“Laboratorio Aperto”: an open call in Reggio Emilia

“Laboratorio Aperto”: an open call in Reggio Emilia

The Municipality of Reggio Emilia promotes a call for proposals for the “Open Laboratory“, dedicated to socio-economic development and innovation of the territories.

The laboratory is addressed to economic operators: through a public call presented on January 31 and accessible until March 2, 2018; it is aimed at identifying an entity managing – by October 2018 – that will take care of the start, development and management of the Laboratory, designed on the model of the European “living labs” . The actions will deal with social and technological innovation of the territory, and foresee the creation of new business and administration services able to respond to the needs of the area, fostering welfare, culture, education, and digital inclusion. In this regard, it will be a pole for both creation and dissamination of knowledge, involving citizens, enhancing talents, exchanging information and developing critical thinking, in order to improve the competitiveness, as well as the attractiveness of the territory within national and international scenarios. The start of the Laboratory is scheduled for January 2019.

The Open Laboratory is a public-private company, financed by European funds Por – Fesr, the program outlined by the Emilia Romagna Region and supported by the European Union for economic growth and the attractiveness of the territories (Por Fesr Emilia Romagna 2014_2020 – Asse 6 “Città Attrattive e Partecipate”).

The Laboratory is the result of a participatory planning put in place through the Collaboratorio Reggio, promoted by the Municipality and University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. LabGov played an important role for technical support, along with Kilowatt. It “will allow Reggio Emilia to revive its policies and determine the attraction of intelligence and the success of urban development processes, without generating new urban inequalities, indeed helping to reduce them “. In October 2018, the manager individual identified at the end of the selection procedure will be determined, based on the operating proposal deemed most appropriate.

The public call is accessible here

Costa Rica urban exercises: promotion of the commons, and the right to the city

Costa Rica urban exercises: promotion of the commons, and the right to the city

[…]the concentration of people and events in time and space is a prerequisite to make anything happen, but more importantly are what activities are allowed to develop […]

In Life between buildings[1] are outlined the applications that must exist in the architectural proposals, so that human being begins to appropriate them. By extrapolating this analysis and relying on the concept established in The Right to the City[2], where it is considered that the gentrification caused by urban processes implies an impact on the present and the future of humanity[3]. The construction and strengthening of social structures that complement the dynamics of interaction of the different actors begins to make sense.

This concept of change of social structure is broad and, at the same time, complicated to define by different actors involved in the subject[4] Therefore, related processes that can be articulated from the academy result in the proposal of systematic variables that, far from wanting to intercede to achieve the purpose of a change of structure, what they seek is to detonate a collective process which add to the existing.

Proposal of social integration.

In this search to promote the use of space and social interaction, the approach to the community Barrio Pinto and its surroundings is proposed in the South of the canton of San Pedro de Montes de Oca, in the province of San Jose, Costa Rica; whose radius of action is located between the kilometer close to the Campus of Universidad Latina. This context contains many different realities. On the one hand, the central avenue has an established structure of commerce and services, in addition is the road that connects the center of the country with the Inter-American route, therefore, highly charged with vehicular flow.

This situation disappears entering avenue 2, 4 and 6. Residential use is giving space to the commerce and offices, but that still encloses a residential range that gives life to the parks of his around. This mutation of the space is reflected in the offer of related services between traditional commercial systems, such as tailors, sodas and informal commerce, as well as other emerging elements (biodegradable cleaning products).

Is under these dynamics – between the behavior of the inhabitants of the sector and the users of the services that are beginning to develop in the area – that the interaction between students of the area and the institutions (who are unaware of the processes, routes, services) arises. For example, there is a coffee shop that offers bike rental per hour and per day, as well as the organization of recreational circuits in the sector.

Then, the question arisen is: how to provide a tool to citizenship that allows articulation in the public space between the collective memory of a specific place and emerging uses that change the image of the city?

It is at this point, where the definition of common goods[5] and Collaborative Economy[6] (Cañigueral, 2014), together with the use of the technological tool Agora PIC (Plataforma de Integración Ciudadana, 2017) developed by the NGO team PIC, that these are taken as the basis of the research, to identify the possible elements to be taken into account, and to define a path that provides information on tangible and intangible variables. Trying to unify the social processes of the inhabitants of the sector, with visitors and users of the different activities in the radio, near to the community of Barrio Pinto.

Within the concrete analysis of the peculiarities of the community, the gap that exists between space of the Square Máximo Fernández-  on the north side of Franklin D. Roosevelt School – and El Retiro Park (650 meters Southwest of Máximo Fernández Square) -, as a hub that makes possible the social connection of a situation different from the current, whose goal is immersed, as Gehl points out[7] – is taken into account, to generate not only the space of transition, but of interaction.

Citizen participation has been necessary for the construction of this project. Across workshops and interviews, as well as different visits to the community to establish collaborative and individual services[8], the rescue of collective memory, stories and accounts of the citizen for the visibility of the human and sensory part of the area began, as well as the delimitation of the emerging uses that change the dynamic preset in the area, and generate a social movement toward the appropriation of common space[9].

Conclusion of a job, start of a route.

In conclusion, it is possible to counteract the thinking and analysis of Gehl[10], about the dynamics of use of public spaces, with the contributions of Zaida Muxí and Joseph María Montaner[11] on the substantial changes that surround the phenomenology of the city for the adequate enjoyment and use of the various variables of the Commons. Processes that lead to interpret the change of the image of the city must occur in an intrapersonal way, understanding that this isolated element is part of an articulated social system[12].

On this premise, it is part of this personal relationship, of collective memory and the individual task, for the strengthening of pre-existing social layers. It may not induce a community to take a change in its structure, but it strengthens when an external user can deviate from their daily life to rediscover its immediate context. For this reason, and waiting for the use of the technological tool (Ágora PIC[13]) to boost social skills to community, this intervention has been completed with the start of a journey raised with the student community of the Universidad Latina.

On this basis, we should start from this relationship between the collective memory and the individual task, to strengthen the pre-existing social layers. It is not possible to induce a community to adopt a modification in its structure, but it can be strengthened, when an external user can get away from their everyday life to rediscover their immediate context. For this reason, the use of the Ágora PIC technological tool was envisaged so that it could stimulate the social capacities of community making, ending this intervention with the beginning of a journey through the community.

A circuit that seeks, every four months, that is to say with the opening of the academic semester, to offer the newly admitted student the possibility of knowing their immediate context, and at the same time generate interaction with the dynamics of their area and with its inhabitants. This wants to contribute to the creation of a collective memory and local participatory networks that bring the academy closer to its own territory.

Il progetto pilota del LabGov Costa Rica comincia da esercizi accademici mirati che hanno l’intenzione de rispondere alla domanda: come facilitare uno strumento alla cittadinanza che permetta l’articolazione tra i beni comuni spaziali e la memoria collettiva di un determinato luogo; con una particolare attenzione agli usi emergenti che mutano rapidamente il volto frenetico della capitale e il ricordo di un passato, non troppo passato, campestre e bucolico? Come possiamo conservare la memoria dei beni comuni intangibili promuovendo contemporanemente l’hic et nunc dei commons tangibili attuali?

[1] Gehl, J. (2011). Life between buildings: using public space. Washington, DC: Island Press.

[2] Lefebvre, H. (1973). Le Droit à la ville. Paris: Ed. Anthropos.

[3] Costes, L. (2012). Del ‘derecho a la ciudad’ de Henri Lefebvre a la universalidad. Urban, 1-12.

[4] Lucas, M.A. (2006). Estructura social. La realidad de las sociedades avanzadas. Madrid: Pearson Education.

[5] Fundación Heinrich Böll (2008). Genes, bytes y emisiones: Bienes comunes y ciudadanía. Ciudad de México: Ediciones Böll.

[6] Cañigueral, A. (2014). Vivir mejor con menos. Barcelona: Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial.

[7] Gehl, J. op.cit.

[8] Cañigueral, A. op.cit.

[9] Fundación Heinrich Böll, op.cit.

[10] Gehl, J. op.cit.

[11] Muxí, Z., Montaner, J.M. (2011). Arquitectura y política. Barcelona: Editorial Gustavo Gili.

[12] Lucas, M.A. op. cit.

[13] https://agora.picapp.org

Significant cemeteries: urban spaces claiming for participatory approaches

Significant cemeteries: urban spaces claiming for participatory approaches

“I have been picture-gazing this morning at the famous Domenichino and Guido, both of which are superlative. I afterwards went to the beautiful cemetery of Bologna, beyond the walls; and found, besides the superb burial-ground, an original of a custode, who reminded one of the grave-digger in Hamlet (…).”

George Gordon Byron, Letters and Journals of Lord Byron with a Notice of his life, 1831

Not only the world-renowned Père Lachaise in Paris (more than 3 million visitors per year), the evocative Okunoin Cemetery in Japan (in the sacred Mount Koya), or the Woodland Cemetery in Stockholm (UNESCO World Heritage site since 1994, although built in the 20th century). Historical cemeteries represent anywhere in the world a peculiar type of urban spaces, both tangible and intangible heritage, while providing funerary services.

In 2001 a European network was created in order to raise awareness about their sometimes neglected importance: ASCE-Association of Significant Cemeteries in Europe. The network counts 179 cemeteries in 22 countries, specifically those public and private entities that care for this specific heritage. The association, born thanks to an Italian initiative, also aims to share experiences and best practices among members and to cooperate in order to protect, restore and enhance these open-air museums.


“Cemeteries as places of life, settings that, as urban spaces, are directly linked to the history and culture of the community they belong to and where we will find many of our references”. This is how the European Route of Cemeteries, promoted by ASCE and supported by the European Commission under its Europe for Citizens Programme (project “Remembrance in European Cemeteries”), refers to this heritage. The Route, comprising 63 cemeteries in 50 cities in 20 European countries, is mainly in charge of the touristic promotion of the sites, and, by raising awareness, it also stimulates dissemination activities and encourages restoration actions. Among the main results achieved by ASCE, we could also mention the establishment of the “Week of Discovering European Cemeteries (WDEC)”, whose activities in 2018 (May 18-June 3) will support the European Year of Cultural Heritage, and a mobile guide presenting members’ heritage thanks to the ARtour platform.

In Italy, we assist to an increasing attention toward the enhancement and management of historical cemeteries, as witnessed by the memorandum of understanding signed in 2016 by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Tourism and SEFIT-Servizi Funerari Italiani (the Italian public funerary services): “Protocollo d’intesa per la valorizzazione culturale e turistica dei cimiteri monumentali”. The memorandum also led to the elaboration of a first version of an  Atlas of monumental cemeteries in Italy, published few weeks ago. On December 14, 2017, SEFIT, in partnership with Fondazione MAXXI, organized in Rome a workshop dealing with new urban and architectural challenges related to cemeteries: “I cimiteri nella città. I cimiteri come città – Una svolta culturale per la città dei morti pari a quella in atto nelle città dei vivi?”. In 2017, almost 19.000 participants attended cultural events in the four cemeteries of Bologna, Milan, Genoa and Turin.

Practices of participation and citizens engagement are an ever growing phenomenon in the enhancement of these public spaces, that have to balance the protection and development of its cultural heritage with its primary function. The role of citizens, volunteers and not for profit actors turns out to be crucial, especially to ensure the sustainability of enhancement activities, as we will see in two Italian cases: the Staglieno Cemetery in Genoa and the Certosa Cemetery in Bologna.

The cemetery of Staglieno in Genoa (330.000 mq.) was officially opened to the public in 1851. It is one of the most important historical cemeteries in Italy: hundreds of sculptures, but also chapels, galleries and porticoes, with a diversity of styles that contributes to its outstanding historical and artistic value. For the enhancement activities, the cemetery relies on the contribution of different actors, among which an important partnership with ARCI Genova, Auser Liguria e Genova, University of Genoa and CNA-Confederazione Nazionale dell’Artigianato e della Piccola e Media impresa (National Confederation of Artisans and of the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises), that led to the creation of “La fabbrica di Staglieno”. Financed by Fondazione Telecom, the project is aimed at enhancing the restoration activity carried out within the cemetery by creating a restoration laboratory opened to the public, and combining the guided tours with practical activities and workshops, involving restorers, artisans, researchers and students. In August 2017 the Municipality launched a call for proposals to co-design the enhancement activities, through a “Patto di sussidiarietà”, a juridical instrument within the Third sector regulation allowing not for profit organisations to carry on public interest activities. In this case, the project should involve volunteers, disadvantaged or unemployed people in a variety of activities, with in kind and financial support of the Municipality.

The Certosa Cemetery in Bologna was created in 1801 from a former Chartusian monastery founded in 1334. Its architectural structure is very rich and comprises galleries, cloisters, halls, added to which are frescoes, sculptures, an Etruscan Necropolis and the San Girolamo Church. Starting from 1999, an important enhancement project has been carried out, leading to the restoration of many monuments and to guided tours, special initiatives, a summer programme of events. The entire project is managed by Museo del Risorgimento, which is part of the Municipality museums department, in partnership with the Funerary service provider “Bologna Servizi Cimiteriali”; the cultural association of touristic guides “Didasco”, in charge of the guided tours; the volunteers’ association “Amici della Certosa”, founded in 2009 and relying on more than 90 volunteers that contribute to the maintenance, conservation and enhancement activities and to the opening of the Infopoint; “Fondazione Collegio Artistico Venturoli” for the study and research activities. The summer program of events is conceived through a public call for proposals for cultural and not for profit associations, whose projects are annually evaluated and eventually selected. The Call for projects for summer 2018 has been recently opened (deadline March 11). From each entrance fee of the summer events, 2€ are allocated to the enhancement and restoration project. As regards the collaboration with volunteers, in 2016 the Municipality signed a “Patto di collaborazione” with “Amici della Certosa” association within “Collaborare è Bologna” policy and the Bologna Regulation on public collaborations between citizens and the city for the care and regeneration of urban commons. Recognising the value of both the cemetery heritage and the role played volunteers so far, aims and actions are defined for both actors with a collaborative approach.

Significant cemeteries are more and more serving as catalyst for citizens, associations and volunteers that would take care of these fascinating urban spaces, at the same time maintaining and enhancing its outstanding heritage and raising awareness about its value for the local community.

Pratiche partecipative e di coinvolgimento dei cittadini sono un fenomeno crescente nella valorizzazione dei cimiteri monumentali, particolari spazi urbani che si trovano a dover conciliare l’impegno per il proprio patrimonio culturale con l’originaria funzione funeraria.

Participation and Imagination in the experience of Bologna’s Disctrict Labs

Participation and Imagination in the experience of Bologna’s Disctrict Labs

On Thursday, February 22nd, the Bologna Urban Center is going to host the seminary “A one-year-long research: participation and imagination in the experience of Bologna’s Disctrict Labs“, organized by Ces.co.com in collaboration with Bologna Urban Center and Bologna Municipality,

During the seminary experts, local administrators and academics will show the achieved results and will open a debate on social innovation, urban regeneration, participatory democracy and community entrepreneurship: an asset of themes that are crossing the bolognese experience through the hard work of Civic Imagination.

The seminary will end with a focus on the involvement of migrant citizens, with the aim of thinking about new methods of active citizenship.

The event will start with an institutional welcome from Matteo Lepore (Comune di Bologna) and Mirko degli Espositi (Bologna University).

The first session will be conducted by Roberta Paltrinieri (Ces.co.com, Università di Bologna) and will host contributions from Giovanni Allegretti (Università di Coimbra, Portogallo),  Andrea Boeri (Università di Bologna), Christian Iaione (LUISS-LabGov’s co-founder), Vincenza Pellegrino (Università di Parma). Conclusions by Giovanni Ginocchini (Urban Center Bologna).

The second session will be introducted by Lucia Fresa (Comune di Bologna), will be conducted by Giulia Allegrini (Alma Mater Studiorum – Università di Bologna), Bernardo Venturi (Agenzia per il Peacebuiliding) and will host contributions by Pierluigi Musarò (Alma Mater Studiorum – Università di Bologna), Stefania Paolazzi (URBAN CENTER BOLOGNA). Conclusions by Dino Cocchianella (Comune di Bologna Iperbole Rete Civica)

The full program is available here: http://www.urbancenterbologna.it/42-urbancenter/1679-una-ricerca-lunga-un-anno-partecipazione-e-immaginazione-nell-esperienza-dei-laboratori-di-quartiere-del-comune-di-bologna

Giovedì 22 febbraio 2018 dalle ore 10.15 la sala Atelier dell’Urban Center di Bologna ospiterà il seminario “Una ricerca lunga un anno. Partecipazione e immaginazione nell’esperienza dei Laboratori di Quartiere del Comune di Bologna”




On Thursday, February 22nd, and Friday 23rd, the Sapienza University of Rome is going to host “Smart Park a Centocelle“: two days of workshop all dedicated to the Centocelle Archeological Park, an area that is currently hosting an experimental project of urban regeneration from a “Smart” perspective, conducted by ENEA in collaboration with LUISS LabGov.

The workshop is organized in the context of the Lab of Environmental Desing from the degree course in Landscape Architecture, coordinated by Prof. Arch. Alessandra Battisti in collaboration with Ing. Mauro Annunziato from ENEA, and will be structured as following:

Thursday, February 22nd

  • h 9.00: Institutional Welcome – Prof. Laura Ricci
  • Introduction
    • Prof. Alessandra Battisti (La Sapienza)
    • Ing. Mauro Annunziato (ENEA)
  • h 10.00: ENEA’s projects: Smart Cities & Smart Communities – Arch. Claudia Meloni (ENEA)
  • h 10.30: Enabling Technologies for Smart Cities – Arch. Sabrina Romano (ENEA)
  • h 11.00: Analysis of the urban climate and mitigation scenarios in Piazza dei Mirti – Michele Zinzi (ENEA)
  • h 11.30: Co-Cities methodology for urban co-governance – Chiara Prevete and Chiara De Angelis (LabGov)
  • h 14.00: workshop

Friday, February 23rd

  • h 9.00: workshop
  • h 14.30: presentation of the results
  • h 16.30: open discussion on the results with LabGov’s co-founder Prof. Christian Iaione and community members
  • Conclusions

The full program can be found here: http://www.architettura.uniroma1.it/sites/sf01/files/allegati_notizie/Workshop%20Centocelle.pdf