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Enhancing Collaboration & Learning with Community Commons Spaces

Updated: Apr 4

Community Commons Spaces—a product from the Institute for People, Place, and Possibility (IP3)—equip organizations and communities with a customizable online content library for knowledge management, powered by the Community Commons back-end knowledgebase.

Community Commons Spaces originated from the idea that adopting knowledge management processes and practices helps organizations more effectively retain and build upon prior learning—effective knowledge sharing and collaboration are vital for fostering thriving communities. But through our work, we saw that for complex, multi-sector community change work, traditional approaches to knowledge management don't work. We wondered what it would look like to manage knowledge and information for an entire learning community, coalition, or multi-stakeholder collaborative. We wanted to bring the principles of knowledge management into the work of equitable, sustainable community change, and leverage the thousands of hand-curated resources, tools, guides, and stories we’ve been developing and refining for over a decade on We asked ourselves, what if we provide a portal into the Community Commons content library through the lens and the priorities of an organization or collaborative?

Community Commons Spaces emerged as a response to the challenge of knowledge fragmentation and the proliferation of web-based resource libraries. Standalone resource libraries and websites risk fragmenting the collective field of knowledge. Community Commons Spaces provide a unique platform for knowledge and learning where community members can connect, share information, and engage in collaborative efforts. Community Commons offers a robust, sustainable resource library, and Spaces provide the ability for communities to curate a subset of resources, customize the website look and feel, searchable topics, and content organization, and develop learning objectives and learning journeys to align knowledge across partners and stakeholders.

In our experience working with changemakers and communities seeking to advance equitable wellbeing, knowledge management and co-learning create shared language and values and catalyze collective action. However, countless resources—time, money, and creative energy—are spent recreating the wheel, and keeping online libraries updated is an ongoing challenge. Community Commons Spaces provide a solution.

Community Commons Spaces serve as a hub for collaboration, learning, and knowledge sharing among community (or coalition) members. They facilitate exchange of ideas, resources, and best practices. Organizations can personalize their Spaces to reflect unique branding, colors, logos, and topics of interest. By incorporating their visual identity, they create a familiar and cohesive environment for community members to engage with. Spaces provide an opportunity to go beyond a simple resource repository. Spaces are configured with customizable navigation, learning tools, content organization, narrative context, and data dashboards, to enhance understanding and application of knowledge for broader community impact.

See some of our Community Commons Spaces in action below, and click here to learn more about the product!


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Public Health Association convened the Alliance for Disease Prevention and Response, and found “there are a vast number of useful resources around the country, but after consultation with our partners, we have found that there is no one “go-to”, easy to navigate place to find all of them.” Together, we created PHERN or the Public Health and Equity Resource Navigator. This solution was designed to be a way to connect and share resources widely and to make sure that people can find what they need. Launched in April of 2022, this Community Commons space features nearly 1000 resources covering 16 curated topics with a focus on equity and systems.


North Sound Accountable Community of Health (ACH) is a nonprofit organization that leads the region’s movement to advance equitable well-being. As the organization explored how to continue advancing equitable well-being after the Medicaid Transformation Project ends, they recognized their existing expertise as a technical assistance provider and trusted convener to build a resource repository. A Community Commons Space is how the North Sound ACH is making resources available to partners and community members across the region. Launched in August of 2021, this Community Commons Space features 40 topics and a focus on learning.


HIAs are usually conducted to evaluate the potential effects of a specific plan, project, or policy before it is built or implemented and provide practical recommendations to increase positive health effects and minimize negative health effects. However, HIA results are often applicable to a broad array of policies, programs, plans, and projects. Conducting a formal HIA can be costly; when possible, it’s helpful to research HIAs already done by others and to glean key takeaways from their work and research. This Space simplifies the process of researching existing HIAs, so policymakers and community organizers can maximize resources by building on others’ work and move more quickly into implementation.


Community Commons Spaces enhance collaboration and knowledge-sharing, foster stronger communities, and drive positive change. Consider a Community Commons Spaces to unlock the potential for collaboration, engagement, and collective learning within your community!


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