Starting from the consideration that commons are a collective construction linked to dynamic forms of social relations, the paper investigates – through a case analysis – the relationship between commoning processes in the field of urbanisation and the construction of ethically-oriented economies to maintain and enhance territorial heritage. The ’theoretical framework of urban commons, urban variation of commons, is applied to Ballarò, one of the three historic markets in Palermo, to assess whether the attempt to establish a community economy could be read as a strategy for regenerating a complex system of resources like a historic market. Stemming from a research-action experience, the paper tells the attempt to build a community economy operated by a touristic cooperative. It aims to develop and promote a concept of cultural tourism alternative to mass tourism, capable of establishing a direct relationship between travellers and territory as a ‘social laboratory’, recognising the real resource to preserve in the social capital of the historical market. According to the analytical scheme elaborated by Elinor Ostrom, this experience will be read in order to identify the mechanisms of self-organisation in the case of collective resource management.
commons; urban commons; commoning; retail gentrification; community-based economy