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Charging the Commons

Research Group: Situated Art and Design

Charging the Commons is a follow-up project to Circulatearrow which investigated the design of digital platforms for resource communities. It explores how a situated design approach can be employed to articulate the social values of resource communities. The second phase of the project examines how these values can be translated into (digital) tools and designs for the organisation of an urban commons.

According to the principles developed by Elinor Ostrom for managing a commons it’s important that the rules of the commons are written for the local situation: generic solutions are not acceptable. This means there is a need to develop methods that include resource communities in the design of platforms to manage their resources. A situated design approach emphasises that these design processes take place in specific political, social and economic contexts – and sets out our intention to conduct research from embedded positions. This implies a rooted, interdisciplinary collaboration between maker and user – in which design forms the basis for interaction.

The research takes place at three different field-labs: H-buurt (Bijlmer, Amsterdam), Common Woods (Amersfoort) and De Warren (Ijburg, Amsterdam), and with a community of practice partners.


Charging the Commons is financed by Regieorgaan SIA – RAAK-mkb.


RAAK SME, April 2021

Center of Expertise
Civic Interaction Design (UASA), Caradt

MKB-Companies (Fieldlabs and transfer sites)
CrowdBuilding, Dark Matter Labs, Metabolic, Space & Matter, Stipo, ThingsCon, Waag, De Warren (Amsterdam) CLT H-buurt (Amsterdam), Common Woods (Amersfoort)

Industry associations
Commons Network, Dutch Blockchain Coalition, Dutch Digital Agencies

Network and dissemination partners
Media Architecture Institute, Het Nieuwe Instituut, Pakhuis de Zwijger


Charging the Commons websitearrow

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In the context of her latest project Charging the Commons, our researcher from the Situated Art and Design research group Tara Karpinski, held a presentation for the Bartlett School of Architecture last January and February.

Presentation for students from the Bartlett School of Architecture (dept: Systems of Exchange) about our research from Circulate and Charging the Commons.

Educational departments involved: Bartlett School of Architecture (dept: Systems of Exchange)

In collaboration with: Lectorate Civic Interaction Design (UASA)

‘My practice is situated in between different actors, in this shape-shifting middle many things can happen.’

Tara Karpinski is a designer, researcher and educator working in the realm of social practice. She holds a BA in photography and art history from the Savannah College of Art & Design (USA), and an MA from the Sandberg Instituut (NL). Her Master studies were funded by a Netherland-America Foundation grant.

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Karpinski, T. (2022) Ener-geyser, Artistic works ISEA2022 ‘Possibilities’, screened at the CCCB and CERC auditoriums.

Gloerich, I., de Waal, M., Ferri, G. Cila, N., Karpinski, T. (2020) The City as a Licence. Implications of Blockchain and Distributed Ledgers for Urban Governance (Frontiers2020).

Nazli, C., Gloerich, I., Ferri, G., de Waal, M. and Karpinski, T., The Blockchain and the Commons: Dilemmas in the Design of Local Platforms. Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems – CHI ’20

Karpinski, T., Cila, N., Gloerich, I., Meys, W., de Waal, M. (2019) “Peak Shaving Time”, We Make The City festival, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Research Group: Situated Art and Design

Living in cities developed around data and acting within the inscrutable structure of our techno-society demands art and design that can help understand how we relate to these rapidly changing surroundings and to reflect on that relationship. The research group Situated Art and Design responds to this exigency by fostering a situated turn in art and design through a diverse portfolio of interdisciplinary research projects in partnership with academic and cultural partners, as well as with government and industry.

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