Procomuns: Commons Collaborative Economies
11-13 March – Barcelona

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WHAT:   Policy & FLOSS for the Commons

“Commons Collaborative Economies: Policies, Technologies and City for the People”

A two-day international interdisciplinary workshop which aims to highlight the relevance of the commons-oriented approach of peer production and collaborative economy, while proposing public policies and providing technical guidelines to build software platforms for collaborative communities.

WHEN: During the weekend of March 12-13th, 2016, with a locally-oriented event taking place on Friday, March 11th, 2016.

WHERE: Barcelona, Spain


In the last two decades we have seen the emergence of Internet-enabled collaborative communities building shared libre/open resources. Commons-based Peer Production (CBPP) is rapidly growing, not just for software and encyclopedias but also for information (OpenStreetMap, Wikihow), hardware (FabLabs, Open Source Ecology), accommodation (Couchsurfing) and currency (Bitcoin, Altcoins).

More recently, we have also seen the emergence and growth of hybrid models which retain some similar organizational logic such as being based on collaborative and open principles, but privatizing others. This is the case in corporate-based peer production such as Uber or Airbnb. However, such initiatives  are dominating the public debate, as if they are the main exponents of the collaborative economy. This issue opens up a series of debates and opportunities about how to retain the commons dimension.  

Additionally, recent technological developments, such as emergent  blockchain technologies, have opened up new avenues of commons production, management and distribution, through more decentralized governance structures.

At the same time, the more important commons-based peer production becomes, the more that controversies emerge, attracting the interest of public administrations.

Still, it remains largely unclear what the role of public administrations might be, which Public-Commons partnerships could be established, and what policy approach could be the most productive and beneficial.

However, public debate mainly focuses on the controversies around large corporations entering the collaborative economy. Thus, the public is mostly aware of peer production through these few large corporations. Therefore, there is a growing need to organize and raise the visibility of the commons and socially-oriented model.

The aim of this event is to address these questions and to promote the commons-based peer production economy through two working dimensions with specific outcomes:

(1) policy recommendations for the European Commission, concerning the support and regulation of the collaborative economy;

(2) technical guidelines or best-practices to build software platforms for the collaborative economy.


Policy stream – Public policy recommendations and demands

The event is an opportunity for policy experts to interact directly with the technical teams from P2P platforms, and to get in touch with the more socially-oriented side of the collaborative economy. Developers and communities will be able to express their needs and problems to policy-makers, clarifying what they can do to help. On the other hand, the former will also be able to understand the struggles of policy-makers, providing the ground for empathy and mutual support. We hope this will facilitate the strengthening and emergence of Public-Commons partnerships, especially in the city level. Furthermore, the policy recommendations drafted will be sent to the European Commission officers in charge of this area.

Technical  stream – Decentralized FLOSS

In the last few years, it has become clear to many that it is not enough to develop free/libre/open source software (FLOSS) alternatives, but that we also need to re-decentralize the Internet. Many relevant initiatives are being undertaken (e.g. Ethereum, Diaspora, OwnCloud, MediaGoblin, Sandstorm). These new software tools may also be useful to further boost CBPP communities. This workshop brings together those who are working in decentralized FLOSS that can help CBPP / P2P communities with two aims: (1) to discuss and draft together a set of guidelines and best practices to build software platforms in the field; (2) to raise awareness among policy experts about the need for decentralization and for innovations in that direction.

Hackers, academics, activists, commoners, policy-makers, law geeks, tech lawyers, and interested stakeholders are welcome.


The workshop will include panels on relevant topics, unconference dynamic spaces, a hackathon, and working groups to draft the mentioned policy and technical documents.

We welcome proposals for:

  • Lightning talks (2m): summarise your idea & receive feedback from the audience

  • Leading Discussion (20-30m): gather those interested in your project/tech/policy/research, introduce it to the group, and discuss

  • Participatory sessions (30m-1h): engage the interdisciplinary attendees in co-creating, playing or creative  dynamic sessions

Please email: with your proposals




  • Good experiences of policy for commons-based peer production

  • Cities and commons

  • Value and commons-based peer production


  • FLOSS alternatives to “walled gardens” (in communication or collaboration), especially if decentralized

  • FLOSS platforms for communities in the collaborative economy

  • FLOSS proposals for boosting CBPP participation, growth and resilience (e.g. architectures, reward models)

  • Methodologies to integrate stakeholders in the development of FLOSS platforms for communities (design thinking, agile, lean)


We are committed to maximizing the diversity within the event with respect to gender, origin, background, policy/tech, activist/institutional, and others. If serious economic difficulties affect your ability to attend, and you believe your profile and experience can make an important contribution to this event,  please contact us at the email provided above. We may be able to provide you with financial support.