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Confusing the Commons – “The Suprise Behind Detroit’s Emerging Comeback”

Peace all, here’s a comment I left on a recent Huffpost Detroit post by Commons author Jay Walljasper that suggests some of the programs of institutions and foundations in our city “…speaks to a strong sense of the commons that survives in Detroit even amid the economic setbacks.” Some of my concerns emerge in this comment. Respect, ~Gregg

“While I appreciate the emphasis on the positive and the local folk in this one, I think we need to pay close attention to how we accept the use of the term ‘Commons’.

Top-down approach orgs and institutions can be commons-friendly and facilitate further emergence and application of commons thought/theory, but what the emergence and implementation of them looks like, by my definition, has to come directly from the people in the geographic area/space they are sharing in. It is also utterly dependent upon a certain level of participation.

Many Detroit orgs and institutions don’t want to play that aspect of the commons because they don’t like, agree with or understand what they hear and see around them. I’ve witnessed this over and over in Detroit, and it seems like these groups, almost unconsciously, fall into the media trap, race/fear response and identify their often self-selected host communities as backwards, savage and in need of salvation instead of actually listening to them.

Commons thought, whether in its land use, social service, utility or more ‘spiritual’ – ‘third mind’ applications must emerge from the ground up and respect the will and interest, LIKE IT OR NOT, of everything and everyone there. One of the best checks on applications of commons thought is that, at least in a democratic society, they can’t be faked. Oh wait…”

From HuffPost Detroit -  Jay Walljasper’s “The Suprise Behind Detroit’s Emerging Comeback”

“Stories of Detroit’s emerging comeback often highlight the city’s attraction to young hipsters. According to plentiful media reports, well-educated 20-somethings are streaming into the Motor City to test out new ideas, explore art and music projects or launch D-I-Y revitalization initiatives.” Read on:  Jay Walljasper: The Suprise Behind Detroit’s Emerging Comeback.

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