Some Thoughts Logo


Urban environments are rapidly growing and becoming more diverse. The competition for the limited resources within the same living space (e.g. accommodation, public areas, water, transportation, energy, air, etc.) is challenging our forms of negotiation and conflict resolution.

If urban citizens continue with an individualistic approach to resource management, the metropolises will become environmentally unsustainable and more importantly, socially unliveable. The continuous tension in holding the ownership, control and access of shared resources increases violence across sectors and groups within urban societies. The neoliberal idea of owning private property is dismantling the urban landscape and raising disparities between groups and identities.

Alternative and disruptive models are being examined across the globe where collective possession and solidarity are held by people who are willing to renounce individual ownership and share resources with groups beyond their family circle. However, these forms of governance are not a contemporary creation. The vast majority of Indigenous communities across the globe have lived in this form prior to Western colonization. Several Indigenous leaders have expressed, in different moments, thoughts on the failure of Western science, and the capitalist system, in sustaining societies and the environment. The community-driven worldviews of Indigenous communities offer examples of possible paths for solving everyday problems. The waste of unnecessary resources would directly affect the interest of the collective, therefore actions would be taken to decrease possible misuse.

However, in order for these communities to flourish and succeed in the long term, an increase of awareness and implementation of public policy actions are required. Urban youth in large metropolises are increasingly bombarded with the idea of loans, capital, mortgages and individual success. Therefore, educational institutions require a progressive shift, and they need to provide more information about these forms of co-living and cooperation. Moreover, they should offer tools for collective conflict resolution and negotiation.

On the other side of the spectrum, national jurisdictions are behind in recognizing these new models of shared spaces. Policymakers must design and accommodate new types of co-ownership and co-organization. Several actors should look at how Indigenous societies have solved problems throughout centuries with and without colonization.

Finally, the overall urban population must be open to trying new paths of living, even if they challenge their imaginary ofurban landscapes.