Our case officer, Nicola Hodgson, gave a presentation, at Newcastle university, to the inaugural Advisory Board meeting of the Wastes and Strays three year project which included reference to the Society’s publication Finding Common Ground about ascertaining local community interest on common land. The Society is a member of the Advisory Board which will oversee the development and execution of the research project and help shape its designs, outputs and dissemination activities to maximise the reach and impact of this important work.
The Society has campaigned for over a century to protect common land, and to preserve rights of way giving the public access to land both in urban and rural contexts. Over the years there have been many successful campaigns to protect urban commons from encroachment, for example Epping Forest and Hampstead Heath in the late nineteenth century and more recently Clapham common and Clifton Downs ( one of the project’s case studies).
The Society welcomes this new initiative to explore the potential futures of urban commons , which is both timely and important. The aims and objectives of the Wastes and Strays project are strongly supported by the Society as it will contribute to, and complement, the Society’s own aims to protect existing urban commons and to develop new urban green space with permanent legal protection. It will foster wider understanding of the legal and historical roots of urban commons, and enhance engagement in capacity building for local communities wishing to be involved in managing their commons in a changing social environment.