In Search of ‘the Commons’ in Modern America

My Rhode Island Town Has Had a Communal Green Since 1694, but Today’s Public Spaces Are Complicated and Splintered

“The commons” is a concept, an ideal. The commons are property we all share, property that’s owned not by any one person or group, but that’s held—well, in common. It also has a distinct history in the U.S., harking back to early American towns having an actual commons, an undivided piece of land owned jointly by all the residents of a town. It was a place where all could graze their cattle, bury their dead, and meet for church and to make community decisions.

Today, the concept of the …

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Americans Have Always Celebrated Hacks and Swindlers | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

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When Silent Films Were a Force for World Peace | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

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The True Horror of Sunny Santa Cruz | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The True Horror of Sunny Santa Cruz

The City’s Residents Feel Powerless Over Their Future—From Housing to Climate Change

Is Santa Cruz the scariest place in California?

For sure, this state’s 21st-century reality is frightening: from the persecution of immigrants to the droughts and wildfires made worse by …