Click to expand the poster

Ann Arbor Community Commons Michigan banner

Ann Arbor voters determined that the Center of our City shall be developed as a community commons, a central park and civic center!

In recognizing the commons as the integrating idea of this center of the city development, Ann Arbor voters joined the city a worldwide Commoning movement—where all over the world everyday people are stepping up and taking responsibility for shared resources, creating a ‘third space’ alongside government and the private corporations in meeting public needs. In this spirit, the passage of  Proposal A in 2018 amends the City Charter to declare that the “Public Land Bounded by Fifth Avenue, and William, Division, and Liberty Streets to be Designated, in Perpetuity, as an Urban Central Park and Civic Center Commons to be known as the ‘Center of the City’”. 

This web site is offered by the gifting economy to help facilitate the recommendations of the Center of the City TaskForce, the City Council and the Will of the Voters to keep this City land in public ownership to be developed as a central park and civic center commons.

We, the “gifters,” are an initial open informal self-appointed “initiating committee” forming itself after the City Council accepted the Task Force recommendation. Members of the Task Force, and those who participated in Task Force deliberations, and others who wanted, were invited to begin the people’s part of the development of the commons, acknowledging that the City has its role also in facilitating the commons developing. We will serve as one interface with the City Government and agencies as they do their parts in carrying the recommendations forward. The Ann Arbor Committee for the Community Commons and The Library Green Conservancy have joined this initiating effort. The Library Green Conservancy will serve as the 501c3 fiscal agent for the commons to receive donations and grants.

Center of the City Block

42.16’42″ North, 83.44’.43″ West

Google Earth Map 42.16’42″ North, 83.44’.43″ West

You are invited to become an active co-creative member partner neighbor steward an allied consciousness in this cooperative effort.  While the commons is centered in the “Center of the City,” it includes all of Ann Arbor and our area and watershed and bio region and friends of Ann Arbor everywhere, whoever would join in these cooperative efforts. 

Let’s explore this new space together. Belonging to us all, this land will never be for sale, and will always be a shared space for commoners. It’s up to us to make the best of it. Together we can seek higher ideals that benefit all. 

community commons ann arbor mi collage of open space commons
photos contributed by Odile Hugonot Haber

Commoning in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

Commoning is a powerful and time-tested tradition where people manage and use resources together for their collective well-being. Commoning exemplifies a culture of mutual respect, mutual responsibility, and mutual benefit. When a community like Ann Arbor comes together opportunities abound for the good of everyone.

The Commons refers to both our shared resources and also the human relationships nurtured among the people who use and manage those resources. The Commons is what we do together, creating community as we practice commoning. The community has begun to reclaim their public resources and re-develop mutual relations to unify Commoners to  grow a strong, sustainable,  resilient, and just economy for our home. 

Join the conversation and doing with the people of Ann Arbor as we all work together to grow our Community Commons.

Decide to Participate.

Announce yourself by signing up to become a member of the commons. Click the banner below to go to the register page. Please fill in the brief profile of yourself and even add a picture. Consider the questions- “What do I need?”, “What do I have to offer?” and “What would I like to see as the commons develops?”

Commons around the world have been successful bringing together their people and offering help when faced with adversity. Commons spaces have enriched the city, culture, and community of Co-Cities all around the globe. What has started as a Central Park and Civic Center for Ann Arbor can grow to find new places around the city to vitalize.

This site opens community discussion on how to proceed, what needs to be done and doing it. Look to these forums for these discussions, and contribute your own thinking. You can engage in the decisions directly by making your voice heard.

Consider these two questions and ideas already proposed- what would you add and in what are you interested?

“What Could Be an Ann Arbor Central Park?”

“What Could Be an Ann Arbor Civic Center?”

Become a Steward of the Commons

Activate your Ann Arbor Residents status! Participate in the discussions about how we can work together to revitalize this plot and our other activities to help Ann Arbor flourish. Become a Commoner by signing up today. Learn what commoning is all about in Ann Arbor through the upcoming videos and games on this site.