Seminar 2013

Theme: Infrastructuring the Commons?
Date November 7. 2013 – 9:00-16:15
Place: Media Factory Auditorium (Aalto University, Arabia Campus – Hämeentie 135 a 3rd floor) How to get there?

commons are a new way of expressing a very old idea: that some things belong to everyone and as a whole, they comprise a set of resources that should be actively protected and managedAntonio LaFuente

The concept of  Commons has been used in very flexible ways to describe the status of natural resources like water or air, cultural ones like shared heritage. It has also  been recently linked to other social creations like libraries, parks and public space, as well online digital environments.

This seminar looked at the relationship of the current discourse on the commons, to emerging art, design and planning practices; specifically those engaged actively with collaborative digital media. A particular goal was to link recent developments that relate to practices of infrastructuring  (as discussed in new media, interaction design, community and urban informatics, participatory design and e-planning) to the idea of design principles for stable commons elaborated first by Ostrom in her seminal Governing the Commons book (1990) and then taken further by Hess (2008) in relationship to emerging new commons.

  • How designers, artists and other practitioners can build upon commons principles?
  • What other design principles are needed to support emerging new commons?
  • What role does collaborative digital media plays in identifying and enabling those principles?


The program consisted of plenary session  via a key note speech, some presentations and a panel discussion. This part of the program was FREE and OPEN TO ALL interested. During the afternoon  several parallel sessions were organized. Participation in those sessions required sending a short contribution to the organizers.
The seminar was preceded by an internal preparatory session the 24th of October.


9:00 Coffee

9:15 Welcome!  Teemu Leinonen (Professor- Aalto ARTS)

| Video |

09:30 Keynote: Crafting New Commons: Designing for Collaboration, Participation, and Sustainability.
Charlotte Hess (Emerita – University of Syracuse)

Abstract + bioSlides (PDF) | Video |

10:30 “What do you think you are doing?” Two cases of building commons
Tere Vadén (Professor- Aalto ARTS)

Abstract + bioSlides (slideshare) | Video |

11:15  Infrastructuring the Commons?
Andrea Botero, Sanna Marttila,Joanna Saad-Sulonen (Aalto ARTS) |Abstract|
Karoliina Jarenko (Aalto ENG) |Abstract|

Slides | Video |

11:45 -12:30 Panel Moderator: Andrea Botero (Aalto ARTS). Panelists: Charlotte Hess, Tere Vaden (Aalto ARTS), Erling Björgivsson (Malmö University), Peter Parker (Malmö University), Tania Perez Bustos (Universidad Javeriana) | Who is Who? |

12:30-13:30 Lunch

13:30-15:30 Parallel sessions

The aim of the sessions was to discuss different approaches and resources that relate to the theme of Infrastructuring the Commons. We are also interested in identifying themes and contributions for a forthcoming publication. In keeping with the topics of the conference we hope the sessions will be engaging and participative for all. The goal is to engender a cross-disciplinary network of researchers and practitioners with a joint interest in understanding the new commons and contributing to them.

  • Caring Commons – Organizers: Andrea Botero (Aalto ARTS ) and Tania Perez Bustos (Universidad Javeriana /COL)
  • Cultural Commons – Organizers: Sanna Marttila (Aalto ARTS ) and Erling Björgvinsson (Malmö University /SWE)
  • Urban Commons – Organizers: Joanna Saad-Sulonen (Aalto ARTS),  Karoliina Jarenko (Aalto ENG) and  Peter Parker (Malmö University / SWE)

The sessions adopt an interdisciplinary approach. We invite researchers and practitioners from various fields (e.g. service design, design research, collaborative media design, digital design, cultural and media studies, urban planning, urban studies, economics,  social sciences, etc.).   Prospective participants  submit a statement of interest that was the basis of the afternoon session working material.

15:30-16:00 Coffee & Plenary round-table

16:00-16:15 Wrap-up and closing of the seminar.
Liisa Horelli (Adjunct Professor Aalto ENG) |  Slides |

Documentation and back-channel discussion

Hashtag for Twiter/FB/Google+:  #Helsinki_Commons
Live video streaming:

Registration and attendance details

Seminar is free and open to all interested. Prior registration is required for all those attending (UPDATE: Seminar is FULL). The afternoon sessions require sending a short contribution. Welcome!

For general inquiries please contact Andrea Botero (andrea-dot-botero-at-aalto-dot-fi)

The seminar was organized by Aalto University, Special Interest Group in co-p2p. Funding to organize the seminar has been partly granted by Aalto University Service Factory (THANKS!).