Urban commons are resources in the city that are managed by the users in a nonprofit-oriented and prosocial way. They go by many names, from grassroots activism to community-led initiatives, but are united by two main characteristics. First, they are managed by the users through a collective, participatory process of accessing, managing, and developing the resource called commoning. Second, commons projects measure value based on how their use for community members, rather than measuring them by their ability to generate profit. The process of commoning creates added social benefit for the commoners, the city, and society as a whole, and increases social resilience.
The eight case studies in The Urban Commons Cookbook provide a wealth of information about the nuts and bolts of day-to-day life in a commons project. Each one tells its own local story but they are also united by eight shared challenges and strategies for succeeding in the world of the urban commons: