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Our Project 

Several scholars have been for long underlining the growing potential that Landed Commons (LCs) embody, as alternative land governance arrangements covering a broad range between public and private property regimes, to address discrepancies between increasing land demands and sustainable development. However, global and European organizations have drawn attention to their often-limited legal recognition and institutional embeddedness in spatial policy domains. Our project titled  'Dominia enabled. The role of the state, spatial policy systems and the governance of Landed Commons in Europe' develops an interdisciplinary approach, in order to examine the role of the state as a distinct and complex spatial policy system that mediates the interactions between LCs and broader socio-political dynamics. To this end, we stir up a ‘dialogue’ between nation-wide policies and local community experiences to shed light on legal-institutional parameters that facilitate the development of hybrid property regimes and collective land governance schemes in seven (7) EU member states: Belgium (Flanders), France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Spain, and Greece. 

                Dominia adopts an interdisciplinary approach to the analysis of LCs as hybrid property

                regimes embedded in and structured by wider institutional frames that are in turn determined by distinct political and legal systems, affected by regional/local spatial development dynamics, and continuously (re)produced by various individual and collective actors (Figure 1). It draws on theoretical insights and methodological aspects developed in various fields of scientific literature concerning: (1) the political economy of land and state theory, (2) the nexus between planning and property rights , (3) critical legal theory, (4) institutionalist planning theory , (5) the multi-level governance of commons, and (6) social innovation and bottom-linked governance. These strands of literature have revealed that property regimes are formulated on the basis of political and legal systems, elements of the constitution, land and real estate markets, financial systems, land use planning provisions, real estate taxation and housing policies, socio-cultural and ideological assets, and broader discourses.



Food Commoning

in Leuven

A Call for Sustainable Agricultural Projects to be developed on state-owned lands was launched by the City of Leuven intersecting with the endeavours of 

local Alternative Food Practices (AFPs) to claim for more democratic and sustainable land and food governance.



Community Land Trust


The City of Leuven, following the successful examples of Brussels and  Ghent, initiated a  Community Land Trust  project in an attempt to provide more and improved alternatives of affordable housing and take the land off of the market. But can a commons be state-led?



ZAD de Dijon

Zones to Defend or ZADs (zones à défendre) are organized mainly in rural areas by communities aiming to protect common or public land from privatization. 

Hay Barrels


Insular Commons in Kythira 

In Kythira, all the non-private areas of the island form a communal property of its citizens and not property of the Greek state. The property is managed by the “Domestic Estate of Kythira”, a local committee authorised to manage the island’s assets for the benefit of the local community.

                    In order to analyse the interplay between the state and LCs practicing and development, case-study

                    research is conducted for seven LCs in the respective EU member states: Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Spain, and Greece. 

Forest Aerial View


Neighbourhood forests in Galicia

Montes Vecinales en Mano Común (MVMC) is a long existing form of collective property, on which use and access rights are obtained by being a ‘neighbour’ (local inhabitant). From the 2,900,000 ha of the Autonomous Community of Galicia, around 670,000 are registered as MVMC. 



Girjas Sami cooperative

For the indigenous Sámi people, land and water used to be under communal ownership and use, while reindeer husbandry rights have been central to their socio-economic life. Throughout history, they have suffered consecutive periods of oppression, involving among others land confiscations, and displacements. At present, Samiland’s matters highly rely on court decisions. 



Templin Communal Forest

Since 1230 the city of Templin has managed to acquire, as common property of its local community, a 3.500 ha forest area. Shortly nationalized in 1953 and re-acquired in 1994 the forest of Templin, along with its Thermal Baths, today forms the communal property of the people of Templin.

Aerial View of Old City


Beni Comuni di Napoli

Starting in 2012 from the experimentation of the ex-Asilo filangieri, the "Beni Comuni" is a movement of collective reappropriation for civic use of urban goods in the city of Naples. Fruit of a cooperation between artists, activists and inhabitants, and result of a troubled relationship with public authorities, ten monumental buildings are self-managed by communities of reference and offer an open use of the city and its needs. 

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Argan Forest in Southwestern Morocco

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about our research activities

Case studies
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