Ostrom’s Design Principles in Residential Public Open Space Governance: Conceptual Framework and Literature Review


  • Gabriel Ling Hoh Teck CIPD, Faculty of Built Environment, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
  • Noor Eeda Haji Ali CIPD, Faculty of Built Environment, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
  • Ho Chin Siong CIPD, Faculty of Built Environment, Universiti Teknologi, Malaysia
  • Hishamuddin Mohd Ali Faculty of Geoinformation and Real Estate, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia




Various measures were undertaken to internalize the state-owned common pool resource (CPR) based public open space’s (POS) externalities which arisen from the perennial commons’ dilemmas, yet, to date, not a single adaptive governance strategy has been discovered. Thus, a review of trans-disciplinary analytic perspectives is required, which thereof, highlights the objective of the paper i.e., to propose Ostrom’s common-property-based self-organizing eight design principles by examining how can they be adaptably applied in governing the residential commons, POS (particularly landed property) in the Malaysian context. Two study areas: states of Sabah and Selangor, of different institutional POS governance, were a priori fleshed out. Succinctly, Ostrom’s principles are basic, insightful, well-defined, organized, and widely-applicable, which have enabled us to consent that there is certainly a void for both states to adapt her oeuvre as a dynamic panacea in POS governance. This paper infers that Ostrom’s principles are a means to improve the status quo of POS’ quality (as POS rejuvenation) which postulates stakeholders to reckon it as a new paradigm in the urban design and planning perspective


Agrawal, A. (2001). Common Property Institutions and Sustainable Governance of Resources. World Development, 29(10), 1649–1672.

Baland, J.M., & Platteau, J.P. (1996). Halting Degradation of Natural Resources: Is There a Role for Rural Communities? FAO, UN; Clarendon Press, Oxford.

Buchanan, J. M. (1965). An economic theory of clubs. Economica, 32, 1–14.

Carpenter, J., Bowles, S., & Gintis, H. (2006). Mutual monitoring in teams: theory and experimental evidence on the importance of reciprocity, Working Paper IZA.

Chan, H.C. (2008). Impacting Change Through Good Governance, Environmental Management, and Smart Partnerships. Penang Economic Monthly.

Chiesura, A. (2004). The role of urban parks for the sustainable city. Landscape and Urban Planning, 68(1), 129–138.

Colding, J., Barthel, S., Bendt, P., Snep, R., Van der Knaap, W., & Ernstson, H. (2013). Urban green commons: Insights on urban common property systems. Global Environmental Change.

Cox, M., & Arnold, G. (2010). A Review of Design Principles for Community-based Natural Resource, 15(4).

Department of Statistics. (2010). 2010 Population and Housing Census of Malaysia (in Malay and English). Retrieved 28 August 2014.

Dietz, T., Ostrom, E., & Stern, P. C. (2003). The struggle to govern the commons. Science, 302, 1907-1912.

Foster, S. (2011). Collective Action and the Urban Commons. Notre Dame Law Review, 87.

Hanna, S.S., Folke, C., & Maler, K.G. (1996). Rights to Nature: Ecological, Economic, Cultural and Political Principles of Institutions for the Environment. Island

Press, Washington, DC.

Hardin, G. (1968). The tragedy of the commons. Science, 162, 1243–48.

Ho, D. C. W., & Gao, W. (2013). Collective action in apartment building management in Hong Kong. Habitat International, 38, 10–17.

Lee, S., & Webster, C. (2006). Enclosure of the urban commons. GeoJournal, 66(1-2), 27–42.

Ling, G., Ho, C. S., & Ali, H. M. (2014a). Institutional property rights structure, common pool resource (CPR), tragedy of the urban commons: A Review. IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science, 18, 012184.

Ling, G.H.T., Ho, C. S., & Ali, H. M. (2014b). Diverse property-rights structure impacts on urban-rural public open space (POS) governance: Sabah, Malaysia. Manuscript submitted for publication (in press).

Marzukhi, M. A., Karim, H. A., & Latfi, M. F. (2012). Evaluating the Shah Alam City Council Policy and Guidelines on the Hierarchy of Neighborhood Open Space. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 36(June 2011), 456–465.

McKean, M. (2000) Common property: What is it, what is it good for, and what makes it work?, in C.C. Gibson, M.A. McKean and E. Ostrom, eds, People and Forests: Communities, Institutions, and Governance, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.

Musole, M. (2009). Property rights, transaction costs and institutional change: Conceptual framework and literature review. Progress in Planning, 71(2), 43–85.

Nelson, R. H. (2002). The Rise of Private Neighborhood Associations : A Constitutional Revolution in Local Government.

Olson, M. (1965). The logic of collective action: Public goods and the theory of groups. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Ostrom, E. (1990). Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Ostrom, E. (2005). Understanding Institutional Diversity. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Ostrom, E. (2007). Sustainable social–ecological systems: an impossibility? Social Science Research Network, Rocherster, New York, USA.

Ostrom, E. (2008). Institutions and the environment. Economic Affairs, 28(3), 24–31.

Ostrom, E. (1999). Design Principles and Threats to Sustainable Organizations that Manage Commons. Paper for electronic conference on Small Farmer's Economic Organizations, organized by Julio A. Berdegue. Santiago, Chile, March 15–April 30.

Ostrom, E., Gardner, R., & Walker, J. (1994). Rules, Games, and Common-Pool Resources. The University of Michigan Press, 1994.

Pigou, A. C. (1920). The Economics of Welfare. London: Macmillan.

Pinkerton, E., & Weistein, M. (1995). Fisheries That Work: Sustain- ability Through Community-Based Management. David Suzuki Foundation, Vancouver, BC.

Sarker, A., & Itoh, T. (2001). Design principles in long-enduring institutions of Japanese irrigation common-pool resources. Agricultural Water Management, 48(2), 89–102.

Schlager E., & Ostrom E. (1996). Property-Rights Regimes and Natural Resources: A Conceptual Analysis Property-Rights Regimesand Natural Resources, 68(3), 249–62.

Stevenson, G.G. (1991), Common Property Economics: A General Theory and Land Use Applications, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Van Laerhoven, F. (2010). Governing community forests and the challenge of solving two-level collective action dilemmas—A large-N perspective. Global Environmental Change, 20(3), 539–546.

Van Laerhoven, F., & Barnes, C. (2014). Communities and commons: the role of community development support in sustaining the commons. Community Development Journal, 49 (suppl 1), 118–132.

Wade, R. (1988). Village Republics. Economic Conditions for Collective Action in South India. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, MA.

Webster, C. (2002). Property rights and the public realm: gates, green belts, and Gemeinschaft. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 29(3), 397–412.

Webster, C. (2005). Editorial: Diversifying the institutions of local planning. Economic Affairs, 25(4), 4–10.

Webster, C. (2007). Property rights , public space and urban, 78(September 2005), 81–102.

Webster, C. J., Lee, S. S., Melián, G., Calzada, G., & Carr, R. (2013). A Property Rights Analysis of Urban Planning in Spain and UK. European Planning Studies, 21(10), 1475–1490.

Wilson, D. S., Ostrom, E., & Cox, M. E. (2013). Generalizing the core design principles for the efficacy of groups. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 90, S21–S32.




How to Cite

Teck, G. L. H., Haji Ali, N. E., Siong, H. C., & Ali, H. M. (2014). Ostrom’s Design Principles in Residential Public Open Space Governance: Conceptual Framework and Literature Review. International Journal of Built Environment and Sustainability, 1(1). https://doi.org/10.11113/ijbes.v1.n1.5