support platform to re-distribute the profits as a means of income for citizens.

3. Promoting existing formulas or enhancing new ones to finance commons initiatives

  • To explore alternative sustainability and scalability models to that of startups, based on the pursuit of maximum profits. To provide resources to new projects that promote the commons model and activate a different kind of entrepreneurship, with a positive social impact, but also based on openness and fair labor relations.
  • To redirect venture capital public funds to include criterias relating to a cooperative, social and solidarity economy, as well as free technologies and commons management.
  • Stimulate pilot experiences and boost the visibility of the commons collaborative economy to promote and attract impact capital (with the perspective of ethical finance) and other alternative financing mechanisms.
  • Enabling different channels and ways to justify public spending for government grants or other public calls -or contributions to commons projects- as costs and investments, such as -audited or auditable- monetary or non-monetary contributions.
  • To create a call to fund innovative pilot projects co-financed by a match-funding model, which in turn creates a “pool” for projects with commons criteria, ultimately combining individual crowdfunding with seed funding, multiplying each citizen’s input.
  • In the case of alternative currencies or time banks promoted by public institutions, to ensure that personal contributions to commons collaborative economy projects count in order to have differential treatment in accessing them.
  • To work on the progressive taxation -and fight against tax evasion- of large corporations.
  • Encourage the use of social and alternative currencies.
  • Basic income not only ensures dignified living conditions, but also the ability to contribute individually to the commons project.
  • To coordinate the financing -especially of structural funds- related to commons collaborative economies.
  • To create a line of action regarding the commons economy, including a credit line for commons in the Juncker Commission.
  • To allocate within the European Commission a software budget for the development and promotion of open source solutions (putting into practice what is promoted).
  • To empower the financing of already existing communities which are developing software platforms related to collaborative economy communities, commons and / or open source technologies. To review the current situation of new creation platforms which weaken the efforts already made, and which may not have an assured continuity or sustainability).
  • To promote the creation of associations, cooperatives and companies adopting ethical models of shared ownership (Fairshares ownership). For example, encouraging meta-cooperative networks in each regional area and / or proximity in order to work as inter-related collaborative economy ecosystems (combining cooperatives, foundations, non-profit institutions, financing platforms and crowdfunding of commons, covering different fields and social needs).

4. Adopting or reassigning the use of spaces and other public infrastructures for this sector

  • Help mapping underutilized public resources in order to support pilot projects and make them available to communities under commons access and community management.
  • Enable joint management of workspaces and empty premises for work and development of collaborative commons production projects, facilitating mobility, the sharing and promotion of sector professionals and stakeholders.
  • Promote pilot projects to enhance the ability of citizens to use public infrastructure, such as potential city markets for citizens to exchange goods.
  • Reinforce policy scalability and promotion, in which the public administration provides technological and ad hoc physical infrastructure (following the model of FabLabs) in order to create spaces for production, exchange and learning.
  • Encourage collaborative frameworks on underutilized resources such as computers or reusable fiber conduits.
  • To consider the use of infrastructure and local areas as a key element in the fight against the digital gap and neighborhood inequality, promoting a better understanding of the commons collaborative economy as users / clients.
  • Promote spaces for positive action to combat gender inequality in the commons economy: digital divide, promoting the leadership of women, support for joint initiatives, support for projects developed by women, training on gender equality and feminist economics.
  • Public investment in machinery for digital manufacturing, with flexible machinery access management. Open source hardware accelerators. Tool libraries.
  • To promote “object libraries” as a commons-based service / initiative for sharing tools, hardware, etc.
  • To promote the reuse of unused computer equipment from government institutions, considering existing initiatives -such as, for example- in terms of joining or replicating them. To find ways to offer them in places where they are needed, for example in homes where there are no computers.
  • To make "hosting" spaces and city council web hosting platforms available, allowing source code sharing so that it can be used for other commons-oriented initiatives.
  • To adjust and / or extend the scope of local or city council consumer information offices taking into account the services offered by existing commons collaborative economy business models.
  • Enabling free network access as a form of administrative compliance with the right to know act (art. 25 UDHR, art 15 ICESCR). This action should be followed by public policies addressed to educating sectors of the population facing socioeconomic difficulties, allowing them to benefit from digital infrastructures.
  • To enable the migration of public services hardware (e.g. underground, tram and bus ticket machines) towards an open design system, carrying out transition plans and partnerships with other cities.
  • To make FabLabs and makerspaces more accessible to home economics, focusing on children and mothers / fathers -and not only on amateur or "advanced" professionals-, in order to influence these sectors of the population.

5. Change of internal administrative operations on some fronts linked to commons

Open source software

  • Encourage public administrations to adopt (and contribute to) an open technology policy, such as the use of free software and open licenses.
  • To check all hardware acquisitions (computers, phones, peripherals, antennas, etc.), as they may work with open source system drivers and / or software.
  • Compliance with open standards.
  • As a general rule, public administrations should not develop software or web platforms if there are already projects and / or other communities developing them. Instead, they should become involved in open source projects by providing assistance and resources.
  • As a transitional measure, public administrations should start using open source social networking platforms and open Internet services and / or distributing them in parallel to those already being used, as well as informing citizens that they can use, follow or interact through them.
  • In case of purchasing proprietary software, to simultaneously invest in improving commons alternatives. As a first step, the transition towards the widespread use of free technology in public administrations should balance the budget percentages spent on private (licenses, training, etc) and open source software (development, adaptation, training).

Public tenders

  • Incorporate the prosocial evaluation of tenders and contribute to dismantling patronage networks, making it possible for commons projects to choose a public contest. Gather positive points in its assessment of this fact -understood as a commons asset (productive tools shared)-, thus making better use of public money.
  • Reconsider hiring priorities in public institutions, according to the requirements, choosing commons free licensed products and services -rather than proprietary-, in addition to those being produced by social enterprises or cooperatives (and ensuring that these criteria additionally include the commons vision).
  • To implement socially responsible public procurement in order to ensure transparency in the supply chain of electronic equipment acquired, and independently verify that they meet the main conventions on human and labor rights during the execution of any public contract.


  • Facilitate transversal projects, inviting different departments to collaborate towards common goals.
  • In terms of citizen participation and management, all areas of the city council must be ready to support it -changing if necessary the way they operate-, to promote legislative changes in order not to hinder it. Experiences may become legislative, regulatory or organizational prototypes designed to identify needed improvements.


  • Revision of the regional public communication systems and technology privatization processes, in order to reverse these processes to the extent possible.


  • As a general rule, to solve the city needs instead of creating policy guidelines directed from the council, allowing citizens to provide solutions in a self-organized and decentralized manner, with the principles and shared rules of an operational community, and with the shared ownership of common assets and capabilities.
  • As a general rule, public administrations should support communities, commons and / or existing free technologies rather than replacing them within the administration, promoting the consolidation or creation of self-managing communities -enabling them to be autonomous- and ensuring the respect for commons ethical issues and work.
  • Stimulating the use and collaborative consumption of public resources and infrastructure between individuals. Flexible protocols that promote access (both among governments and civil society) and the most efficient public infrastructure usage (use of spaces or cars while not being used) with a view to a more efficient and environmentally friendly consumption model.
  • Promote best practices and examples of digital communication and coordination between public institutions and the public sector in relation to the commons collaborative economy, promoting mutual trust.
  • Conduct a pilot scheme in which public bodies and governments use community actors or services as commons companies, such as infrastructures for digital communication.
  • Provide cities and regions with protocols that allow initiatives for the care and coverage of basic needs in common spaces.
  • To promote public administrations as power generators, in agreement with consumer cooperatives or similar forms of organizations so that they can produce their own energy, locally.

Transparency, innovation and open processes

  • Promote the generation of official documents on economic issues, with Creative Commons licenses to contain a visible explanation, without any restriction in terms of content use / reuse. This horizon can generate a trend in informational materials, business plans and other publishing formats, helping to standardize practices.
  • Build a commons citizens’ knowledge and competence excellence center, helping people to be more self-sufficient and encourage co-production among commons.
  • To study the introduction of mechanisms based on "blockchain" technology and its medium-term and long-term effects on civil service, the reduction of bureaucracy, democratic participation and massive consensus approach.

6. Combat malpractice and corruption in government policy in the field of technology and knowledge

  • Mandatory registration of meetings and contacts with lobbyists and lobbyists representing the economic interests of large telecommunications and technology services corporations.
  • Measures against the “revolving door” effect -in terms of staff- between big corporations and regulatory telecommunications bodies and the collaborative economy.
  • Privacy policy interventions to ensure transparency and privacy rights in data transmission platform administrations.
  • As a form of empowerment against all malpractices in the technological field, to promote the creation of a consumers’ / users’ association or entity, with experts supporting the setting of references and rates of digital applications, according to several criteria, with the aim of facilitating sound decision making: user experience, easiness and cost of switching, privacy, security, sustainability, use of open standards, etc.

7. Assistance in the promotion of cities and neighbourhoods to bring their economies and other related sectors closer

  • Helping to create spaces and tools that promote good communication between cities, neighborhoods and districts in order to convey experiences within public commons collaborative production (to combat the current view generated by actors implementing the extractive model, disassociated from the common good).
  • Promote a network of open spaces -such as FabLabs and maker spaces- and educational programs focused on repair, reutilization and economic incentives.
  • Supporting joint activities and enhancing the visibility of this sector, social solidarity and the cooperative economy, as well as helping to create and strengthen the links between these areas, simultaneously.
  • Support actions to break the isolation between communities and practices, where networks like the collaborative economy, open source circular economy and solidarity economy contribute to a greater extent in the sector.
  • Promote dialogue with predominant collaborative corporate economy actors to try to influence the neo-liberal appropriation of collaborative practices, also adding productive and local enterprising networks.
  • Promote collaborative clusters of companies and research centers that are committed to building and sharing code and design knowledge under free and open licenses.
  • To promote a network of open manufacturing spaces, such as FabLabs, makerspaces, libraries, community centers and other municipal bodies or educational programs with municipal participation, focusing on economic recovery, reuse and stimulus.
  • To create employment plans where young people teach about software and open source technologies at retirement homes, libraries and other city centers, with the goal of course attendants becoming free and technologically autonomous citizens.
  • To promote -at a local level- the migration towards open source software and open hardware technologies, as well as open source web services, distributed in an ethical way; not (only) for individuals but for groups of people, communities, social groups, friendship groups or families, public administrations, companies and working teams, through municipal action in different areas.
  • Promote shops and "marketplaces" for free and decentralized apps.
  • To identify European pre-digital and non-technological communal practices and contribute to their recognition by institutions.
  • To take advantage of public and community-based training initiatives in order to face potential challenges and social needs (projects, work, interventions); for example, between schools and cultural centers by promoting inclusive toys. To connect programs cities already have: educational, repairing and recycling.
  • To promote meta-cooperative organizations in regions as ecosystems of collaborative inter-related economies, combining cooperatives, foundations, non-profit entities and financing platforms, as well as crowdfunding for commons.
  • To create a local community compensation system for companies, individuals and organizations in order to benefit from using the public resources offered by public administrations.
  • To develop a collaborative network in cities, regions and countries that are close to repair stores, garages, hardware stores, as well as other small businesses and existing facilities, establishing training, coordination and incentives policies in order to include them in the production and asset recovery stages, with open and free technologies and knowledge.
  • Promoting the integration, collaboration and scalability of the sector (enabling the mutualization of resources, providing shared services and facilitating innovation in a decentralized way). To promote regions favorable to the commons system.
  • "Harm reduction" - sectoral reorganization planning for actors affected by the economic model change, for those cases where the collaborative option is an alternative to services coming from traditional models.

8. Expand city brands in terms of the external visibility of local initiatives

  • Promoting an attractive label linked to the "City’s commons model": a bottom-up model designed to enrich local values (as opposed to the model imported from Silicon Valley), doing so from a commons (prosocial) and abundant approach.
  • Promoting organic, social, repairable - with no planned obsolescence- , transparent, open and free source product seals.
  • Raising awareness about the real cost of things. For example, in the case of non-organic agriculture, not to think only about production costs, bearing in mind the cost of soil or aquifer decontamination.
  • Strengthen the international "commons city model" incorporating commons experiences into cooperation policy and national/international alliances of City Councils.
  • Creating an international awards pilot scheme for collaborative commons production experiences, recognizing commons citizen "producers".
  • Establishing collaborative networks among cities and / or commons (eg, Seoul, Amsterdam, Bologna, Bristol, Barcelona) to strengthen coalitions that can promote technical solutions, associating with other municipalities while focusing on European public policy issues.
  • To follow and cooperate with other places in the world where different commons collaborative economy initiatives are being promoted, in order to replicate or adapt successful projects.
  • Strengthen and develop agreements with communities involved in the dissemination of free knowledge -such as Wikipedia-, which enable the collaborative enhancement of knowledge within institutions.

9. Making sure investments in major technological events contribute to promoting local commons

  • Promoting conferences and major events in cities to give visibility and support to the collaborative commons economy, ensuring the promotion of open technology and local commons experiences.
  • Important events -at a municipal level- have to increase the visibility of commons initiatives through the assignment of public spaces and times for city council stands, promoting events and activities in order to build positive feedback on local commons services.
  • Promoting "satellite" events in parallel to major events, where commons communities and actors present alternatives in order to help achieve change.

10. Encourage and support the research and understanding of this phenomenon in order to move forward

  • To create the conditions to generate a report on Europe’s capabilities regarding the regulation and promotion of the collaborative commons economy (identifying and analyzing relevant sectoral regulations and the availability of resources), in line with the promotion regulations and policies of various countries.
  • Promoting research in this field at a European level and improving the available knowledge, in addition to producing more studies with strong empirical support, implementing open data practices and sharing them as a common good, allowing in-depth and prospective analysis.
  • Building a knowledge and competence hub of open source and free software, mapping and creating synergies with "expert" and developmental resources in the city.
  • To support demographic sectoral studies conducted by different actors -with presence in regions and neighbourhoods-, based on values ​​linked to this model and other related fields (education, tourism, employment, leisure, etc.).
  • To promote research in this sector, reverting its present state of disregard, moreover promoting the generation and study of data, as an open and shared common good. To promote in depth and trend forecast analysis.
  • To promote big data research and modeling on what is and will be the qualitative, quantitative and economic impact of collective action on the various commons - and how it impacts the spending of taxpayer money.
  • To study the work division’s role in terms of gender, the invisibility of reproductive work and care, the role played by gender in leadership and collaboration in the organizations within the collaborative and cooperative economy.
  • To study and make proposals regarding the technological, cultural and economic boundaries affecting opportunities in order for citizens to become a part of the collaborative economy -adopting and undertaking it-, as well as checking if there is a danger of technological or corporate elitism, and specifying how it could be avoided.
  • To study the new scenario where there are a few products susceptible to being monetized. Where do the resources to produce them come from? To find out how to pay for them through public administrations or communally. To study the role played by basic income and its financing possibilities if business profits are eventually low.
  • To study cooperatives from a commons point of view and establish whether they can be considered labor commons or other kinds of commons.
  • To provide open access to public data on economic and social aspects, entrepreneurship, support actions, results, etc. (always respecting privacy regulations).
  • To promote citizen science. To promote the open participation of citizens in both the data collection and observation of phenomena and their treatment, processing, interpretation and diagnosis, while generating proposals for action.
  • To promote and support frequent meetings about commons, collaborative economy, culture, knowledge and free technologies; it iwould also be useful to analyze, discuss, evaluate and generate proposals, such as meeting, sobtec, Free Culture Forum, Ouishare, Cultura Viva, etc.
  • To define criteria regarding what can be considered a transforming economy, taking into account social and solidarity economy experiences as well as collaborative economies. When is it commons solidarity and when is it “collaborative capitalism”? And when does this distinction make sense?
  • To organize working groups and other mechanisms for an in-depth reflection, and develop a broad perspective on the implications and potential of the collaborative commons model, bringing the main conclusions to the council.
  • Universities and R&D: conditioning of public funding linked to the open publishing of scientific results and data generated. Promotion of papers, databases and repositories with open access to scientific results. Promotion of measures to transfer knowledge to society.

11. Education and digital gap: Measures to fight against the digital and learning gap

  • To promote learning materials explaining "commons" in schools and also facilitate “commons observatories” in educational and pedagogical environments.
  • To design an educational plan regarding commons in three different areas (civil society, public representatives and servants, and students) that includes, among others: definitions of commons, teaching from commons (using commons tools), property and data processing (knowledge and extractive model analysis), models and long-term effects of self-organization without officialdom ("blockchain"), technological tools and privacy.
  • To support existing initiatives working on the education of -and by- commons.
  • To launch educational services based on non-commercialized data, preserving the privacy of teachers and children, also allowing schools and teachers to participate in the system’s governance. To study existing technologies and services that meet these criteria and whether they can be applied directly, improved, replicated, or whether versions or "forks" can be made, adapting them or developing new ones.
  • To create, promote and / or support platforms or mechanisms between platforms in order to share the resources available for public policies on education and training for commons at a European level, being both transnational and multilingual (e.g. Commons Transition project).
  • To spread the open source software and technology of public mass media and local broadcasting channels. To encourage the media to use open solutions in terms of content production and informative communication through social networks.
  • To create, promote and / or support libraries, repositories and databases regarding information about open source software, courses, etc. with a maintenance system based on the model.
  • Education Consortiums and other umbrella organizations in the sector should lead the implementation of services that can replace the massive use of Google Drive and GMail in public education. To design a strategy to migrate and explore ways to collaborate with Education Departments and other education-related Government institutions.

Closing notes

Date of this versión: Barcelona, May 2016

Attribution license for the icons used in the document: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 ( By Meaghan Hendricks, Gregor Črešnar, Dan Hetteix, DANT, Five by Five, Creative Stall, Björn Andersson, useiconic, Nicholas Menghini, Thibault Geffroy, Loïc Poivet, Vicons Design.