My last article, written with my colleague and friend Jorge León, for
In it, we analyse how fit into European public law, questioning the viability of the 3rd way (neither public nor private).

In order to do so, we first develop the way in which European public administrations have conceived the model of participatory urban planning, highlighting the specific place and role played by citizen participation in programmes such as or the .

We then set out the legal-political logics behind the terms "private", "public" and "common". Each one with different implications that significantly condition the possibilities and capacities of participatory and communal practices.

Finally, we conducted a case study analysis in that allows us to contrast abstract discourses with effective practices. Specifically, we focus on land ownership and access, institutionalisation and collaboration with public and private entities.

Some important findings from the text are:
1) participatory ≠ common
2) theory ≈ praxis
3) the precariousness (economic, but also legal) of the casts doubt on the 3rd way, hindering its capacity for real transformation.

I'll leave the rest of the results and conclusions to you, as the text is better developed (and deals with more things that don't fit here): (unfortunately, only in Spanish)

Finally, the article is part of a special issue for on the social production of habitat and urban commons, coordinated by Cecilia Zapata and Ibán Díaz Parra (whom we thank for letting us be part of it).

And, of course, I would like to thank the editor,, for her comments, which enriched the text, and for her willingness and hard work. All in all, it has been a very positive experience.

@ccamara When I hear about a "3rd way" as a Dutch person I think of the "maatschappelijk middelveld", which Wikipedia sees as the same as "civil society".

They would include churches, labor unions, building cooperatives, NGOs, activists, employer unions & product unions. Sometimes these groups even have partial legal or taxing rights. I had thought the term also included public media, private schools & parties & at the edge highly regulated professions (e.g., notaries).

@VictorVenema thanks for the comment. I didn't know that concept, and I will have to explore it. In this context, 3rd way refers to those goods/resources collectively managed neither by the state nor the market. They are, therefore, neither public nor private. Or at, least, they do not follow their logic.

@VictorVenema also, since you are the only Dutch I know, let me ask you something: does that concept has to do with the fact that there are a number of Dutch organizations in the social economy (I.e. Triodos Bank, oiko credit, @Fairphone)?

@ccamara Civil society also collectively manages goods/resources. But I would not see these goods/resources as commons. These groups primarily work for their members. But the third way is not a silo, it takes private and public interest into account.

A product union could determine what properties product X has to have. In the end the police would enforce this. Labor unions negotiate with employer unions. If the result is not excessive the government forces the entire sector to use the bargain.

@ccamara I may be Dutch, but that makes it harder for me to judge what other countries do. That is what you would need to explain the differences.

But it would make sense if it would. Also in The Netherlands (and the UK) democracy grew slowly and organically. So maybe that is why you see this third way, which you could see as remnants of citizens organizing and gaining power at the expense of authoritarian rulers on the way to democratic government.

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