Various articulations of "design principles" for a commons, hopefully inspirational to others:
Note that Ostrom is speaking primarily of "natural" land, stewarded or cultivated in some sense collectively, but not, for instance, a cultural commons or a commons in an urban context.
From Ted Bergstrom:
Ostrom attempts to identify common features of societies and institutions that promoted their efficacy and survival. She enumerates these "Design Principles Illustrated by Long-Enduring CPR institutions" as follows.
- Clearly defined boundaries, defining who can withdraw common resources and who cannot. This feature makes the resources ”common property” of insiders but does not allow “open access” to outsiders.
- Appropriation rules that restrict time, place, technology, and/or quantity of resources withdrawn, where these rules are tailored to local conditions.
- Collective choice rules that allow most individuals affected by rules to participate in any modification of these rules.
- Monitoring of compliance, where the monitors are accountable to the local resource appropriators. Self-enforcement by group members is a critical feature of most successful solutions. Usually this works better than attempts to enforce rules passed by a an outside government that is ill-equipped to enforce these rules.
- Graduated sanctions for non-compliance, where the severity of sanctions depend on the severity and context of the offense.
- Access to rapid, low-cost arenas to resolve conflict among uses and between users and officials.
- Minimal recognition of the right to organize by a national or local government.
- For larger common pools, the presence of governance activities organized in multiple layers of nested enterprises.
- This list appears in her 1990 book  (page 90) and also in her Journal of Economic Perspectives article .