Rethinking the Urban Territory as a Learning Space

Rethinking the Urban Territory as a Learning Space

Recreating the urban territory as a commons means reconsidering the way citizens absorb and engender all the elements that can support human development – including learning, as a broader way to refer to education. Urban territories can offer unique learning opportunities on different levels, an important one being that of stimulating people to recognise themselves as citizens and as part of a community, or different communities (from the street, to the neighbourhood, to the city layer). Moreover, the experiencing of the urban territory exposes people to social diversity, which is crucial to cultivate empathy and tolerance, much needed qualities especially in present times.

The understanding of the city as a fertile learning environment presents itself as an invitation to consider what children can learn in the urban territory that cannot be taught at school, and what are the urban qualities that can be cultivated to create social connection and empowerment. Initiatives, worldwide, that explore this invitation are growing in power and number. One of them, TaMaLaCá1 (Tutta Mia La Città, meaning, All The City is Mine, a collective of woman based in Sardinia, Italy) has been working in collaboration with primary schools to instigate children in the creative occupation of the urban environment. TaMaLaCa’s projects reverse the situation that life on the street has been replaced by cars on the streets, and that many cities are not placing an invitation for children to play in the outdoor urban environment as they used to in old times.


Another approach to the city as a learning environment is the concept of Bairro-Escola (meaning Neighbouhood-School, in Portuguese), an alternative education model prototyped by Cidade Escola Aprendiz2, a Brazilian NGO that advocates for integrated learning opportunities for communities. Bairro-Escola is a model of networked learning that articulates different stakeholders such as communities, community organisations, local schools, private institutions, and the public sector, aiming at an integrated development of people and territory based on learning opportunities that exceed the formal school curriculum, and a set territory to expand the notion of learning. It aims at developing richer community relationships and integrated human beings that express different kinds of intelligence (including cognitive, social, physical, affective, and psychological abilities), capacitating students to become active in society through personal and collective autonomy.

Bairro-Escola place schools as a reference point for articulating public policies, community resources and, mainly, community knowledge, being much attentive to local identity and its richness in relationship to human integrity. Schools, thus, become responsible for the articulation of democratic political-pedagogic projects, always committed with collective decision-making processes involving different stakeholders for managing the school itself and its wider community. In this process, students are apt to see themselves as part of networked-systems and to trust their ability to influence the development of their communities, and their cities, also understanding their role and power within a wider network of people.

How can cities be redesigned in such a way that, as emphasised by these two case studies, stimulates learning processes in the urban environment that allow children to grow into citizens that understand they are part of networked systems, thus becoming active citizens?

Italian pedagogist Francesco Tonnucci3 reinforces the idea that it is crucial to stimulate children’s participation in the urban if we are to have cities that, instead of disconnection, stimulate stronger ties and more resilient systems. That said, to recreate cities where children’s experiences are valued is an idea worth expanding both through design, learning curriculums, and policy development – after all, the children of today represent the active societies of tomorrow.


Come possiamo pensare la città come uno spazio in cui le opportunità per imparare fuori delle scuole esistono in abbondanza? Esistono innumeri progetti di design e politiche pubbliche che stimolano questa idea, guardando a come i bambini si possano tornare cittadini più coscienti e autonomi per essere attive e presenti nelle società di domani.





Cultural heritage as a leverage for integration and cultural diversity. The issue of foreigners’ access to public management of museums in Italy

Cultural heritage as a leverage for integration and cultural diversity. The issue of foreigners’ access to public management of museums in Italy

Chiara Prevete (LabGov researcher and legal team) has published an article about foreigners’ access to public management on the journal “Observatory of the Italian Association of Constitutional Law scholars”, “Osservatorio AIC”[1]. This question had a key turning point with the Plenary Session of the Italian Council of State decision in June 2018. The question refers in particular to museum directors. In this respect, changes have been recently made in the legal framework by Minister Franceschini’s reform (legislative decree 31 May 2014, No. 83). The heart of the sentence is linked to the well-known question about the ‘reservation of citizenship’ connected to the nature and functions of public management in the Italian legal system. In fact, this issue refers to the Nineteenth Century distinction between ‘acts of imperio’, the expression of the puissance publique, and iure gestionis (the private, merchant-like, commercial acts of the government of a  state), where the possession of Italian citizenship is traditionally necessary for the exercise of public functions. The case law moves in particular from a hermeneutic diatribe on 1994 rule, the D.P.C.M. 7 February 1994, n. 174, which provides the exclusion for people without Italian citizenship from managers of public administrations roles. However, this topic can only be tackled considering the European principle of freedom of movement for workers, by art. 45 T.F.U.E. and its interpretation by the European Court of Justice.

The Author in particular emphasizes the role of museums’ immaterial and digital resources. In this way the Italian cultural heritage was opened for foreign museum directors. Above all, the administrative decision contributes to social development and the integration of different cultures according to art. 1 of the Faro Convention[2]. Indeed, also the concept of ‘Nation’, by art. 9 of the Italian Constitution, peacefully referred to the Community-State and not to the State-Apparatus, is nowadays interpreted as a ‘heritage clause’. As clarified by Häberle[3], the concept of an identity and inheritance clause is identified as ‘a characteristic element of developing countries’. He has highlighted the fact that the link to the cultural heritage would be unsuccessful if only the status quo is guaranteed and not the aspect of the multiplicity of past and future cultures. In this sense the term ‘Nation’, in the second paragraph of art. 9 of the Constitution, alludes to an ‘intergenerational pact’ or ‘synthesis of past, present and future generations’. Furthermore, this judgment demonstrates the importance of the judges’ interpretation also in civil law. In this sense, the legal system seems more authentic[4] because it observes changes in society.



[2] Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society (Faro Convention, 2005, in

[3] P. Häberle, Potere Costituente (teoria generale), in Enc. Giur. Treccani, IX, 2000, 32.

[4] P. Grossi, Le comunità intermedie tra moderno e post-moderno, Genova, 2017, 66.


La complessa vicenda sull’accesso degli stranieri alla dirigenza pubblica trova un importante punto di svolta nella pronuncia dell’Adunanza Plenaria del giugno 2018. La questione affrontata si riferisce segnatamente ai direttori dei musei, la cui disciplina è stata di recente oggetto della riforma c.d. Franceschini, di cui al d.l. n. 31 maggio 2014, n. 83, attuata con numerosi decreti. Il cuore della controversia dinanzi all’Adunanza Plenaria è legato alla oramai nota questione sulla ‘riserva di cittadinanza’ connessa alla natura e alle funzioni della dirigenza pubblica nell’ordinamento italiano. Si legge nella sentenza, infatti, il richiamo all’ottocentesca distinzione tra atti di imperio, espressione questi della puissance publique, e atti di gestione, ove per l’esercizio dei primi è tradizionalmente necessario il possesso della cittadinanza italiana. La vicenda processuale muove in particolare da una diatriba ermeneutica su una disposizione del 1994, il D.P.C.M. 7 febbraio 1994, n. 174, la quale prevede l’esclusione dai posti dirigenziali delle amministrazioni pubbliche di soggetti privi della cittadinanza italiana.