Ostrom in the city

Design principles and practices for the urban commons

Authored by: Sheila R. Foster , Christian Iaione

Routledge Handbook of the Study of the Commons

Print publication date:  January  2019
Online publication date:  January  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138060906
eBook ISBN: 9781315162782
Adobe ISBN:


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If cities are the places where most of the world’s population will be living in the next century, as is predicted, it is not surprising that they have become sites of contestation over use and access to urban land, open space, infrastructure, and culture. The question posed by Saskia Sassen in a recent essay—Who Owns the City?—is arguably at the root of these contestations and of social movements that resist the enclosure of cities by economic elites (Sassen 2015). One answer to the question of who owns the city is that we all do. In our work we argue that the city is a common good or a “commons”—a shared resource that belongs to all of its inhabitants, and to the public more generally.

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