The idea for this book came slowly following a gradual collection of blog posts on the CCRI website in recent years. The posts centred around the general theme of how we manage shared assets and what alternative approaches there might be, informed by research and practice in the governance of commons resources. The whole area of commons and management of common pool resources has become more topical over the last 6 years following the award of the Nobel Prize for Economics to Elinor Ostrom, for her work on commons. Commons has long been an element of research within CCRI, particularly in relation to Common Land and Town and village Greens in England and Wales. Chris Short organised annual conferences on common land management from 1999-2010 which attracted over 1,500 delegates and sponsorship from the Countryside Agency, Defra, Natural England and the Countryside Council for Wales. This book is no more than a set of ‘musings’ or collected thoughts about a range of issues which we have addressed in our professional activities. It does not claim to address all aspects of an issue, or to present a balanced view of research findings. The aim is simply to present some of our ideas about management and governance of a range of resources that can be perceived in some way as ‘shared assets’. The resources addressed range from the local to the global, and encompass what have been termed traditional commons (such as fisheries, pasture, water) and ‘new’ commons such as the internet and urban areas. Our purpose in producing this book is to raise awareness of the principles of commons governance. Our aim is to encourage thinking about the ways in which application of these principles might open up alternative solutions to achieving long-term and sustainable management of the many assets that we share in common.
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