Paper | ‘Becommoning’: a design-framework for the initiation of new commons

Last October, Suzanna Tomor presented the paper ‘Becommoning’: a design-framework for the initiation of new commons at the IASDR – International Association of Societies of Design Research. The theme of this year’s edition was ‘Life-changing design’ and took place in Milano, from October 9-13. 

The paper was written by Zsuzsanna Tomor and Martijn de Waal and you can read it’s full version below.


This article explores the establishment of new commons initiatives from an integrated design perspective. Such a deeper understanding of the initial phase of becoming a commons -i.e. becommoning- and its design is crucial as members embark on a laborious, time-consuming and uncertain process in which they need to make critical design choices for their future commons. The design perspective is brought forward by the collective creation through which group values are explicated, the communal resource and its governance take shape and conditions are forged for the commons to emerge. So, the study presents the ‘becommoning’ framework as a first exploration for such a designerly approach to identify the steps and activities communities need to make at the very beginning to start unfolding their initiative. The framework is applied in a case study, namely, for exploring the design of housing commons and related genres like cohousing, residential communities that are recognized as micro-laboratories offering general insights for pursuing alternative societal models.