ChiCommons is a multi-stakeholder cooperative that maps and develops the cooperative and solidarity economies in the Chicago area. We believe that using old methods combined with modern technologies provides opportunities for growing and sustaining thriving communities based on sharing and working together. In its current form, we envision three sets of cooperatives:
- ChiCommons.coop: the holding cooperative that documents cooperative and solidarity economy activity in Chicago.
- BlockShare.ChiCommons.coop: a set of neighborhood cooperatives that build, own, manage, and use neighborhood-based communications utilities to share neighborhood assets and provide the last mile connection to the Internet.
- Community.ChiCommons.coop: a set of interlinking cooperatives that provide peer-to-peer social networks that they own and manage.
ChiCommons.coop maps the cooperative and solidarity economies in Chicago. We started this project almost 3 years ago, by identifying all the shareable resources in Chicago. The current version of Shareable-Chicago has been kept up to date and is being amended with data from the recent Cooperative Economy Summit.
BlockShare.ChiCommons.coop builds Internet-style communications in neighborhoods by providing a communications server, Internet gateway and local wireless communications. The neighborhood server provides neighborhood-based applications to connect neighbors who join the cooperative neighborhood new and organizing tools, peer-to-peer social media, a neighborhood-based market for sharing expertise, labor, tools and rides. It also connects the coop to other neighborhoods using the same systems and paid lower cost access to the internet
Commmunity.ChiCommons.coop offers virtual communities peer-to-peer social media tools across the existing Internet that they own and manage as a community. For example people interested in sustainability might joint the sustainability community of ChiCommons.coop to share with others interested in all aspects of sustainability. Since people are multi-dimensional, they might also be interested in local music and join a music community. As these communities grow, we anticipate a robust new society to emerge.
All these cooperatives are part of ChiCommons and each works based on a multi-stakeholder model. For instance, neighborhoods do not normally possess the technical capacity to develop their own communications server, Internet gateway and local wireless network. So another stakeholder cooperative, the technical cooperative, a worker-owned cooperative develops, implements, trains and supports the technology.