Co-building Architecture: engaging with space and process

Co-building Architecture: engaging with space and process

The city as a Commons is a city that is produced via collaboration between different institutions and decision-making nucleus supporting the active presence of citizens. This idea touches upon different fields of urban development, being Architecture one of them. Historically, Architecture always had a purpose linked to a given historical context, being guided by a specific artistic style or by a way of building. Architecture can convey messages of power or disruption; be it the modernist architecture emerging in the 20th century that claimed the rupture with both neoclassical and beaux-art styles typical of the 19th century to prove the advancement of technology on buildings made of concrete, glass, and metal, or be it the Brutalist architecture of the 50’s-70’s that in countries like Brazil set an architectural style giving less emphasis to the building itself and more attention to its ability to enable social opportunities.

To understand the influence of architecture it is important to contextualize how it can impact the physical and social fabric of cities. That said, as an example, modernist architecture has created less livable cities for establishing buildings that are more spread in a disconnected urban environment counting with the possibility of the private vehicle to overcome bigger distances, thus celebrating the independence of people and their disassociation both with each other and with the city space. A good example of what did not work out in modernist architecture is Brasília, Brazil’s capital built between1956-1960. Brasília is well known both for the beautiful and curvy architectural style of Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer and for the difficulty of mobility and little incidence of street life which shows too much emphasis was given to architectural and urban aesthetics and little attention to its impact on the city’s social opportunities. Brutalist architecture, on the other hand, had opposite principles. It intended to convey a message of social empowerment through buildings with big voids supporting social exchanges. In Brazil, this style of architecture was diffused during the political dictatorship of the 60’s, which threatened people’s freedom. In 1968 Lina Bo Bardi, Italo-Brazilian architect, presented the city of São Paulo with her well-known MASP (Museum of Art of São Paulo), which is still today a civic landmark and a place where people gather to initiate important collective resistance movements.

Architecture has its own history and so has its impact on society. The point I would like to raise is: what is the purpose of Architecture in the ongoing global transition to cities being governed as a common good, and how can architects understand their social responsibility in a context of resources and social services’ commodification crisis?

British architect Alaistar Parvin believes that the great design challenge of the 21st century lies in the democratization of the production. On his talk ‘Architecture for the people by the people’ [1] he emphasizes that “We are moving into this future where the factory is everywhere and the design team is everyone”. As a recently graduated architect in 2008 and with the UK going through an economic crisis he had a crucial insight: designed architecture is a privilege of only 1% of the world population. This means that the impact of architects on society is still very marginal, but would there be a way to scale up architecture’s beneficiaries from 1% to 100%, thus generating a more positive impact of architecture on society? Can cities be conceived not from little people with a lot but from many people with little? With these questions in mind, Parvin came to develop WikiHouse [2]. WikiHouse is an open-source construction system that anyone can access online and download to build private houses – or to be more precise, to assemble them. Its different elements can be shaped by CNC and laser cutting machines using plywood sheets thus making it easy and accessible for anyone with or without building techniques expertise to build a sustainable house in a day, while also adapting it to personal needs. This all means that “technologies are lowering the threshold of time, cost, and skills” [1], and that all of us are becoming entitled to control the means of production – what somehow goes back to the idea of vernacular architecture where communities build for themselves under commons principles (in this case, under the Creative Commons license). The central pillars of WikiHouse are:

  1. “To put the design solutions for building low-cost, low-energy, high-performance homes into the hands of every citizen and business on earth.”
  2. “To use digitization to make it easier for existing industries to design, invest-in, manufacture and assemble better, more sustainable, more affordable homes for more people.
  3. “ To grow a new, distributed housing industry, comprising many citizens, communities and small businesses developing homes and neighborhoods for themselves, reducing our dependence on top-down, debt-heavy mass housing systems.” [2]









Wikihouse. Image source:

There are other approaches for the democratization of production that do not necessarily count on technological advancement but with hands-on collective efforts. In fact, there is a new generation of young architects that acknowledge the value of collaboration and invite communities to co-design, co-build, and co-manage different architectures that support local development. This collaborative approach generates a different value to architecture, vesting it with a sense of community pride, achievement, and belonging. Moreover, collective processes allow co-involved people to learn techniques of construction and communication that strengthen local resilience and social capital, consequently fostering other processes aiding community development. An example of an architectural practice with this collaborative approach to architecture is Workshop [3], founded in 2012 as a student initiative by architects Alexander Eriksson Furunes, Clementine Blakemore, and Ivar Tutturen. Their portfolio includes projects such as schools and community centers in the Philippines and in India, built with the community and supported by public and private institutions. Workshop has been showing how architects can act as mediators of collective processes by coordinating different people and expertise needed to build both the building and the community itself (when a sense of community is not yet established). Another practice with a collaborative approach and aimed at addressing holistic sustainability (social, environmental, and economic) is aaa (atelier d’architecture autogérée) [4] founded by Doina Petrescu and Constantin Petcou, and working on the design of networks of urban commons’ projects to establish closed-loop activities, with their most disseminated project being R-Urban [5], in France. Moreover, aaa co-developed an online tool, EcoDA [6] to help people coordinate collective management of different projects.

Workshop Architecture. Project in India. Image source:

A more extreme example of citizen-led development is that of architecture without architects, or more precisely, of communities acting as leading architects. The ‘Condomínio Esperança’ (meaning Hope Housing Complex) located in a peripheral neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was built in four years by a group of women with no previous building techniques expertise whatsoever and who belong to a co-operative housing group with the same name ‘Hope’. The housing complex was financed by a municipal institution called ‘Minha Casa Minha Vida Entidades’, which is a branch of a previous institution that did not count with the active participation of its future inhabitants (‘Minha Casa Minha Vida’). The decision to create this new participatory institution seems to have emerged from the awareness of the value of collaboration in the making of better cities. An issue that collaborative processes can clearly overcome is that of government housing institutions placing beneficiaries in areas where social capital must be ignited from scratch to create a sense of belonging and connection between its inhabitants – a process that is not straightforward and requires time. All women involved in the creation of Condomínio Esperança, namely Maria do Carmo Martins, Maria Ribamar Figueiredo Freitas and Vanilsa Queiroz Motta [7], between others who built their homes brick by brick during weekends and free time (although being full-time workers) did so by acknowledging that the value of co-building relies in the possibility of continuous interaction for building both the material and psychic structures that make a community. Not only architecture should be designed by interaction to support better cities but also architecture can design interactions for the same matter. Architecting interaction is the motto of AKKA Architects, an Amsterdam-based architecture firm founded by Stephanie Hughes [8]. For Hughes, the users of a building are the most knowledgeable designers since they offer the insights on how space can be organized to serve its civic purpose. AKKA’s work is thus based on leaving architecture unfinished to some extent so that social appropriation can occur and hint at how architecture can plant the seeds for a better future by supporting wider interaction amongst its different users [9]. Again it becomes clear that architecture can stimulate social exchanges and mutual collaboration in cities, and those can be stimulated both through processes (such as collaborative legal frameworks and community will) and through design.

Condomínio Esperança. Co-construction process. Image Source:

All of the described examples strongly relate to the right to build (both buildings and social space) and the ‘right to the city’, a concept ignited by French philosopher Henri Lefebvre and further developed by British geographer David Harvey. In Harvey’s words: The right to the city is far more than the individual liberty to access urban resources: it is a right to change ourselves by changing the city. It is, moreover, a common rather than an individual right since this transformation inevitably depends upon the exercise of a collective power to reshape the processes of urbanization. The freedom to make and remake our cities and ourselves is, I want to argue, one of the most precious yet most neglected of our human rights. [10]

With these words in mind we must rethink the role of architectural practice in society today and for the future, rethink architects as enablers and mediators of collective processes that enhance the chance that whatever is built is inclusive and contributes to making better cities…architects as professionals concerned with possibilities for communities to thrive and for individual and collective empowerment. What would the switching of attention from shape to process cause to architectural practice, and how would it influence the resilience of cities? Considering that 2/3 of the world population will be living in cities by the year 2050 [11], this reflection seems more timely than ever.


La discussione della responsabilità civica dell’Architettura è uno dei tema che nascono con l’idea della città come bene comune. Come possiamo ripensare il ruolo degli architetti in una situazione globale in cui soltanto 1% di cosa è costruito nelle città è basato in un progetto architettonico, mentre gli altri 99% sono costruiti per necessita e grande parte in situazioni di deprivazione sociale? Come pensare il ruolo dell’architetto in un mondo che in 2050 avrà 2/3 della popolazione vivendo in ambienti urbani? Collaborazione in tutti i livelli urbani diventa un tema ogni volta più critico e necessario per pensare città più resilienti.












10. [Harvey, David(September–October 2008). “The right to the city”New Left Review. New Left Review. II(53): 23–40.]


Citizen engagement in Science and Policy-Making: the EU Joint Research Center Perspective

Citizen engagement in Science and Policy-Making: the EU Joint Research Center Perspective

The idea of proactive citizen engagement in Science and Policy-Making has recently attracted the institutional interest at the European Union level. In particular, the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission has often dealt with the topic in recent years. Worth to be quoted is the JRC Science for Policy Report “Citizen Engagement in Science and Policy-Making” released in 2016 [1]. The report shows an open and welcoming approach from the Commission towards citizen-driven contributions to science and policy. The JRC explicitly affirms (JRC, 2016, 3) that citizen engagement in heavily ‘expert-based’ sectors can “boost in democratic legitimacy, accountability and transparent governance”. Furthermore, the JRC acknowledges the potential of citizen involvement for enhancing “trust building among citizens and institutions as well as ownership of policy outcome. The Centre recognizes a shift from the mere “info-giving” to increasingly participatory deliberation practices “at each stage of the policy-making process” (JRC, 2016, 3) and, even more relevant, a push from “asking the citizens” to “co-creating with citizens” (JRC, 2016, 32).

Apart from increasing legitimacy and trust, the JRC stresses the benefits for the EC’s strategic planning itself, by underlining that people’s inputs “can offer a unique understanding of societal concerns, desires and needs” and thus a better targeting of EC’s actions. Moreover, the value of this contribution is identified in the provision by citizens of “evidence for policy-making and evaluation of policy decisions” as well as “ideas for new policies or services.”

The JRC in its report (JRC, 2016, 4) identifies also the main challenges to a proper inclusion of inputs from laymen’s knowledge in science and policy. First, the Centre stresses how the “predominant paradigm for policy-making is based on expert inputs (evidence based) in detriment of non-expert or lay knowledge coming from other parts of society.” The advice from the JRC to the Commission seems encouraging for more participatory practice and for a reconsideration of the “usefulness and validity of non-traditional inputs coming from citizens, communities or other groups”.

However, data quality and reliability of the knowledge fed by the lay people when it comes to inclusive science and policy seems crucial, together with transparency and disclosure of possible conflicts of interests. The modalities for gathering laymen’s input should be clearly defined and integration strategies properly agreed. Lastly, the need to go “beyond usual suspects” (the tech-connected wealthy citizens) in this inclusive science and policy is underlined by the report. At p.9 of the document (JRC, 2016, 9) a series of practical examples of citizen engagement in EU’s policy and science are illustrated, such as the initiatives ‘MakingSense’, ‘MyGEOSS’ and ‘DigitalEarthLab’.

The call of the JRC for a “dialogue across co-existing worldviews and knowledge production spaces in science, society and policy” (JRC, 2016, 7) seems particularly timely in present times in which the need of a dialogue between top and bottom stakeholders seems increasingly urgent. Facing Science and Policy-Making challenges through an inclusive and open-minded approach would contribute to the establishment of this dialogue. In the end, both top and bottom players share common interests or, at least, can constructively face each other’s needs to reach together a compromise, towards the establishment of a shared interest. In cases of post-normal science problems, the achievement of this shared or common interest will be even harder. However, those problems are highly of public interest and demand for the inclusion of all the concerned stakeholders in their governance.

[1] Figueiredo Nascimento, S., Cuccillato, E., Schade, S., Guimarães Pereira, A. 2016. Citizen Engagement in Science and Policy-Making. EUR 28328 EN, doi: 10.2788/40563.

Il presente articolo illustra la crescente necessità di coinvolgere il cittadino nei processi politici e scientifici, come percepita dalle istituzioni a livello europeo. In particolare, l’articolo focalizza l’attenzione sulla prospettiva del Joint Research Center (JRC) dell’Unione Europea sul tema. Viene illustrata la posizione del JRC, il quale incoraggia la creazione di un dialogo condiviso nell’interazione tra scienza, società e politica. Tale appello sembra di particolare attualità oggigiorno, in considerazione della complessità dei problemi che la nostra società deve affrontare. In effetti, le sfide odierne spesso riguardano interessi comuni a più attori sociali, ed il compromesso tra loro, come anche il reciproco ascolto, sembrano gli unici mezzi per raggiungere una definizione di “interesse comune”.

URBACT Local Group 13th meeting for the ex Military Hospital

URBACT Local Group 13th meeting for the ex Military Hospital

On January 19th, the 13th meeting of the URBACT Local Group will take place in Naples, at the Complesso Santa Trinità delle Monache (ex Military Hospital), from 2.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m..

The meeting will aim at discussing about the most appropriate management models at various levels: it will deal with the detection of the best management model for the S.S. Trinità delle Monache  Complex to be proposed to the Administration; furthermore, it will be a chance to  discuss about the identification of the different useful tools for the implementation or management of specific actions pursuant to the Local Action Plan (as public – private partnerships, programme agreements, public calls for tender and more over).


Professor Christian Iaione will give a speech about these issues at 3.15 p.m., named “Le città tra autogestioni e co-gestioni dei beni collettivi. Modelli e prospettive“, comparing and bearing in mind innovative experiments carried out in Italy and abroad.


The complete programme can be consulted here.


Domani, venerdì 19 gennaio, si terrà presso il Complesso Santa Trinità delle Monache il 13° incontro dell’URBACT Local Group. Il Professor Christian Iaione discuterà sui possibili modelli di gestione per l’ex Ospedale Militare, tenendo conto delle varie sperimentazioni innovative portate avanti in Italia e all’estero.



The World Economic Forum’s Future of Urban Development and Services Initiative has released its new whitepaper on «Collaboration in Cities: From Sharing to ‘Sharing Economy’».

The concept of Sharing Economy during the last years has become quite mainstream, even if the phenomenon represents one of the major disruptive innovations of the last century. Sharing is not something new of course, as it is an old concept as old as human civilization, to quote Gregory Hodkinson (Chairman, Arup Ltd and Chair of the World Economic Forum System Future of Urban Development and Services Initiative). But in the last years, thanks to the Internet and to the ICTs, new trends and mindsets about sharing have emerged. The proliferation of peer-to-peer social networks, together with global recession, an increased environmental awareness and the desire to rebuild social bonds and communities, have brought to the development and spread of the Sharing Economy. The WEF whitepaper underlines that the popularity of the phrase “sharing economy” has increased sixteenfold since 2013 according to Google Trends. Nevertheless, since there is not a common and unique definition, the term is often confused with overlapping terminologies such as “collaborative economy”, “on-demand economy”, “gig economy”, “freelance economy”, “peer economy”, “access economy”, “crowd economy”, “digital economy” and “platform economy” (see the distinction proposed by April Rinne on the WEF blog).

The spread of the phenomenon is having impacts on our way to consume, produce, distribute, work and travel, ultimately transforming our lives, boosting social cohesion and offering chances to reduce the environmental footprint.

As noted by Cheryl Martin, Head of Industries, World Economic Forum “while sharing may often decrease the cost of access, it also has the potential to address long-term societal challenges such as making cities more inclusive and building social connections between groups that might otherwise never have interacted. In experimenting with sharing practices, however, cities will also have to be agile in addressing externalities and disruption to their planning processes, policy formulation and regulatory structures”.

Gregory Hodkinson takes the same view: “The sharing economy is making cities redefine land-use strategies, minimize their costs, optimize public assets and collaborate with other actors (for-profits, non-profits, social enterprises, communities and other cities) in developing policies and frameworks that encourage continued innovation in this area”.

The WEF with its whitepaper is indeed exploring potential opportunities and challenges of the sharing economy in cities offering examples and solutions from cities around the world. It makes the case that sharing in cities can have a transformative impact – boosting the economy and nurturing a sense of community by bringing people into contact with one another, facilitating neighborliness, and improving the environment by making the most efficient use of resources. Cities have a potential role in facilitating/enabling and harnessing the sharing business models by fostering partnerships that shape a “sharing and collaborative” culture across all industry sectors.

The whitepaper is structured on answering 7 main questions:

1. What does Sharing Economy mean for cities?

The collaborative dynamics of the sharing economy have creative implications for cities. Sharing can create a sense of community among strangers, which helps to facilitate trust and social inclusion. From an environmental perspective, sharing can reduce overall use of resources through practices such as carpooling and co-working facilities. Sharing can also supplement supply in periods of peak demand […] rather than turning to additional construction”. The sharing economy platforms are growing in number and size all over the world and more and more people affirm to use their services. In some cities sharing practices are specifically used to increase inclusiveness (in US good example are Los Angeles and Minneapolis).

2. Who are the actors of the Sharing Economy?

The whitepaper identifies 6 categories: 1. Individual users (those who use P2P or B2P platforms for economic, social or environmental reasons); 2. For-Profit enterprises (profit-seekers who engage in buying, selling, lending, renting or trading with the aid of digital technologies – platforms, to lower transaction costs); 3. Social Enterprises/cooperatives (primarily motivated by social or ecological reasons); 4. Local Communities (Actors at the local or neighborhood level / non-profit and informal models; transactions are mainly non-monetized,  inter-personal connection is emphasized); 5. Non-profit Enterprises (non-business actors with the primary motivation of advancing a mission or purpose); 6. Public Sector/Government  (using public infrastructure to support or forge partnerships with other actors to promote innovative forms of sharing).

3. What are the drivers of sharing?

The economic, social and environmental drivers of participating in the sharing economy vary across sociodemographic groups and between users and providers”, for this reason, as reported in the whitepaper many cities have now offices and strategies for promoting sharing.

4. What is being shared in cities?

Individuals and collectives (social enterprises, cooperatives, for-profit and communities) can share a wide range of things, related to nine major groups: 1. Mobility and transportation; 2. Spaces; 3. Skills and talent; 4. Financing; 5. Health; 6. Utilities; 7. General Goods; 8. Food and 9. Learning.

The whitepaper emphasizes what can be shared by the city government since cities “can leverage the potential of the sharing economy in municipal goods, municipal spaces, civic assets, municipal services and skills and talent of city resident such as:

  • Municipal goods: City-owned equipment, machinery, vehicles and other goods can be shared among departments or with neighboring municipalities;
  • Municipal Spaces and Civic Assets: these include civic amenities or spaces such as gardens, subways, city run schools, hospitals and libraries, and city recreational centers. Idle capacity in municipal spaces can be used for urban farming, pop-up shops, parking and start-up hubs, supporting local business and culture. For example, Seoul operates a website to reserve sports facilities, lecture halls and meeting rooms for educational and cultural events;
  • Municipal Services: municipal governments in many areas have collaborative agreements to facilitate providing services to the citizens they serve, and have been working together in this way since long before the sharing economy”

 5. How can cities share?

Sometimes cities directly facilitate sharing practices, in other cases, this role is covered by non-governmental entities (private sector, local communities, non-profit and social enterprises). The report identifies a two-step process:

  1. Focus on the purpose of a sharing city: economic, socio-cultural development or environmental sustainability;
  2. Focus on government role(s) in a sharing city: government can act as a regulator; facilitator/enabler; integrator/implementer; collaborator.


6. What are the issues and challenges in the sharing economy?

Recalling the work of Agyeman and McLaren, the white paper remembers that sharing economy practices can increase multicultural interactions through 1. Revolution; 2. Subversion; 3. Reinvention. According to the two authors, the best opportunities for a systemic change come from combining reinvention and subversion to “seek interlinked opportunities to enhance well-being, increase justice and equity and spread participative democracy”.

The report identifies 6 main challenges divided into two groups:

  • Challenges in market-driven sharing:
    • Establishing trust and reputation
    • Ensuring safety and security
    • Uncertain effects of social equality
    • More exclusive than inclusive
  • Challenges in purpose-driven sharing (for social and/or environmental reasons):
    • Guiding sharing towards improving public infrastructure and services
    • Accountability and transparency in collective/collaborative governance

For each challenge, the whitepaper reports cities examples.

7. How should sharing be regulated?

Governments first have to understand the intricacies of the specific operating model and its implications – whether economic (taxes, monopolies), legal (redefining labour laws that cater to freelancers) or social (protecting the rights of participants). Cities have to work to involve all necessary levels of government: Seoul illustrates the challenge, as the city government is promoting sharing initiatives within its own scope but higher-level laws and administrative regulations have not caught up”. The whitepaper identifies some key points:

  1. Striking a balance: governments should encourage innovation and competition and protect the interest of citizens at the same time; adopting a bottom-up approach or a top-down one.
  2. Playing fair (legal): cities have to ensure healthy competition among traditional and new business models, identifying where to apply a different regulatory treatment.
  3. Defining applicable taxes and fees (legal) avoiding unclear or unfair taxation structures; cities should define a regulatory framework that incorporates the views and concerns of all stakeholders (the sharing platforms, traditional market players and participants across different sectors).
  4. Self-regulation (legal) that can decrease the pressure on regulatory bodies and allow the government to observe trends before taking corrective steps.
  5. Protecting data (social): sharing platforms collect, store, analyze a lot of valuable data of their participants (including transactional and non-transactional data) that should be protected; they are also useful for city government in the urban city planning

The challenge of regulating sharing-economy platforms is complex. Governments have to avoid deterring innovation while trying to achieve economic, social or environmental goals. It is, therefore, important for them to have flexibility in their regulatory approach”.

As Hazem Galal, PwC Global Cities and Government Leader, said: “Regulatory and tax structures need to be revisited to address these concerns as sharing platforms begin to scale across different sectors of the economy. At the same time, developing a culture of sharing within cities to improve services with accountability and transparency would go a long way in shaping the ‘sharing cities’ of the future.”

Very interesting and useful is the presence in the whitepaper of many different examples coming from cities all over the world.

  • Melbourne has become a global leader in the food-sharing sector (144 technology-mediated food-sharing initiatives). The city has a strong start-up and sharing-economy culture driven by entrepreneurial knowledge workers in co-working environments. Increasingly, this is becoming the cornerstone of the central city economy and its real-estate market. There are many enterprises that contribute to the local economy and social causes with their platforms scaling to different parts of the world (see 300 Acres, a community-sharing initiative that facilitates community access to unused city sites, enabling neighbours to establish communal gardens) and the City of Melbourne Open Data platform is a public-sector platform that releases municipal data to encourage innovation by businesses, researchers, students, programmers and data scientists.
  • Seattle has six “libraries of things” in lower- and mixed-income areas, where citizens can borrow tools. None is run directly by the government, but most have received support through grants or in-kind services to get started. The city, in addition, will invest the taxes it collects from the short-term rental market in community-led projects and paying off bonds for affordable housing.
  • New York, with the organization 596 Acres, supports residents to reclaim and manage public land for communities. New York, together with Seoul, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Toronto joint the Sharing Cities Alliance. The Alliance aims to enable cities and their citizens to shape their own future through city-to-city collaboration and its main goal is to enable city leaders continue to address the sharing economy.
  • Barcelona is driving a time-bank project where people exchange their time for doing everyday tasks (currently there are 28 time banks listed on its website). The city is also discussing the idea of the “urban commons” implementing the “Reglamento do Participacion Ciudadana”
  • London has a crowdfunding platform where citizens can propose project ideas and get City Hall’s support.
  • Seoul has started in 2012 the “Sharing City, Seoul” project, organizing a sharing promotion committee, a Sharing economy Advisory Board, a Sharing Facilitation Committee and  institutionalizing  sharing economy practices through an innovation office (Seoul Innovation Division); now it has 97 distinct sharing schemes, from public bicycles to parking spaces to children’s clothes, and it operates a website ( to shared municipal spaces and civic assets. Seoul is also collaborating with other cities to provide sharing services. In November 2016, the city government and seven other local governments adopted a joint declaration on policy cooperation for the sharing city, including developing and promoting joint programmes for sharing enterprises and groups, exchanging policies, improving the legal system and strengthening cooperation with domestic and overseas cities.
  • Kamaishi City in Japan is partnering with sharing platforms to prepare for hosting the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
  • Kigali motorbike taxi app SafeMotos uses smartphone data to distinguish safe from unsafe drivers.
  • Amsterdam opened the reflection about sharing economy thanks to the private social enterprise  ShareNL that was instrumental in launching the “Amsterdam Sharing City” initiative in early 2015. Today the city is reasoning on the “urban commons” thanks to the FabCity distributed manufacturing initiative. It is also connecting senior citizens and low-income households to sharing platforms via CityPass.
  • São Paulo has implemented road-use fees to encourage transport network companies (TNCs) to complement public transit, limiting excess supply during peak hour congestion and augmenting supply when less served.
  • Bologna has passed a resolution on collaboration between citizens and the city for the care and regeneration of urban commons and developed a “collaborative city” programme (collaboration pacts); it has paved the way for the so-called “Co-City Protocol” that explores forms of shared, collaborative and polycentric urban governance thanks to the extensive work of the co-founders of LabGov, Christian Iaone and Sheila Foster.

The whitepaper, thanks to many contributors (among which also Sheila Foster), aims to improve understanding of the sharing economy’s potential by clarifying terminology; exploring examples of what kinds of goods and services can be shared, who participates in sharing platforms and why; and discussing the challenges created by the sharing economy and how authorities can respond.  It takes stocks on the role of cities in integrating/implementing solutions for sharing of (or collaborating on) public assets and services and/or collaborating with other cities, enterprises (for-profit or not-for-profit) and other stakeholders to make the most of a city’s assets.

It can be considered a first important step in systematizing all the experiences arising in the world about sharing economy and city government, from which go even further.



Il World Economic Forum – su mandato del Future of Urban Development and Services Initiative – ha recentemente pubblicato il suo ultimo Libro Bianco: «Collaboration in Cities: From Sharing to ‘Sharing Economy’». Un documento nel quale sono messe in evidenza le potenziali opportunità ma anche le sfide e le difficoltà che la sharing economy veicola nelle e per le città; nonché una serie di approcci adottati da varie città nel mondo e possibili soluzioni.


A masterclass on The City as a Commons

A masterclass on The City as a Commons

On Friday, January 12, the Executive Urban Management Master of Amsterdam University of Applied Science is going to host a masterclass on The City as a Commons [1]held by LabGov’s co-founder prof. Christian Iaione.

The Master aims at growing young professionals willing to deal with the big urban challenges that cities are constantly facing nowadays. During this master students develop competences to effectively tackle metropolitan issues. They acquire up-to-date knowledge of various issues, methods and theories, do practical research and build a multidisciplinary network. After successfully completing the Urban Management master’s program, they may take the title of Master of Arts (MA).

The masterclass will focus on the LabGov theoretical framework and case studies, on the concept of the quintuple helix (the structure that stimulates public-private partnerships, by involving five types of actors: civic, social, cognitive, public and private), with an emphasis on the role of the knowledge institutions in the Co-City arena.

[1] Read the full paper “The City as a Commons” by Sheila Foster and Christian Iaione here: