Connect the Commons LLC aims to create digital tools that foster resources sharing, mutual-aid, and economic self-determination in local communities. We believe in abundance and that everything we need can be found in the communities directly around us, if we have access to it. We strive to increase that access through the design and creation of a digital mutual-aid and local exchange network shared via web and phone platforms. The purpose of this program is to connect users in the same region to exchange a variety of tools, goods, and services. These exchanges may take the form of barter, gifting, mutual-aid, or a more traditional monetary transaction. It is critical to our values as an organization that all digital tools we create can be accessed for free and on public computers. We believe the platforms we design are necessary tools in a world of increasing economic, political, and environmental uncertainty. We aim to support communities in supporting each other.
Image: Josh McPhee/ Justseeds
Frequently Asked Questions
How does it work?
Once the first Connect the Commons prototype is launched you will be able to set up a profile where you can list (out of public view) skills, tools, services, and resources you are willing to share, rent, trade, etc. You will also set the radius you want to connect within. You can then list a need or something you’re looking for, and Connect the Commons will connect you with someone who has what you need right in your neighborhood or town! You two will be able to start an in-app chat to arrange your exchange.
When will a prototype be available?
We are aiming to have a prototype by early 2021, as with all start-ups and non-profit entities our timeline is heavily influenced by funding. If you are interested in supporting this work please consider donating to this project. We operate as a not-for-profit business and your donation can be made tax deductible. You can also sign up for our newsletter to receive monthly updates about the project and be the first to sign up when our prototype launches. Check out the Support the Work page to learn more!
Who can use it/ What can it be used for?
Anyone and anything! This platform is for the community of users. It can be used for anything from connecting hungry people with hot meals, parents with hand-me-down childrens items, to photographers with clients seeking photoshoots.
Connect the Commons is particularly helpful for people trying to accomplish a goal or create a project who are under-resourced to achieve their vision. Artists, for example, have big dreams and visions which can change and shape our reality, but the Arts are severely underfunded. An artist may not be able to access all the resources they need in order to bring their vision into being with the limited grant funding and other resources available to the arts. That’s where Connect the Commons comes in. A user can simply list the tools they are looking for to accomplish their project (canvas, a projector, film camera, actors, dancers, a dramaturg, costuming, etc.) and they will be connected with someone in their area who has or does the very thing they are looking for. It’s a networking and connection tool designed to help us all achieve our visions and meet our needs using the power of local community and mutual-aid.