A Commons Philosophy

A Commons is decentralized and autonomous. It changes governance from something that is imposed upon us by others to something we choose to opt into. We are creating systems that better align incentives and distribute resources equitably.


We aim to facilitate the development and operation of the Center of the City Commons public land in accord with recommendations of the Center of the City Task Force, coordinated with the Ann Arbor City Council. 

The Ann Arbor Community Commons is an organization in formation. The Commons organization will include a 501c3 non-profit cooperative organization, an initiating committee of community volunteers committed to the development of the Commons, and an Assembly process to allow all Ann Arbor people to participate in the development of the Commons and ultimately a Council of the Commons as an embodiment of self management. 

The purposes are to develop the Center of the City land as a treasure for all of Ann Arbor and as an initiating point for developing projects that direct Ann Arbor into a commons-driven “Co-City” associated with and benefiting from global Commoning efforts.  

The Ann Arbor Center of  the City Commons is centered at this website and on the public land designated as a Central Park and Civic Center in the November 2018 election and subsequent Center of the City Commons Task Force recommendations.  

The Main Goals of our Commons are the following:

1. Bring people together to co-create a beautiful park and civic center.

2. Help those that find it difficult to thrive in our current economic and sociopolitical system with alternative options to improve their circumstances.

3. Experiment with new forms of governance and civic initiatives based on the experience of, and in collaboration with, the many cities throughout the world developing commons-driven projects.

 4. Stimulate the emergence of new forms of environmentally sustainable, equitable and generative economic development pathways that can make the city more resilient and independent from problems at the state, national and international level.

5. Implement new currency and financial models (including using Holochain and a public bank for example), new agriculture models such as Permaculture, time banking, new kinds of environmentally friendly but cost-effective construction and co-housing, off grid alternative energy and water management, childcare and eldercare community sharing, etc. 

The Commons organization form encourages collaborative, co-creative and win/win relationships between all city residents. These relationships foster mutual caring, support and understanding

Over time they may TRANSFORM OR EVEN DISSOLVE the primarily transactional and competitive relationships that currently harm our collective sense of community wellbeing. 

Become a Steward of the Commons

Activate yourself and engage with our growing community as we come together to create the Council of the Commons! Help bring our vision of a stronger, more resilient Ann Arbor to life with your participation in our people-first civic initiatives.

Sign Up and create your Steward of the Commons profile today, and

 begin affecting change in our home Ann Arbor, MI!

Long Term Goals and Values

  1. Create a more welcoming, supportive, inclusive, caring and sustainable environment in Ann Arbor for all its people.
  2. Provide Ann Arbor residents with more options to achieve Well-being beyond Private Sector, Traditional Non-profit, and Government options.
  3. Provide offerings and supports not currently available from the private sector or government to Ann Arbor residents.
  4. Experiment with new types of highly responsive and inclusive Governance in Ann Arbor.
  5. Increasingly transform relationships in Ann Arbor from instrumental to caring and from competitive win/lose to collaborative win/win.
  6. Grow a Third Socio-Economic Force – Economy of The Commons – in the Ann Arbor environment that can balance the tendency of the Government and Market to favor the successful and privileged and which can actively promote and strengthen the interests of ordinary and/or less advantaged people.
  7. Strengthen the ability and resiliency of Ann Arbor to deal with economic, environmental, and political crises by using its talent bank to enable the City to become more self-reliant and independent from existing state, federal, global and market power structures and systems.
  8. Help transform the City of Ann Arbor from a Common’s facilitator to a full Commoning/Commons-driven City.

Ann Arbor is ready to develop the Center of the City Library Lot land as a treasure for all of Ann Arbor, and as an initiating point for developing a resilient and supportive commons-driven society to improve the lives of our residents.

Join us today and we create a more sustainable tomorrow for Ann Arbor.