The “civic commons” is the network of activities, people, places, and experiences that enable communities to thrive and achieve their collective goals. It is the backbone of urban society. While the civic commons is most commonly understood as a collection of iconic civic buildings and public spaces, today the true impact of this essential civic infrastructure is much more complex. It requires a broad framework to assess its social value, especially amid today’s growing economic disparity and shrinking public sector.
Re-Imagining the Civic Commons seeks to provoke cities to investigate the critical importance of their civic assets, including the uses of shared spaces and the possibilities for new models that enhance their value to urban communities and ensure their long-term sustainability. A preliminary phase of the work has enlisted community leaders, planners, designers, economic development experts and others at City Soundings in cities across the US. The principal outcome is a strategy to support city decision-makers.