This week I will commence working on the business plan for our Commons. My intention is to start with individual conversations, based on the original premise of three interdependent components of the Commons – cultural, work & environmental. Pragmatically, we can most likely build our Commons so that it offers one important element for each of the three components. The Commons will be a catalyst to our growth as a community, but it cannot be all things to all people.
My hope is that the Commons will become a place from which we can create alternative working models for how we live, work and communicate. Taking some inspiration once again from Robert Paterson, the Commons will show us alternatives to dependence on large corporations for jobs, to the import of fossil fuels and to the mass media for our self-expression:
I am beginning to think that this may be the great work – to build the alternatives rather than to try and reform the existing system.
I have some initial ideas and am putting them here so that the online community can engage in the conversation as well. As I’ve mentioned, the business plan is essential in order to secure the funding (not confirmed) and make these ideas more concrete. It will also elaborate on two themes; the long term vision of a sustainable, knowledge-based community and the creation of the first elements as expressed in the physical infrastructure of the Commons. Thoughts around the physical infrastructure include:
- Space for teaching and learning that can be used by all of the community (free and/or rented)
- Free, public access to the Internet (wired & wireless)
- Member restricted access to workspace (like the Queen Street Commons)
- Various meeting spaces, some open and some reserved
- A key element that is not available to individuals or small groups that would make a significant difference to that community:
- Environmental (e.g. labs, computing power, green building showcase … )
- Cultural (e.g. a kiln, a bronze casting foundry, exposition space … )
- Work (e.g. video-conferencing, quality printing … )
- All (e.g. research chair on-site, community kitchen, renewable energy … )
As we figure out what we want to build we have to determine how all of it will work together and how we will be able to finance the operation once the first Commons building goes up. That’s why I’m not even looking at where we will build until we know what we want to build. I’ve bookmarked resources that may inform the Commons business plan and would appreciate any other recommendations.