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Guide: One of our bloggers, John Bowker, contributes this thought about Ellinor Ostrom and Jane Jacobs

·3· Informal organizations

30-May-2010 [49]

• A note about the role of informal dynamic organizations in the use of the commons.

From John Bowker, February 24, 2010

Last October, Elinor Ostrom won the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economics for her research into community stewardship organizations, including some not unlike the Friends of Dufferin Grove. Her work examines how best to manage common resources, and she has shown that there exist stable, better alternatives to either state control or privatization.

She shares a lot of common ground with Jane Jacobs. She shows that community boards, BIAs, residents' associations, etc. often demonstrate the dynamism and efficiencies associated with the private sector, while preserving the commitment to the public interest that is expected of governments.

She cautions, however, that there are no consistent formulas, and that stable and successful arrangements appear only through experimentation and trial and error, and there is a strong human factor. And so, such successes must not be taken for granted.