The Living Commons is an inclusive communal living model that works with existing local neighbourhoods in incorporating
the idea of creating a strong sustainable supportive community whilst simultaneously building and providing the infrastructures and services to support the living and working environment for that community. it will be presented as a feasible model of affordable, equaland ecologically sustainable living in Ireland.
WHAT IS THE LIVING COMMONS
Living in the commons means that you are a member of a supportive ,active, community. It involves responsibilities and obligations for all residents where the wellbeing of the individual is dependable on the wellbeing of the community. It is based on human values and not profit driven values. It actively recognizes the need for a holistic living environment, that provides secure, healthy, homes, a vibrant social community and opportunities to share skills and provide employment and training.
It will be regarded as a feasible,
sustainable and equal model of living for others to consider and implement in their respective locales.
The Living Commons will provide for:
+ vulnerable people living in very precarious living conditions including those in Direct Provision and those in the existing community
+ people who share a common ethos of working together as a community towards a healthy sustainable future
+ people who need an alternative to the hopeless situation there are currently living in where people’s needs are put first.
+ local people from the surrounding communities who are interested in integrating skills and experience to build social enterprises that can be mutually beneficial to the Living Commons and wider communities.
mix of independent and shared living/working spaces
mix of housing for single people & families
a community building social enterprise
it is not just housing
residents are a not just regarded as tenants, they are members of the community
it is not a commune
(it is not private living with shared responsibilities)
it is not a profit-driven co-operative
The length of residence depends on individual circumstances/need. The Living Commons should be regarded as a secure home for people where they can bring up their children and form long-term relationships with others and understand they are part of a community.
*Community here refers to both those living in the commons and the wider surrounding communities.
The Living Commons is about being part of a sustainable supportive community. Should people’s personal circumstances or needs change and they wish to move to other housing they can yet remain socially part of that community even though they live elsewhere.
The Living Commons will be a cross-generational community and will provide support for the elderly and infirm. If a home becomes available in the Commons due to a death that home will be offered to another individual in need. If/when a resident does wish to leave they will be supported in their move to other housing.
We will work with organizations and relevant local community leaders to identify and contact people in need.
allocation is on the basis of willingness & need and discussed and decided through a collective assembly process.
element of self-selection
Living in the Commons involves responsibilities & obligations and a ‘people
needs first’ ethos which may not suit everyone – but are vital for the success and quality of life.
if interested, potential residents will have the opportunity to propose themselves.
* Final capacity will be determined by building regulations but it currently estimated at between 50-60 people including families with children, elderly people, single people, co-habiting friends etc.
Living Commons Committee - managing the day to day running of the commons; including Stewards dealing with the main administration, a mix of professionals and volunteers dealing with the upkeep of the grounds, property and specific needs of inhabitants.
Living Commons Collective Assembly - all members meet regularly to discuss issues and developments and/or bring things to the attention of the Committee.
Living Commons Board - carefully selected by the Living Commons and including those with expert knowledge on non-profit commoning as well as associated supportive structures.
Collective Assembly :
+ a self-management & shared responsibility method where people feel they have a voice and a role in decision making.
Shared responsibilities for the running of common areas:
+ tending to the needs of the more vulnerable members of the commons; Cleaning and general maintenance of communal areas / kitchens, laundry, courtyard, corridors, assembly spaces, kids play areas/
Building/property maintenance & upkeep:
+ specific paid professional roles
+ as this is a non - profit enterprise
+ there will be both private kitchens/cooking facilities for those who want that included in their private living accommodation.
+ we will also run a People’s Kitchen which is an open access café for the public also and also co-run by members of the Living Commons as well as those in the broader community.
Part of the commons strategy is to pool skill sets from both
the commons inhabitants and those living in the wider community and set up social enterprises together.
Money made from these enterprises provide a fair wage for those involved with surplus profit going towards the running of the commons. For example: growing and selling produce, weekly markets, People’s Kitchen café, Fixing Cafes (where people fix electronic and other items), Media Hub (training in IT and Digital Design skills), Film, Photography and Media (training in documentary film and photography, editing, publishing) Printing workshops (the
commons has access to a mobile print studio).
The Living Commons is seeking funding and investment from both European grants that favour this direct democratic social structure of living as well as Foundations that directly support commoning living. Each adult commons member/family will pay a low rent that is commensurate with their weekly pay/ social allowance. This also goes into financing the day to day running of the commons.
The Living Commons moves beyond strictly policy-led integration attempts and instead works with a more natural mode of forming and nurturing long-term relationships between people through a focus on working on commons goals/interests.