Reclaiming the Commons | Land Portal

Resource information

Date of publication: 
November 2018
Resource Language: 
ISBN / Resource ID: 
OSF_preprint:46195-D26-9F0

Urban agriculture has been theorized by social scientists, and even some urban growers, as a means of reclaiming the commons. But what does “reclaiming the commons” entail? A longue-durée genealogy reveals distinct socio-legal imaginations of the commons and visions of how it might be reclaimed. Social thinkers and reformers have split over how to address the key problem of private property identified by John Locke: landless people who can’t find paid employment. One vision, proposed by Thomas Jefferson, would reclaim the commons by activating space – reuniting the unemployed with unused land. Another, proposed by Thomas Paine, takes such a reunion as impracticable; it would reclaim the commons by taxing property and transferring the proceeds. The genealogical analysis helps understand contemporary urban agriculture as consistent with a Jeffersonian “land fix” mode of reclaiming the commons, and by contrast to state-led “tax fix” strategies for addressing unemployment and poverty.

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Nate Ela

Publisher(s): 
Center for Open Science

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Data provider

Center for Open Science

Our mission is to increase openness, integrity, and reproducibility of research.

These are core values of scholarship and practicing them is presumed to increase the efficiency of acquiring knowledge.

For COS to achieve our mission, we must drive change in the culture and incentives that drive researchers’ behavior, the infrastructure that supports their research, and the business models that dominate scholarly communication.