commons

“Contrary to popular belief—especially in the worlds of art and architecture—forms of common space or social space are not actually nonexistent, and are therefore not in constant need of invention. They have, however, been obscured from view in order to be appropriated.” – Life Always Escapes : Céline Condorelli

“The right of estover is one of the surviving rights of common still active in the UK. Estover is the right to take timber, brushwood, bracken, etc., from commons for use in building, repairing fences, or as fuel—to help oneself to a resource produced by a space that is not one’s own. While this resource could possibly have a commercial value as such, its exchange price is disregarded in favor of its subsistence worth.” – Life Always Escapes : Céline Condorelli

“the Inclosure Acts, a series of private acts of Parliament from about 1700 to 1850, which literally enclosed—with walls, fences, and hedges—large areas of Common, especially arable and haymeadow land and the better pasture lands. While the majority of the British landscape was already divided between Lords of the Manor and large landowners, loss of access to Commons was compensated with small parcels of individually owned land being given to some commoners. This vast redistribution and transformation of the landscape was then sealed with the first precise surveys and maps of the territory. The Inclosures established English private property and, for the first time in its history, turned land into a commodity. However, this did not happen without a struggle.” – Life Always Escapes : Céline Condorelli

“Commons are an exception within present systems of legal ownership that rely fully on private property. A Common is a piece of land that may be owned by one or several persons, but over which other people can exercise certain traditional rights “to take or use some portion of that which another man’s soil naturally produces,” indefinitely.5 Common land is not public (nor does it, like most parks and open spaces in London or other British cities, necessarily belong to the Crown or aristocracy) and has quite a unique jurisdictional status based on the rights of use: it is land to be used “in common.” Commons therefore cannot be developed or built upon by the owner(s), nor can they be used speculatively or sold without those rights.” – Life Always Escapes : Céline Condorelli