Public-Common Partnerships

Public-Common Partnerships (PCPs) are a radically democratic institutional model that moves beyond the simplistic binary of market and state. PCPs turn the failed approach of public-private partnerships on its head by proposing that, rather than procuring private investors to develop key infrastructure and urban landscapes, councils and other public bodies can and should work with communities to design, manage, and expand the commons.

Our initial report described how PCPs require co-ownership and co-governance of an asset by three distinct but mutually supporting groups: 1) relevant state authorities such as council representatives or land-owning public bodies; 2) a ‘Common Association’ comprised of community members, residents, local business owners, and consumers; 3) project specific stakeholders such as union representatives and relevant experts.

From the perspective of public authorities, this governance model helps to mitigate political risk, addresses democratic deficits and reduces economic costs by enabling mutually supportive exchanges of finance, knowledge, and practice between PCP members. From the perspective of a Common Association, this model facilitates collectivised ownership and control over key assets and infrastructure, creating new spaces of commoning and democratising landscapes and economies.

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