About our Project

Our objectives are:

1. To develop a new, multifaceted definition of the contemporary ‘urban’ common that recognises its distinctive historical roots, current political status, and value for future health, diversity and wellbeing.

2. To generate original, comprehensive knowledge of four urban common case studies. These are Town Moor, Newcastle; Valley Gardens, Brighton; Mousehold Heath, Norwich; and Clifton Down, Bristol. The project will evaluate in each case:

2.1  The multiple, negotiated historic uses and legal origins of the common; and,

2.2  It’s contemporary meaning, popular perception, biodiversity and public use.

3. The project will work in partnership with local communities and relevant stakeholder groups to generate ideas for the future of urban commons, in the spirit of their negotiated pasts. This will involve:

3.1  Including stakeholders from the outset of the project to set up ‘Commons User Groups’ of local members for ensuing agendas and parameters;

3.2  Trialling new methods of engaging the different communities with their commons’ history, legal status, and vital health and cultural potential. Examples of the methods we plan to use include : treasure hunts, films, games; poetry readings; music performances; historical reconstructions; food fêtes and picnics; walks/guided tours; ‘green gyms’; creative writing; visual art; ‘spatial’ oral history research;

3.3  Demonstrating the research as an exemplar for further urban common research across England, for a variety of audiences, from academics to policy makers.