New Clear Vision

constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted

Archive for February 4th, 2011

I Have Just Two Words for You…

February 04, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Ecology, Economy, Jay Walljasper, Politics

“The Commons” — Lifeblood of Our Communities

by Jay Walljasper

Even if you’ve never seen the movie, you know the line from The Graduate when Benjamin, the befuddled recent college grad, is accosted by one of his dad’s friends with this unsolicited career advice: “I want to say one word to you … Plastics!”

Well, I’m feeling the same way about two words: “The Commons!”

The commons means “all that we share and the ways we share it” — an immense bounty of wealth that belongs to each of us. This covers air and water, national parks and city streets, scientific knowledge and the latest dance steps.

And I believe the spirit and practice of the commons is crucial to making our cities and towns better places for everyone to live. All the places where people connect in our neighborhoods — sidewalks, parks, coffeeshops, community gardens, libraries, bike trails, transit, even the streets — are commons. And so are all the ways we connect — activist groups, online networks, informal gatherings, recreational activities. (more…)