More on Urban Commons

May 1, 1997

The March 1997 Land Lines article on “Urban Land as Common Property” omitted a key reference to geographer Rutherford H. Platt’s co-edited book, The Ecological City: Preserving and Restoring Urban Biodiversity (University of Massachusetts Press, 1994; also see July 1994 Land Lines ). Platt pioneered the idea of seeing abandoned or neglected urban open spaces as “incidental commons.” His presentation at the Lincoln Institute-sponsored session at the “Voices from the Commons” conference in June 1996 traced how open space in U.S. urban areas has evolved “from commons to commons”: from lands devoted to grazing and timber production in the seventeenth century, through nineteenth-century city parks, to new ways of organizing landowners, governments and community groups to manage informal open spaces with both ecological and social value.