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 Catalysing the Sydney Commons Lab

InCollaboration is the lead catalysing organisation for Sydney Commons Lab (SCL). This follows a series of Sydney Commons Events last year. 

The lab will seek to address the growing gap between rich and poor, the trickling up of wealth and inadequate responses to our environmental challenges. The lab will support community-led initiatives for the common good for shared ownership or stewardship of resources, including digital platforms, and local wealth. There will be an emphasis on people working together collaboratively and sharing decision-making to enable connected, inclusive and resilient communities and regenerating environments. 

We are building on the work of many others and are collaborating with many experts who have been working on these issues for many years. Collaborating organisations include Sydney Policy Lab - Sydney University, University of NSW - Faculty of Law, The Sharing Tree, Sharing Map, New Economy Network Australia, Foodlab Sydney, P2P Foundation, Social Surplus, Mercury Coop, The Grove, Incubator Coop, Pre-Power, Shelter NSW and Urban Apostles. 

The focus of this initial stage is to build an active organisational ecosystem of citizens and multi sector organisations, share ideas resources and energies, develop collective vision/s and leadership, and connect global prototypes with local needs.

This will require education and engagement in alternative economics, research of the application of regenerative economic models at the local level, support for existing and new demonstration projects, and a close partnership with City of Sydney.

City of Sydney's Resilient Sydney Strategy (RSS) highlights inequitable growth, declining social cohesion, an absence of community agency, and threats to healthy ecological systems, all of which affect the key livelihood domains of Food, Water, Energy, Housing, Transport and Waste. These manifest as problems with “homelessness and housing affordability, lack of access to public transportation systems, family violence, climate change, structural inequity, and chronic food or water shortages” (RSS)

New models are required that support economic and social inclusion and cohesion. Commons-based models do this and stand in contrast to the dominant economic paradigm and systems of competition, winner-takes-all and growth at any cost.

 

Commons-based economics derive from ‘commoning’ activities. These create and support livelihoods, while regenerating the health and long term viability of the ‘commons’, encompassing the Earth and natural ecosystems, social systems, culture, public infrastructure, food, shelter and energy.

The opportunity exists for Sydney Commons Lab to act as a catalyst and hub in support of practical, exemplar initiatives, enterprises and projects that demonstrate the transition from extractive to regenerative economics.