Funding the Cooperative City. New models for community spaces – Rome, May 5-7

Funding the Cooperative City. New models for community spaces – Rome, May 5-7

Banner_Rome_WEBSITEOn May 5-7 Rome will host “Funding the Cooperative City. New models for community spaces“. The workshop is organized by Eutropian, a planning, policy and research organization helping urban regeneration processes, together with many institutional and private partners. The event aims at discovering new economic models for community-led urban development through experiences and initiatives from Italy and Europe.

Christian Iaione, LabGov founder and director, professor of Public Law at LUISS University, Rome and member of the International Association for the Study of the Commons, will intervene during the first session held on Thursday on “Community financing in collaboration with the Administration“, in dialogue with Stefania De Masi (Cascina Roccafranca, Turin), Annet van Otterloo (Afrikaanderwijk Cooperative, Rotterdam), Jeroen Laven (ZoHo – Stipo, Rotterdam), Massimo Allulli (Area Studi ANCI), Angelo Melpignano (WithYouWeDo Telecom Crowdfunding).

The next two day the two sessions will cover the following themes: “Self-organized financing and management of local resources” and “Workshop on territorial impact“.

Here is the program of the event.

More about Eutropian in our previous article.


Dal 5 al 7 Maggio, Roma ospiterà “Funding the Cooperative City. New models for community spaces“, workshop organizzato da Eutropian al fine di scoprire, attraverso la condivisione di esperienze italiane ed europee, nuovi modelli economici che sostengano lo sviluppo urbano ad opera della comunità.

Qui il programma dell’evento.



habitat-iiiHabitat III is the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, taking place in Quito, Ecuador, 17–20 October 2016.

In the Prague conference the discussions covered various topics, and in the Prague declaration they noted the importance of promoting:

  • Innovative and productive cities.
  • Green, compact, resource efficient and resilient cities.
  • Inclusive and safe cities.
  • Good urban governance.

They point out a need to plan and manage urban areas through the cooperation of national governments with regional and local authorities and communities with established coordination mechanism. Cities need to be enabled and empowered in order to be key actors in the implementation of sustainable urban development based on the principles of sustainable development. Citizens should be involved and consulted in a well-designed system of multi-level governance. There is also a need to assure compliance to legal requirements by independent institutions acting in land governance, land registration. International cooperation and exchanges between national, regional and local authorities can promote sustainable economic development, social and environment protection. Social cohesion, better access to services, urban safety. Long term and non-speculative, risk informed investments in housing and urban development can stimulate employment in cities. Resource efficiency and promoting sustainable consumption and production patterns are critical elements for cities to manage growth, increase resource productivity, and decouple economic growth from increased resource use and its environmental impact. Efforts to protect and safeguard the cultural and natural heritage. Promote economic development and job creation.

The following step was Barcelona where the main topic was public spaces. From the Barcelona Declaration came out that:

  • Human rights are a key to advancing and developing an urbanization that is sustainable and socially inclusive, that promotes equality, combats discrimination in all its forms and empowers individuals and communities.
  • The Right to the City is a new paradigm that provides an alternative framework to re-think cities and urbanization.
  • There is a need to preserve the character and quality of existing historical public areas, in order to promote and to transmit heritage to the future generations; improve existing public areas in central and peripheral parts of the city, in order to upgrade their quality and foster the sense of belonging of the communities; design new public spaces in built areas and in new urban expansions, to increase the quality of life of the inhabitants and strengthen social stability.

They focus on public spaces because in an even more urbanized world, the right to the city must be guaranteed to the people who share the urban space today and to the coming generations who are going to inherit it tomorrow. In order for the public space to respond to its true purpose and be at the service of the people and achieve the democratization of our cities, it should be tackled from an integrated logic which goes beyond its own physical boundaries and address fundamental dimensions such as 1) “Agora” (its social and political dimension), 2) Mobility, 3) Economy, 4) Housing.

  • AGORA (social and political dimension)
    • Accessibility and inclusivity
    • Versatility
    • Quality design, environmental and human scale
    • Distribution and integration
    • Recreation and health
    • Cultural and political expression
    • Conflict resolution and cohabitation
    • Governance
    • Sustainability and democratic control of basic urban supplies and waste
    • Balance production of wealth and responsible consumption
    • Change of paradigm towards a Post-Car-City
    • Fostering walkability and bike use on a more human public space
    • Implementing democratic and sustainable of public transport networks
    • Right to adequate housing
    • Social function of land, property and city
    • Housing policies and tools

After Barcelona the meeting moved to Pretoria. There the main topic was “Informal Settlements”. Informal settlements are a global urban phenomenon. They exist in urban contexts all over the world, in various forms and typologies, dimensions, locations. While urban informality is more present in cities in developing countries, housing informality and substandard living conditions can also be found in developed countries. The continued existence of informal settlements is directly linked to the persistence of poverty and inequality, distorted land markets, excluding people from decent work and livelihood to attain individual and collective progress and prosperity. Informal settlements are caused by a range of interrelated factors: population growth and rural to urban and international migration, poverty, basic service deficits, poor governance and policy frameworks, limited access to financial markets, land and property. People living in informal settlements are particularly vulnerable to spatial, social, and economic inequalities, dependence on precarious income generation and livelihoods, poor health as well as lack of affordable housing, high vulnerability to the adverse impacts of poor and exposed environments, climate change, and natural disasters. Exclusion, discrimination and marginalisation characterize the life in informal settlements which is exacerbated by displacements, including the one caused by conflict, crisis, natural disasters and climate change.

The recently adopted Agenda 2030 for sustainable development and especially a new transformative urban agenda will have to address the above challenges taking stock of the shortcomings and achievements of the previous development frameworks and approaches.

This process is aimed at producing the New Urban Agenda composed of 22 issue papers about housing and sustainable urban development. Smart technologies and urban governance are new models of participation with social media.


Habitat III è la Conferenza delle Nazioni Unite sui temi di housing e sustainable urban development che si terrà a Quito in Ecuador  in Ottobre 2016. Nella conferenza di Praga i temi evidenziati, che fanno da filo conduttore, sono: città innovative e produttive; il verde pubblico e le città resilienti; città inclusive e sicure; buona governance urbana. Fondamentale il tema della cooperazione tra i cittadini e i governi nazionali, regionali e locali. Praga è solo una delle numerose tappe di questo processo che porteranno alla conferenza di Quito.

IASC European Regional Conference, Bern 10-13 May 2016

IASC European Regional Conference, Bern 10-13 May 2016


LabGov with professor Christian Iaione will take part in the next IASC conference!

The 4th European Regional Meeting of IASC will have place in Bern from the 10th to the 13th May with the following subject: “Commons in a ‘glocal’ world: global connections and local responses”. IASC (International Association for the Study of the Commons) was founded in 1989 to bring together multi-disciplinary researchers and policymakers, with the purpose of advancing the understanding and improving governance of common-pool resources.

This conference main goal is to provide a space to debate on the ongoing “glocal” processes, which are often not yet addressed in a systematic way. The conference aims at debating the impacts of external changes on the perception and evaluation of resources by actors related to the commons, and thus affecting the access to common-pool resources.

Since the importance of the conference subject, LabGov has decided to participate by submitting a paper in the B20 panel, which would like to examine the concept of Smart Cities in India, and contrast it with the advances that other countries made in redefining their concepts of urban commons.

The paper submitted by prof. Iaione, with the title “The Sharing, Collaborative, Cooperative City”, will be discussed within its panel on Wednesday 11th May. This paper aims at examining the concept of design elements of a smart city from people’s perspective, while generating a significant body of comparative empirical knowledge about sharing economies and their governance within global cities.

The conference will entirely take place in the Social Anthropology Institute of the University of Bern.


LabGov a Berna per discutere di beni comuni. Il coordinatore del gruppo, il prof. Christian Iaione, è autore di un paper che sarà discusso all’interno della Conferenza Regionale Europea di IASC, che si terrà a Berna tra il 10 e il 13 maggio. La conferenza ha lo scopo di analizzare come i processi “glocal” del nostro tempo influenzino la percezione e dunque la gestione dei beni comuni.

UrbanMeta, Eutropian and an Advice from the Research

UrbanMeta, Eutropian and an Advice from the Research

logo-urbanmeta-500x200UrbanMeta represents a large part of the Venetian civil society and stakeholders of the building sector. This network includes economic groups, professionals, universities, trade unions, builders and environmentalists. These actors have decided to be a part of a worktable to face the issues of the government of the area and the land consumption in a multi-disciplinary approach that allows achieving a sustainable growth through urban regeneration processes.

UrbanMeta’s vision is explained by the manifesto “Un Patto per un programma regionale di strategie politiche di Rigenerazione Urbana Sostenibile – Obiettivi e valori per le città venete del futuro” in which it is said that the launch of urban regeneration innovative policies is fundamental and urgent for the cultural, economic, politic and social growth of the Region. In the report, urban regeneration projects aim to:

  • Stop the expansion of new building;
  • Connect urban areas with rural ones;
  • Encourage the use of urban planning and rethinking administrative practices;
  • Promote mixité, equity and social inclusion;
  • Stimulate citizen participation;
  • Innovate building practices;
  • Simplify legislation and procedures.

According to this plan, UrbanMeta undertakes to build an integrated system of communication among stakeholders, became the local pivot in this sector, examine the possibilities given by the EU financing programmes and train experts in urban regeneration system. Then, stakeholders ask the Veneto Region to target EU funds at regeneration programmes, to work in Conferenza Stato-Regioni to promote a national legislation and to adopt a regional law on this matter.

UrbanMeta is not the only project in this field, another one is Eutropian. According to the website, it is “alogo eutropianplanning, policy and research organisation helping urban regeneration processes”. They offer assistance to municipalities, NGOs and community groups, policy development and fundraising, cooperation and communication activities. Their specialization concerns “urban regeneration, cultural development, community participation, local economic development and social innovation”. Eutropian offer, also, a multi-disciplinary approach (such as UrbanMeta) that allows activating urban unused resources with the help of experts and citizen knowledge. The main difference with UrbanMeta is about the dimension: Eutropian operates at world level whereas UrbanMeta at local one. This international know-how follows different tiers:

  • Environmental Planning: open spaces in urban areas are more than just recreational purposes: they can lead economic local growth in a natural environment. It is possible to bring together offer and demand to a balanced solution for both sides;
  • Urban Regeneration: it relates to the involvement of human and financial capital to reuse abandoned industrials sites, cinemas or schools. Regeneration might be the way to discover the potential of the city;
  • Cultural Development: the identity and the meaning of a city is done by a “permanent yet constantly changing culture”.
  • Smart City: ICT is a tool that can improve our lives, on the condition that it is used wisely. A multi-disciplinary approach is fundamental to reach energy efficiency in buildings, smart grids, digital platform, etc.

To develop local cohesion, Eutropian offers different services: fundraising, international cooperation, project management, participatory planning, policy development and communication.

UrbanMeta and Eutropian’s community-led approach is surely an innovative perspective to face the problem of urban regeneration but there could be some issues.

“Capacity building for community-led regeneration. Facilitating or frustrating public engagement?” by Paul O’Hare is a study of community organization, operating within a UK neighbourhood, supported by an “infrastructure organization”, namely Community Empowerment Network (CEN), a local authority and community and voluntary sector.

According to the author of the paper, the engagement of communities is a revered and integral aspect of governance processes. On the other hand, statutory initiatives raise serious issues although they provide opportunities and support for engagement with the inhabitants of local communities. Moreover, “there was a lack of clarity regarding the definition of “capacity building” but, in broad terms, it refers to the practical support provided to communities to contribute to governance as equal partner, or to enable the wider community to engage in the opportunities provided by economic and social regeneration” (Diamond and Liddle, 2005).

Theoretically, capacity building holds the potential to help communities understand decision-making processes, to communicate more effectively at differing tiers of governance, to take decision, and to eventually “manage their own destinies” (Schuftan, 1996, p. 261). In this case, the focus is turned toward organizational and managerial capacity of local communities to assume responsibility leading regeneration programmes. In practice, capacity building takes a variety of forms, namely, the provision of practical support and the development of skills and structures (Diamond and Liddle, 2005, p.148). A range of agencies, i.d. CENs, may build this capacity: here, CENs, primarily established to help local communities pursue the UK Government’s Neighbourhood, play a supporting, coordinating, representative, policymaking and developmental role for other voluntary and community organization.

This research shows many problems such as:

  • Groups can become preoccupied with top-down forms of fiscal and operational accountability rather than bottom-up forms of accountability;
  • Partnership established may in fact be manipulated in a variety of manners and to a range of ends (Rowe, 2006):;
  • Dilemma of institutionalization;
  • Restrictions upon activity of actors are enacted through regulation, incentivisation and surveillance (Richards and Smith, 2002);
  • Governance becomes more complex;
  • Groups engaged in activities for which they receive payment from the state may neglect the important function of campaigning (result of coercion, self-censorship, lack of time, etc.);
  • Funders can be more interested in how money is spent than in the merits of projects;
  • Given that the group was spending public money, there were a set of “absolutely legitimate formalities they have to cover” and local government becomes a manifestation of centralised control;
  • The group is entirely formed by volunteers that lack the capacity to address problems as and when they arise, so they depend upon the CEN to take care of such issues.

In conclusion, according to this article, we discover that community organisations may develop a significant degree of dependency upon facilitators such as CENs. Thus, there is the risk that capacity becomes something developed rather than built in a linear style. Furthermore, the external initiatives can restrict the autonomy of the community-based groups. These outcomes are very important because they give us the opportunity to understand community-led approach vulnerabilities and a try to improve this policy.


L’approccio community-led alle pratiche di riqualificazione urbana riscuote un grande successo nelle odierne esperienze di settore. Riprova di questo, sono il network UrbanMeta e l’associazione Eutropian, che seppur in modo diverso, lavorano nel campo della riqualificazione urbana mantenendo salto il riferimento al coinvolgimento della comunità. Il community-led approach, però, mostra però alcune problematicità che si sostanziano principalmente nella dipendenza degli attori locali nei confronti dei facilitatori pubblici.

April 27 “La periferia come bene comune” conference: for a new culture of the city.

April 27 “La periferia come bene comune” conference: for a new culture of the city.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016 from 17:00 PM, the event “Per una nuova cultura della città: la periferia come bene comune”organized by Giovani per Roma Association will be held at Sala Quaroni , placed in via Ciro il Grande in Rome EUR. Professor Christian Iaione  from LabGov will partecipate to  discuss the role of urban common as the engine for the regeneration of the suburbs. The  main theme of the conference is urban innovation: how current urban dimensions could represent challenges fostering original future models of governance? In fact, the idea that lies behind this new critical way to organize the city is to build together a robust yet innovative system and to rethink the spaces and services putting at the centre stage the role of the citizenship. Other crucial issues will be addressed: the respect for the environment, the enhancement of the territory and the quality of life.

The event will be opened by Andrea Santoro, President of Municipio Roma IX. The conference will be attended by the following experts: Massimo Alvisi from Alvisikirimoto+Partners, Francesco Marsico from Caritas Italia, Davide Lottieri as President of Campus Bio-Medico Spa, Maurizio Gubbiotti as Special Commissioner for RomaNatura, Roberto Setola as Founder of the Italian Association for experts in Critical Infrastructures, Nicola Ferrigni for LinkLab and Francesco Limone as Director of ELIS Corporate School.

Here the full program of the event.

To participate please send a message to: INFO@GIOVANIXROMA.ORG.

roma periferia



Il 27 Aprile 2016 ore 17:00 LabGov prenderà parte grazie all’intervento del Professor Christian Iaione all’incontro “PER UNA NUOVA CULTURA DELLA CITTÀ: LA PERIFERIA COME BENE COMUNE”. L’evento avrà luogo presso la Sala Quaroni – Via Ciro il Grande, 16 – Sede EUR- Roma. Il tema principale dell’incontro sarà come le attuali dimensioni urbane pongono nuove sfide al futuro della città ed ai modelli di governo.A seguito del convegno verrà istituito un gruppo di lavoro multidisciplinare per la stesura di un documento programmatico per lo sviluppo e la valorizzazione del ruolo delle periferie nel contesto urbano e sociale di Roma Capitale. Per prendere parte al convegno scrivere a INFO@GIOVANIXROMA.ORG