The transition to a world of the Commons corresponds to the establishment of a new social contract

The transition to a world of the Commons corresponds to the establishment of a new social contract

The neoliberal world-system has entered a multiple crisis, while the stalemate of the growth function is hampering the socio-economic progress. Energy provision, climate stability, food production and distribution, public service provision, land access and political stability are consequentially threatened by a system that is no more sustainable and self-reliant.

Moreover, the congestion and the rivalry upon the use and exploitation of resources leave no room for development, at least if the current structural paradigm is not questioned.

Seemingly, the current society is at the margin of disruption and far obviously, existing institutional structures are not functioning properly.

To put it differently, a wave of disruption is sweeping in from various marginal corners, in particular from the contours of cities that are slowly becoming the cemetery of social cohesiveness.

Though, the problem is much easier to identify than expected: a non-participatory attitude of citizens in the public life dislocates the foundations of civil society.

Nonetheless the problem is different: why citizens are not feeling included in the decision-making processes or in the public life?

Once again the answer is simple, if we accept that normal bureaucratic procedures and institutional ecosystems are not citizen-friendly.

The focal question then, is about redesigning existing structures in a functional way and in a sense that they could become appealing and welcoming.

Arguably the claim is not complex: if the functioning of the society were based on cooperation, solidarity, democracy, equality and responsibility, there would be enough reason to claim ownership over public spaces. And if people eventually get the chance to enjoy the public space, simply because they feel attached to it, energies and input would naturally flow into the social machinery.

Thus, the emergence of the idea of the Commons is instrumental to the paradigm shift. It is not merely about a smooth transition, but widely, it is the product of an exploding social enrichment.

The transition to a world of the commons corresponds to the establishment of a new social contract, which can defend and promote the opportunity for people to participate at the making of public life.

In a sense, opening the system to a path of systemic collaboration can stimulate a pioneering form of social co-working between the principal political, economic and social agents.

However, it is clear enough that a common-based economy cannot flourish without appropriate institutions, especially those that should play a sustaining role in the direct creation of value by civil society (see the concept elaborated by Michel Bauwens of the Partner State ).

It is for this reason that shareable cities have always represented an ideal chimera, till today.

Quoting an article by Jonathan Dawson appeared recently on The Guardian, it is from the marginal corners of our society that a new wave of disruptive innovation is coming.

Shifting from a passive form of electoral democracy to a generative democracy of radical engagement is what is currently happening in Italy, and it is real.

The city of Bologna and the “Regulation on public collaboration”  (see also the article on Bologna Regulation on Public collaboration) carry a new vision of the sharing city, or commons-oriented one. Professor Christian Iaione, LabGov Coordinator, is one of the pioneers of such institutional innovation.

As he argues, what we need is a nudging class, in order to drive and convince society and institutions that sharing is the new frontier of social innovation.

The five actors of collaborative governance, as subscribed in the Quintuple Helix approach (expressed in LabGov logo), represent the emergence of an innovative platform of open cities.

Professor Iaione took seriously the idea that citizens have energy, imagination and responsibility, but mainly, that people can become themselves innovators, service designers, co-workers and experts.

And for those who think that Commons are just a naïve and ingenuous pretence, they may be interested in the dozen of other Italian cities that are emulating the Bologna initiative.

As LabGov, we are making governance at grassroots level because people need a new vision, new energies and powerful social relations to come out from a bottom-up perspective.

The economy of the commons cannot simply be understood as a ready to go policy, but I feel that wherever there would be enough imagination and confidence, we can really work on the role of collaboration.

Our commitment is just the first step for bringing a new social narrative, but there is only one way to challenge the typical narrow thinking, and that is about being agents of collaboration.

Therefore also LabGov owes a debt of gratitude to all those experts, professionals, citizens, students, and courageous pioneers that are collaborating for making this change real. See more at:


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Il fallimento dell’attuale configurazione istituzionale, nonché il susseguirsi di crisi economiche, politiche e socio-culturali, hanno lentamente spostato l’asse della società verso una fase di stallo apparentemente irreversibile.

Inoltre, l’incapacità delle amministrazioni pubbliche di fornire servizi adeguati e il contemporaneo disinteresse del cittadino alla vita pubblica, hanno ulteriormente peggiorato la situazione di crisi odierna.

Tuttavia, la soluzione alla crisi appare più semplice se inquadrata nell’ottica di un drastico cambiamento di paradigma istituzionale.

La città come bene comune diviene allora la nuova narrativa che può vincere il dominio dell’egemonia neoliberale.

E le shareable cities, finora ritenute un illusorio esercizio di stile, cominciano a smuovere le fondamenta degli assetti istituzionali tradizionali.

La città di Bologna rappresenta in questo senso un’innovazione, grazie anche al contributo delle idee e delle energie di visionari pionieri della democrazia intesa come inclusione radicale del cittadino, tra cui il Professor Christian Iaione Coordinatore di LabGov.

Il Professor Iaione ha realmente saputo catalizzare le idee e le energie per costruire un sistema istituzionale di governance collaborativa.

Grazie anche a LabGov, nuovi agenti della collaborazione stanno gettando le basi per costruire e coltivare l’innovazione sociale e nuove forme di governance collaborativa.

Una nuova visione della società civile, basata su un virtuoso scambio collaborativo tra stato, cittadino, imprese e università è già in proiezione.


Per questo motivo, LabGov onora il suo debito di gratitudine verso tutti quegli esperti, professionisti, studenti, università, cittadini ed incoscienti pionieri che stanno contribuendo a rendere reale questo cambiamento.

Appare evidente come il movimento dei Commons non possa più essere considerato un fattore di nicchia; rendiamolo globale.


Re-designing and communicating governance: next LabGov workshop is coming!

Re-designing and communicating governance: next LabGov workshop is coming!


Next Friday and Saturday, March the 20th and the 21st LUISS School of Government will host the second LabGov workshop.

After a virtuous beginning with Ernesto Belisario and the Open Data world, LabGov is proud to invite you to a workshop relating to the design and the communication of governance.

This two-day meeting will be organised in the following steps:

Friday, March the 20th: At 4:00 PM, in Room AT03 at Viale Romania, 32 – Rome – Dino Amenduni – social media Manager for Proforma – will start the workshop by introducing communicating skills to create governance of commons.

Saturday, March the 21st: starting at 9:00 AM, in the same room, Daniela Selloni – designer of collaborating services and social innovation – will describe designing techniques for the creation – and management – of urban commons.

Here is the program:

20- 21 marzo


Disegnare e comunicare la governance: il prossimo workshop di LabGov sta arrivando!

Venerdì 20 e sabato 21 marzo l’Università LUISS ospiterà il secondo workshop di LabGov.

Dopo l’interessante inizio con Ernesto Belisario e il mondo degli open data, LabGov è lieto di invitarvi all’incontro per Disegnare e Comunicare la governance.

Per questa settimana, Dino Amenduni – comunicatore politico e responsabile social media di Proforma – e Daniela Selloni – service designer e ricercatrice – ci accomoagneranno nella comprensione della gestione della governance dei beni comuni urbani.