ENTRY #483

The Commons – Using Modern Technology to Make the Most of the Spaces Between Us by Chloe Treger, Yuerong Zhang


Our proposal offers a technological means of making the most of open space in urban environments. The commoning process involves all community constituents (inhabitants, workers, visitors), allowing them to give feedback on the use of public spaces.

As Lefebvre suggested, we have the right to create our city – people should be given the chance to make their neighbourhood work for them. Our design creates positive relationships between the constituents of communities and the spaces that surround them, between communities and councils, between communities and local businesses, and within communities themselves. By allowing people to think about urban spaces as a network, our proposal encourages people to dispense with isolated ways of thinking and living, allowing them to rediscover their common neighbourhood.

To get it started there will be a community event and improved wayfinding to, and signage at, open spaces. To incentivize people to use our mobile app (“The Commons”), businesses will offer promotions to “power users”, and there will be community events that regular users will be invited to attend. If we get past this first hurdle, high numbers of users should create appetite among local businesses to advertise in the app, creating funds for community initiatives. As parks are a non-statutory service, they have been hit hard by austerity; councils will be keen to help the initiative succeed, and to help this new source of income grow.

Besides improving the utility of common spaces themselves, through improved data collection and a participatory approach to design, we hope to foster a sense of ownership, self-efficacy, and place identification. As the spaces are public, the biggest risk we face is that particular groups of commoners might exploit the process for their own interests. Keeping legal ownership with the local council will make this less likely to happen.


Chloe Treger:
Propose to treat the urban common as a network to make the best use of them;
Propose to use mobile app as a platform to collect information and encourage public involvements;
Come up with a collaboration research method to collect green areas service condition;

Yuerong Zhang:
Propose the possible financial sources of the project like advertisements of local business;
Come up with a way for budget allocation by measuring the level of public participation;