Reclaiming the Commons

Ithaca Carshare

Ithaca Carshare increases community access to reliable transportation while reducing the negative environmental and economic impacts of car use.  To do so, the nonprofit provides its members with 24/7 self-serve access to fuel-efficient cars, a minivan, and a truck.  In 2017, Carshare had 1,416 members who accessed vehicles that averaged 33 miles per gallon, which is 29 percent above the national average.

Ithaca Freeskool

Aiming to equalize the distribution of knowledge and confidence and build community self-reliance, Ithaca Freeskool is a platform for free classes, discussion groups, skill shares, projects, and events.  In 2017, Ithaca Freeskool offered over 65 community member led classes, including Restaurant Startup Basics, Seed Saving 101, Starting a Triple Bottom Line B Corporation, and Beginner Belly Dancing.


Launched in 2012 from its broadcast studio in Ithaca, WRFI is a community-owned and operated radio station serving Tompkins and Schuyler Counties.  The station aims to cultivate and promote programs that share local and underrepresented perspectives and that reflect six core values:  peace, justice, sustainability, freedom of expression/cultural diversity, integrity, and joy.  As an organization primarily powered by volunteers, the station is also committed to training community members in the craft of radio, and its training has spurred several people into professional radio careers.

It’s Time for a Public Option in the Pharmaceutical Industry

Dana Brown and Thomas Hanna
In These Times

Dana Brown, Thomas M. Hanna of the Democracy Collaborative write for In These Times on "It’s Time for a Public Option in the Pharmaceutical Industry." In this op-ed, Brown and Hanna, highlight TDC work in public ownerhsip and the need for "drugs for the public good:

Trump Is Handing Us the Weapon We Need to Avert Climate Catastrophe

Johanna Bozuwa and Carla Skandier

Democracy Collaborative staff, Johanna Bozuwa and Carla Skandier, write in Truthout about "Trump Is Handing Us the Weapon We Need to Avert Climate Catastrophe." In this article, Bozuwa and Skandier write about the research started about nationalization and climate change: 

Railroad Park

Built on Birmingham’s vacant Railroad Reservation—a large plot of land in the center of Birmingham set aside for the city’s railroads and related industries—Railroad Park is a free, 19-acre city-owned park featuring play areas, an outdoor gym, trails, three skate bowls, and numerous water features.  Although the idea to develop the park was conceived in the 1970s, construction only began in 2007, and the first phase finally opened in 2010.  The $25 million redevelopment project has been credited with restoring civic pride and serving as an economic catalyst for the surrounding area.

Radio Tacoma

Receiving its FCC license in October of 2017, Radio Tacoma is a low-power FM station developed to provide Tacoma residents with the opportunity for participatory democracy.  The station aims to offer a voice for Tacoma’s progressive groups, union members, minority groups, and local talent that might otherwise not be heard.

ForeverGreen Trails

ForeverGreen Trails aims to develop a safe, convenient, non-motorized trail system that connects all of the communities within Pierce County.  To do so, the group promotes coordinated policy, direction, and priorities for trail plan implementation and advocates for financial and technical resources to design and construct trails.  To nurture and celebrate residents’ use and support of area trails, ForeverGreen coordinates an annual Trails Day and has an awards program to recognize both people and organizations that have made significant, tangible contributions to trail development.

Radio Free Nashville

Radio Free Nashville is a local radio station owned and operated by the community that features a variety of music, news, and talk shows.  Community members create and run the programs, and are responsible for all aspects of the operation.  To ensure all community members can participate, training is provided free of charge to people interested in programming or operating the station.  To date, over 140 community members have been trained, 90 of whom are currently on the air.

Reclaiming Public Services

Satoko Kishimoto, Olivier Petitjean and Lavinia Steinfor
The Transnational Institute

This new report from the Transnational Institute (TNI) explores how localities across the globe are fighting privatization through the “re-municipalization” of goods and services. Drawing on 835 examples in 45 countries, the report finds that public ownership offers greater efficiency, affordability, and democratic control in sectors ranging from healthcare to energy. The report synthesizes trends in public ownership and includes detailed infographics on the findings. 


Re-imagining Value: Insights from the Care Economy, Commons, Cyberspace and Nature

Heinrich Boil Foundation and David Graeber

What is “value” and how shall we protect it?  It’s a simple question for which we don’t have a satisfactory more

New Haven Land Trust

Founded in 1982, the New Haven Land Trust nurtures a healthier community and environment by engaging area residents in the stewardship and cultivation of land.  The nonprofit provides land, technical assistance, and supplies to nearly 50 community gardens.  It also owns 6 nature preserves—comprising about 80 acres of land—from which it run environmental education programs.

Online Platforms for Exchanging and Sharing Goods

Anders Fremstad
Economics for Equity and the Environment Network

This case study evaluates the economic, social, and environmental effects of three online platforms. Craigslist provides an online market for local secondhand goods such as vehicles, furniture, appliances, and electronics. Couchsurfing matches travelers with hosts around the world who welcome guests into their homes. NeighborGoods helps people borrow and lend household goods free of charge. Together these case studies provide an overview of the role of online platforms as future economy initiatives. 

Cylburn Arboretum

Free and open to the public year-round, Cylburn Arboretum is Baltimore's largest public garden, encompassing 207 acres. Built in the 19th century as a private estate, the Arboretum is home to a historic mansion and carriage house, as well newer buildings created to welcome and educate visitors that were designed using green techniques, including composting toilets, a “living” green roof, and geothermal heating and cooling.  The Arboretum is the site of numerous free programs, including weekly yoga classes, outdoor concerts, and nature-focused workshops.  It also houses a teaching farm operated by the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future that features aquaponics, a system of agriculture combining fish farming with hydroponic plant farming.

Firebolt Newark Wi-Fi

Launched in 2015, Firebolt Wi-Fi is the fastest, largest, free outdoor public Wi-Fi network in the world. Funded by The Military Park Partnership, Audible, and Prudential Financial, the network covers a two square-mile stretch of downtown as well as several community recreation centers and housing authority locations in the city's neighborhoods. Read more about Firebolt Newark Wi-Fi...

Indianapolis Cultural Trail

The Indianapolis Cultural Trail is an 8-mile bike and pedestrian urban walkway connecting business and cultural districts in downtown Indianapolis.  Developed by a public-private partnership including the City of Indianapolis, the Central Indiana Community Foundation, and several other nonprofit organizations, the $63 million project was completed in 2013.  The Trail features over $2 million of public art projects and the first bikeshare in Indiana, which includes 250 bikes spread across 25 stations, providing residents and visitors an energy-efficient way to explore the city. Read more about Indianapolis Cultural Trail...

Garfield Park Conservatory

The Garfield Park Conservatory aims to grow community through the combination of people, plants, and place.  To do so, it offers a variety of free programs, including hands-on training in gardening, composting, and beekeeping.  It serves nearly 170,000 people a year, including more than 15,000 Chicago school children.

Imago for Earth

Founded to reconnect people to the natural world, Imago is a nonprofit focused on providing environmentally focused educational experiences and conserving natural areas. Since its establishment over 30 years ago, it has preserved 36 acres of urban forest, 16 of which are open to the general public for hiking and exploration.   Read more about Imago for Earth...