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Working towards a 21st century commons

Welcome to Shared Assets' first newsletter...

Shared Assets is a social enterprise working for a 21st century commons* by supporting community management of woodlands, waterways, parks, green spaces and coastal areas.

This is the first edition of our newsletter which we will be producing every couple of months. We'd love to know what you think: either about the format or the work we are doing.

*What do we mean by a 21st century commons?
Simply put, the commons are everything that we share: land, water, air quality, biodiversity, and so on. We believe in developing collaborative approaches to manage those common resources in ways that are both productive and replenishing.
You can read some of our thoughts on this here. We also recommend taking a look at On the Commons, a US organisation, with a huge resource of useful information.

Bespoke support for community and social enterprises is coming! 

Shared Assets logo
With support from the Tudor Trust we are developing a support service for community and social enterprises aspiring to manage their local environments.

The project will provide a tailored package of support for anyone wanting to take greater control of a local woodland, green space or body of water. It will also create a "knowledge commons" to enable groups engaged in this work share their experience and expertise.

Watch this space for more information, but if this sounds like you, or a group you know of, do get in touch to find out more.
Making It Mutual
Our Development Manager, Kate Swade, has co-authored a paper with Dan Gregory for Respublica's "Making it Mutual" essay collection. They argue that the issue of land and land ownership should be much higher up the political agenda. Read it here
Getting Creative
Taking greater community control of underused environmental assets is not only empowering, argues our intern Andrew, it is a creative learning process.
Land Value Tax is an issue that is rising up the agenda, reviving an idea with a long political pedigree. It could radically alter how we value property. Read our thoughts on the debate and what it could mean for local control of land
Please get in touch and let us know your thoughts on what we're doing and what a 21st century commons means to you...
Our Executive Director, Mark Walton, calls for a radical rethink of how we manage land in this month's New Start magazine. We are looking forward to holding a joint event with New Start to invite others to look in more detail at the issues of community rights and land. It will be held on the 19th September at the fabulous MERCi in Manchester. More details will follow - but  you can email us to register your interest.
English local authorities own 60,000 hectares of woodland. Our new report for Forest Research outlines how they involve communities and social enterprises in woodland management. We found a wide variety of different approaches, but also a widespread lack of information about how our local woodlands are being managed.

If you are a local authority officer responsible for woodlands, we're holding a free event on 17th July. There's more information here.
We're excited to be part of the new Woodland Social Enterprise Network. If you're a social or community enterprise involved in woodlands, you can find out more by checking out the Woodlands and Forests discussion on the Fiery Spirits network.
Rethinking Waterways
Shared Assets and the Landscape Interface Studio at Kingston University have won a London CreativeWorks voucher. We'll be developing methods and tools for engaging local people and creative businesses in reimagining the Limehouse Cut, a little-loved stretch of London waterway. More info soon, but get in touch if you're interested and live or work near the Cut! 
On the subject of waterways, we see the introduction of the "catchment-based approach" as a great opportunity to pilot some commons-based approaches to the governance of rivers. If you have no idea what that means but want to find out... have a look at Kate's blog post here.
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