Spatiality of the commons

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This editorial sets the scene for the special feature by explaining the importance of geography to the commons and its governance, critically appraising the existing literature on this theme, highlighting important contributions from recent research and mapping out a future research agenda. It begins by reflecting on how little explicit attention has been paid to date to the spatial dimensions of the commons. The author critiques on the one hand the literature on the commons for conceiving of spatiality primarily as the local, physical context of commons use and regulation but also, on the other hand, the spatial science literature for generally neglecting the commons, both conceptually and empirically. The paper then pinpoints important exceptions in the fields of human geography and planning studies, assessing how these works contribute to a more thorough and robust understanding of the relationship between spatiality, the commons and their governance. The analysis of these select works making explicit reference to the commons is complemented with a reflection on how broader debates in the spatial sciences can enrich spatial research on the commons. The final section turns to the papers of the special feature, summarizing each of the papers in order and indicating how they each contribute to the themes developed in the editorial.




Moss, T. (2014). Spatiality of the commons. International Journal of the Commons, 8(2), 457–471.

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