Next May, Enacting the Commons was supposed to embark for Scotland, around three main subjects: shared property, community charters, community wealth building.
Land ownership is a sensitive issue in Scotland: high concentration of land in the hands of a few large owners, very low percentage of public land, speculative pressure, demographic change in rural areas, etc. Faced with this, there is a particularly dynamic movement of local communities organizing to regain control and collective use of urban and rural land for very diverse projects: affordable housing, renewable energy, social entrepreneurship, agriculture, safeguarding biodiversity, etc. It is based on forms of empowerment, governance, legal tools (“community right to buy”, “Community assets transfer”, etc.) or financial, and advocacy promoting the benefits of common use in look at climate issues, access to one’s own culture, land justice, etc.
Scotland is also the birthplace of the Community Chartering movement: In 2013, the inhabitants of Falkirk implemented a community charter to fight against a project to extract methane from coal. Residents gathered to list what they believed was important in order to maintain their health, lifestyle and the future well-being of their children and grandchildren. They also imagined what a long-term viable local economy would look like and what they could do to ensure that the natural world around them was free from harm. This charter was one of the tools to have the rights of the community and local civil society recognized. Since then, a movement has been structured which supports community empowerment for responsible environmental management, tests new models of community engagement, collective decision-making approaches, transparent and inclusive in a territory, etc.
Finally, Scotland is a land where the Community Wealth Building approach is developing in a particularly ambitious way, which seeks to rethink, in a systemic way, a local economy “in common” in the service of social justice and the environment. North Ayrshire will soon be the first community in Scotland to adopt a ‘community wealth development’ approach on a regional scale (rather today tested in towns like Preston)
> A few readings:
A little more about community ownership:
On Community Chartering:
About Community Wealth Building:
And in Scotland how is it?
The famous Preston experience