Starting this summer, Commons Network has not one but TWO new team members. Both Taru and Ruth study at the University of Amsterdam. They will work with us as interns for the next few months and we couldn’t be happier to have them. We’ll let Ruth take it from here.
My name is Ruth and I’m studying to get my bachelor’s degree in Sociology at the University of Amsterdam. My background in sociology is probably partially to blame for the eager curiosity with which I consume all sorts of texts. I am especially interested in urban commons and new politics of social solidarity. I enjoy nothing more than strolling and reading; activities that maintain and fuel my appreciation for the cosmopolitan life.
For me, the value of a city depends on the degree of diversity. Not just diversity of people, but also diversity of practices, different ways of using public space. A great city is one that welcomes a myriad of individuals and lifestyles. That is why great cities are so complicated: they display a constant negotiation between interests and ideas and an ongoing contestation of space.
How can great cities prosper? What can cities do to make sure all people have the same opportunities to contribute to their prosperity? I think it is crucial that we breach the duality of left and right and progressive and conservative. We should not linger on abstract discussions: what concrete actions can we take? Let’s start small, by picking local issues that we can get involved in, to make a real difference. These small urban interventions connect with other local struggles to transcend regional and national borders. This is what constitutes part of the emerging new framework for radical democratisation all over the world.
I believe commoning as a practice is a great example of these radical urban interventions. That is why I am excited to start my internship at Commons Network. Commons Networksupports and defends the commons, thereby contributing to this emerging new discourse. Like them, I believe commons might just represent the possible path we should take to secure our future.
I am glad to be part of Commons Network during these next few months. In this period I will investigate an important new legislative package called ‘Omgevingswet’, a set of laws that determine how cities design and build the public space and all activities within that space. I hope to learn about how Commons Network and similar organisations position and organise themselves in society. I am looking forward to further developing my knowledge and skills in this exciting field.