Our Mission Statement

To help small communities
self-organize, save $$$ and CO2,
and become stronger.
Frequently Asked Questions
Founding Philosophy
Member Guide
CommonsTown Demo

Try our “CommonsTown” Demo Site!

Commons Community Intro
in 70 seconds!

The Commons Communities platform provides small rural communities with a local online infrastructure -- “information plumbing” -- to help its members self-organize to save time, money, and CO2.

An online Commons means a place to share community information: local small business info, local services, local events, and other things that make up a community. With a Commons, we can self-organize Carpools and commutes to larger nearby towns, to save ourselves $$$ and CO2. Its Classified/Want Ads can be used for tool-sharing and time-swapping as well as stuff-selling and yard-saling. The creative potential of small communities to use the Web to self-organize has been largely untapped.

The Commons Communities are trying to change that.

Everyone in our local community shops at the same grocery store, visits the same distant doctors and dentists' offices, spends at the same far-away malls, drives half an hour to the same musical performances... and we all live near each other, in a shared home territory. We like living where we live.

That nearness can be used to good advantage -- to save money, to save CO2, and to live an even better life -- with a little help from our local Commons.

Members have a variety of useful site tools, all free for Members to use:

Rural folks pay out half again as much on transportation costs compared to urban folks. But we can change that: in a community of a few thousand people like ours, there's almost always some neighbor going your way. The Commons Carpool helps community Members find each other and make plans, and it suggests cost-splitting amounts based on distance. Commons Carpool can save everybody $$$ and CO2, by letting us self-organize and plan shared trips. Trip-to-town and Trip-to-the-city travel costs can be cut in half, or more. If you commute to those towns, the Commons Carpool can help find others who also commute, or who are happy to do the commute on Thursday, to spend a day in that nearby city or town.... Savings can be significant!

The Commons Classified/Want Ads can help you find or offer local services, or borrow or rent a neighbor's machines, tools, or time. Want a music lesson, or to give away your piano? Post in the Classifieds! Planning a garage or yard sale? Post in the Classifieds! These listings are not only searchable, but are interactive: the Commons Communication tools let us send messages, questions, answers, and notifications to other Members directly ("Really? I can get your piano just by picking it up from you??").

Our locally-run businesses -- like local bakers, egg producers, landscapers, insurance agents, CSAs, and other producers and service providers nearby -- can list their services and products in the Commons Business Listings. It's like the old local phone books' Yellow Pages, but now they're free, and searchable by any local Commons member! And, the local business owner has editorial control over their own listings: name, description, contact info, and more.

All small Communities like ours have a continuous stream of events -- Musical and theater performances, weekly gatherings, and upcoming Special Events of all kinds -- it's tough to keep track of them all! Any Member can post to the Events Calendar for upcoming events, and use the Commons Chat to answer any question from any other Member of the Commons.

Each Member controls their own Commons identity, sharing as much or as little information as they choose with the other Members of the Commons community. (Each Commons is a closed community; its private info is never shared with the wider Internet.) Every Commons has a local Manager, who is the coordinator, and cheerleader, and "Site Admin," keeping things kind, and solving any data or site issues that arise. The Commons helps the community keep out spammers, and scammers, and non-members of the community. The community controls the implementation of the Commons tools, as it chooses.

There's lots more -- the possibilities for clever efficiencies within a community, once we can all easily connect and coordinate, are immense!

How are "All Free" Commons Communities possible? How does this project make money, pay its people, and survive? Read the Frequently Asked Questions to find out, but in short, we believe that we can work out a reasonably sustainable financial model via local sponsorships, other partnerships, and large foundation support, once we're fully rolling.

We are now (in the middle of 2024) testing the full system in three very diverse small communities: two in the US (Ferdinand, Indiana, regional pop ~ 4,000, and Bluff, Utah, regional pop ~ 600), and one in Canada's Nova Scotia (Tatamagouche's TataCommons.com, regional pop ~ 2000). Note: If you are NOT from those places, please do NOT sign in to any of them (we aren't unfriendly, just local). Instead, try the CommonsTown Demo to see how the platform works, and then consider if you want to figure out how to initiate a Commons Communities site for your own microregion.

Starting one up requires some time and effort, and isn't for everyone, but if you're interested in exploring being a Manager for your own small community (ideally of more than 300, and less than 3000), then send a note to Manager at TataCommons Dot com (retype in email format please). We hope to be deciding next steps and next communities in August-Sept, 2024.

Michael Jensen
Founder, mwmwm llc, and mwmwm inc.
Founder, commonscommunities.com
Manager, TataCommons.com

  “If we can save $$$ and CO2 and live better -- what's stopping us?”  
Copyright 2023 mwmwm, llc and 2023 mwmwm, inc.