On the Commons

Commons Work

On the Commons
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Public Spaces and Public Life

Public space is a literal commons—the common ground where people come together as friends, neighbors, and citizens. Places we share together—parks, streets, sidewalks, squares, trails, markets, waterfronts, beaches, museums, community gardens, public buildings, and more—are the primary sites for human exchange, upon which our communities, economy, democracy, and society depend.

On the Commons helps everyone protect, promote, and expand the public spaces in their own communities, and enhance the spirit of public life.

The Fall and Rise of Great Public Spaces

August 5, 2012 | by Jay Walljasper

Why we need parks, streetlife, squares, markets, trails, community gardens and other hang outs more than ever


Great Green Public Spaces Right Under Our Noses

September 18, 2011 | By Aaron Hanauer & Colleen Ayers

Cemeteries were once used like parks, which is beginning to happen again

What Happens When You Open the Streets for People

July 19, 2011 | By Jay Walljasper

An outbreak of smiles on everyone's face-- and more

Designing the Commons Into Our Everyday Lives

April 16, 2011 | By Jay Walljasper

Pocket neighborhoods bring us together within our neighborhoods

Takin' It to the Streets

July 1, 2010 | By Jay Walljasper

Those who want to restrict the free flow of pedestrians will crush the vitality of our cities.

The Eternal Joy of Hanging Out

December 7, 2009 | By Jay Walljasper

Roman piazzas are commons at their best. And there's no reason we can't have them here

Take a Parking Space and Make Paradise

September 24, 2009 | By Jay Walljasper

The new trend to convert parking into parks

Best Little Moviehouse in the Adirondacks

September 2, 2008 | By Tom Oconell

Old movie theaters can become new local commons

Latin American Mayor Fights for Equal Access to Happiness

August 13, 2006 | By Jay Walljasper

Enrique Peñalosa improved the lives of Bogotá's poor

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

January 23, 2006 | By Jay Walljasper

Public Life in Private Places

Is It Still Possible to Make Great Public Places Today?

January 10, 2006 | By Jay Walljasper

Is it still possible to make great public places today? Yes, but we must unlearn many of the modern era's design rules.


12 Steps to Creating a Community Commons

July 12, 2012 | By Jan Gehl & Lars Gemzoe

Design is only part of what enlivens public spaces