ReCommon: Adaptive Bioregional Governance & Regenerative Communities

Team: Alex Corren, Chris Giersch

Domains: governance, conflict, public policy, climate action / terraforming

At ReCommon we are focused on land, and the community of life that stewards it. We’ve spent the past few years developing a protocol for regenerative community land acquisition and governance, using an adaptive bioregional framework. A foundational component to any system of land tenure is a “stewardship entity” - an organization designed to oversee and govern the proper, ecological, and equitable use of land for generations. Whether a nonprofit land trust, a DAO, or a national government, deeply embedded protocols for land access, ownership, and governance are at the core. As civilization shifts into a new era of community development and response to various ecological crises, having a protocol to assess the trust level, resilience, flexibility, strengths and failure points of stewardship entities will improve success rates and accelerate the flows of impact capital into large-scale place-based regenerative community development projects.

1- What is the existing target protocol you are hoping to improve or enhance?

Land governance, ownership and access

2- What is the core idea or insight about potential improvement you want to pursue?

The core idea is that land ownership and governance is a fundamental area of conflict for humanity - and it would very valuable to have a simulation protocol to stress-test stewardship entities for risk of hostile takeovers and failure points. Increasing climate volatility and civilizational systems fragility - combined with rapid technological and cultural development - has created the conditions for a renewed interest in land tenure, community design, network states, and more. A common protocol for assessing the long-term feasibility of stewardship entity design would be a value framework for this growing movement.

3- What is your discovery methodology for investigating the current state of the target protocol?

For the past few years we have been directly connecting with communities from all over the world, in-person and online. With over a decade of experience in this niche, we’ve honed-in on pain points, successes and failures of various forms of stewardship entities. Exploring a wide-range of protocols around land tenure - land trusts, local governments, DAOs, REITs, cooperatives - it’s clear that testing protocol to demystify the longevity and potential success of these approaches is needed.

4- In what form will you prototype your improvement idea?

We will prototype our improvement idea by running simulations of various failure-point scenarios on a handful of stewardship entities formats, like ReCommon’s RCLT model, Farmers Land Trust’s Commons Model, and others. These simulations will assess at things like resiliency and response to hostile investor takeover, supply chain disruption, catastrophic weather events, development and conservation pressure, etc. We will consult with a cross-disciplinary team of industry experts for review and feedback to ensure that the protocol prototype is of high value.

5- How will you field-test your improvement idea?

Our improvement idea will be field-tested on a real project we are involved with that is forming in the Southern Rockies of Colorado, USA. We will use the protocol to stress-test the stewardship entity in the context of the project, with the actual team of stakeholders.

6- Who will be able to judge the quality of your output?

Caroline Aubry, Sam Powers, Todd Youngblood, Jason Snyder, Brandon Letsinger, Kristina Villa, Ian McSweeney, Eduardo Esparza, Nicole Reese, Benjamin Life, Eric Amyot

7- How will you publish and evangelize your improvement idea?

The updated protocol will be published online, available to view and use for free. At ReCommon, we will evangelize the protocol improvement as a regular user of it in our work and speaking to at it at the various events and conferences we attend. We hope to present it and introduce it to others at Edge City Esmerelda in June.

8- What is the success vision for your idea?

The success vision for our idea is a distributed network of regenerative bioregional communities, working with stewardship entities that are founded on solid, adaptable land tenure protocols of equitable and ecological land stewardship, serving as a beacon of inspiration and an actionable pathway for a positive future that supports the whole web of life.
x: @recommon_land


A couple further points speaking to how our PIG approaches:

Emerging complexity with backwards compatibility

  • complexity can shift to reflect naturally organizing biocultural areas of relevancy, larger or smaller than the original Bioregional Node. These can, for example, relate to large or small watersheds, indigenous communities, etc.
  • Pattern-level templates leads to place-based implementation, with a clear pathway towards progressive decentralization and multiple compatible entity types operating on the same protocol

Long Germ Adaptability vs Ossification

  • multi-stakeholder governance system works at all scales, in any landscape - is incorporated at the ecoregion scale but can adapt to larger or smaller areas
  • Certain core tenets, agreements and values are embedded into the protocol that are immutable, related to foundational stewardship and land use patterns, while other aspects remain flexible with adaption to place being encouraged.
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