Presentation of the UE Report: Employment and Social Developments in Europe (ESDE) 2018

Presentation of the UE Report: Employment and Social Developments in Europe (ESDE) 2018

On February 15, 2019, the presentation of the European Commission’s Report on Employment and Social Development in Europe (ESDE) 2018 was held at the INAPP auditorium. The ESDE report is the main report of the European Commission on the latest occupational and social trends in Europe and reflects future challenges as well as possible strategic responses. The world is changing fast and so is the world of work. Technological transformation, global competition forces, and demographic change will continue to affect how people work, consume and live. These mega-trends have made the labour market more dynamic and have brought with them more diverse forms of work and new jobs, requiring new skills. They also have the potential to contribute to increasing inequality and challenge historically rooted institutions. Thus, established labour market regulatory frameworks and solidarity mechanisms may need to be adapted so as to ensure the sustainability of the welfare state and guarantee adequate protection for workers.

Loukas Stemitsiotis, Head of unit “Thematic Analysis”, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, underlines how technological transformation has influenced the way we produce, and asserts that, in order to maintain our “welfare state” we must increase productivity. Robots are becoming cheaper than the workforce, and in Germany, one of the biggest robots user, especially in the automotive sector, this “automation” has clear effects on employment. However, if the use of robots in the production process takes away jobs, it also creates new jobs. The crucial point to focus on is not the work as a whole but the specific “tasks” of each worker.

The most important policy challenge is European education and training policies. A majority of highly skilled workers receives substantially higher wages, suggesting that these workers are in short supply. Investing more and more efficiently in education will address this issue by increasing the supply of high-skilled workers and dampening the rise in the skill premium, which is itself a major component of overall rises in wage inequality. Capital and high-skill labor are complementary: employers buy robots because capital is more efficient than labor, therefore labor get displaced. Then, employers hire new labor, skilled enough to operate and fulfill the new capital’s higher productivity potential.

V. Meliciani, Professor of Applied Economics at LUISS Giudo Carli, focuses on ESDE “shadows”. In particular, she claimed during the conference that “technology implementation goes hand in hand with employment occupation, only as far as services sector is concerned”. After 2008 crisis, the European Union has grown very little from economic point of view. Income differences and digitalization disparities between States still remain perceptible. Nevertheless, discrimination in Europe are lower than in the USA, where the situation seems to be the same of the post first world war.
The AdePP President, Alberto Olivetti, explained the problem called “3G”. He said that in our national context there are Gender discrimination (salary differences between professional men and women), Geographical differences (people living in the south earn less than those living in the north) and Generational disparities (under 40 workers earn a third of over 40 ones).

On the other hand, President Olivetti has reaffirmed association commitment to supporting a proactive welfare approach. He suggests working on the “welfare” concept, in a pro-working perspective. In a pro-working view, jobs should be more competitive, qualified and flexible. In his speech, Olivetti said that “a third of children attending primary school will carry out new jobs that we don’t know today. Then, it’s our duty to adapt to the change”. There is a close link between age and technology innovation: old generations show a major difficulty to adapt to the change. However, it is necessary understand that investments are made where there is the ability to adapt.

What is highlighted by all the interlocutors who took part in the conference is that, for the first time, attention is paid to a long-term policy.

In the opinion of the Minister of Education, University and Research, Lorenzo Fioramonti, the challenge is to manage the transitions. Technological change has been considered having a negative impact on the labor market, so we have to adopt a governance capable of preventing problems. Regarding the two points “education” and “skills”, the policy to be followed according to the Vice Minister is based on the concept of the interdisciplinarity. Schools must become the infrastructure where skilled workers of tomorrow are formed.

The President of Assolavoro, Alessandro Ramazza, reminded that although historical events such as the invention of the press or the industrial revolution were seen as a threat to employment like today is the technological transformation, people, with time, understood that these events were only transforming their way of working. The same happens today with the technological transformation that will lead to a change in work and especially in its qualification: we need more highly skilled workers able to govern a new “work phase”.

Claudia Serra and Federica Pedicini

A weekly collection of stories from cities around the world

A weekly collection of stories from cities around the world

Urban agriculture and food security

Miguel Altieri, professor of Agroecology at the University of California, Berkeley presents the challenges, benefits and the strategies that could be adopted to build a long-term Urban agriculture. He also emphasizes the need for more polycultural design, intercropping and rotations of green manures, drawing inspiration from the Cuban model.

Tourism: the rise of anti-tours

The soaring of anti-tour worldwide, of which  Porto’s “Worst city tour” is an example,  stresses the wish for more authentic types of Tourism, and increased exchanges with local inhabitants to discover their traditions and local habits. Thus, many sociologists argue that it could be a positive alternative to immersive tourism.

Skating in Nairobi

In Nairobi, where traffic congestion reaches high levels, people find alternative solutions to commute. Predominantly young males- although women have joined the movement- are now using rollerblades to move from a place to another. And this exciting yet risky activity encourages a sense of community which eases divisions between “local tribes”.

La France vue d’ici”: Documentary Photography project

This collaborative and participative project led by ImageSingulieres and Mediapart aims to gather photos from different artists who covered diverse parts of the french territory during the year 2017. Part of the project’s objectives is also educating the youngest to media, through workshops organised by photographers.

Roma capitale umana” – Rome Human Capital

Last sunday, people from various neighborhoods, schools, clubs and associations gathered together in Piazza Vittorio to protest against the Decreto-legge sicurezza that was approved by the Camera on November the 28th, taking the name of Salvini law and more globally, on all types of discrimination. Both examples of the first article which reduces the residence permit length and the second articles that increases the retention time from 90 to 180 days in centri di permanenza i.e identification and expulsion centres, show that the law system is complexifying the regularizing process for refugees.

Article in Italian

The commitment of the Italian city of Cremona in implementing circular economy

After taking the lead in a European project on waste-management strategy UrbanWins financed by the European Union, the Italian city of Cremona has achieved significantly positive results in introducing a circular economy.

Gathering against anti-semitism in France

A Rally will be held on the 19th of February in Place de la Republique in Paris. The purpose? If anti-semitism is deeply rooted in the french society, violence observed a turning point for the last decades. In particular, a 74% percent rise in anti-semitic incidents was reported over the last year.

Amazon abandons its extensive corporate campus building project

After facing a backlash from local communities, the big corporate Amazon decided to abandon his plan to build its headquarters in Long Island, Queens, NY.


Milano plastic free

Milan is experimenting a plastic free strategy in 200 shops of two of its neighborhoods: Isola and Niguarda, supported by the Italian association Legambiente. This campaign launched by the municipality is preceding the implementation of the 2021 European directive which will forbid any use of objects made of disposable plastic.

Article in Italian

Holland builds the first Cycle paths born out of recycled plastic

Holland inaugurated the first cycle path entirely made of plastic bottles and scraps. Currently no longer than 30 meters, the path born out of a partnership between Kws, Wavin and Total was constructed empty inside to let rain water flow out. Article in Italian

Mayors from big cities around the world meet to work on climate justice

A summit gathering worldwide major cities’ mayors was organised on the 20th of February in Paris. It led to the creation of an international platform with legal tools to support mayors in implementing climate justice.

Digital Democracy and Data Commons (DDDC) a participatory platform to build a more open, transparent and collaborative society.

Digital Democracy and Data Commons (DDDC) a participatory platform to build a more open, transparent and collaborative society.

The interest for citizens co-production of public services is increasing and many digital participatory platforms (DPPs) have been developed in order to improve participatory democratic processes.

During the Sharing City Summit in Barcelona last November we discovered the DDDC, i.e. the Digital Democracy and Data Commons, a participatory platform to deliberate and construct alternative and more democratic forms of data governance, which will allow citizens to take back control over their personal data in the digital society and economy.

Barcelona is already known as a best practice in this field: the city and its metropolitan area constitute an exceptional ecosystem in terms of co-production of public policies and citizen science initiatives. The City Council has created an Office of Citizens Science and the Municipal Data Office, as well as the first Science Biennial that just took place in Barcelona (from 7th-11th February 2019). At the same time citizen science projects abound.

In this frame Barcelona is famous to have launched in February 2016 Decidim.Barcelona (we decide), a project of the City Council to give citizens the opportunity to discuss proposals using an interface for group-discussions and comments. Decidim is indeed an online participatory-democracy platform that embodies a completely innovative approach. First of all it is entirely and collaboratively built as free software. As remembered by Xabier Barandiaran Decidim is a web environment that using the programming language Ruby on Rails allows anybody to create and configure a website platform to be used in the form of a political network for democratic participation. Any organization (local city council, association, university, NGO, neighbourhood or cooperative) can create mass processes for strategic planning, participatory budgeting, collaborative design for regulations, urban spaces and election processes. It also makes possible the match between traditional in-person democratic meetings (assemblies, council meetings, etc.) and the digital world (sending meeting invites, managing registrations, facilitating the publication of minutes, etc.). Moreover it enables the structuring of government bodies or assemblies (councils, boards, working groups), the convening of consultations, referendums or channelling citizen or member initiatives to trigger different decision making processes. The official definition of Decidim is: a public-common’s, free and open, digital infrastructure for participatory democracy.

Barandiaran remembers also that “Decidim was born in an institutional environment (that of Barcelona City Council), directly aiming at improving and enhancing the political and administrative impact of participatory democracy in the state (municipalities, local governments, etc.). But it also aims at empowering social processes as a platform for massive social coordination for collective action independently of public administrations. Anybody can copy, modify and install Decidim for its own needs, so Decidim is by no means reduced to public institutions”.

As of march 2018 had more than 28,000 registered participants, 1,288,999 page views, 290,520 visitors, 19 participatory processes, 821 public meetings channeled through the platform and 12,173 proposals, out of which over 8,923 have already become public policies grouped into 5,339 results whose execution level can be monitored by citizens. […] It comes to fill the gap of public and common’s platforms, providing an alternative to the way in which private platforms coordinate social action (mostly with profit-driven, data extraction and market oriented goals)”.

But Decidim is more than a technological platform, it is a “technopolitical project” where legal, political, institutional, practical, social, educational, communicative, economic and epistemic codes merge together. There are mainly 3 levels: the political (focused on the democratic model that Decidim promotes and its impact on public policies and organizations), the technopolitical (focused on how the platform is designed, the mechanisms it embodies, and the way in which it is itself democratically designed), and the technical (focused on the conditions of production, operation and success of the project: the factory, collaborative mechanisms, licenses, etc.). In this way thousands of people can organize themselves democratically by making proposals that will be debated and could translate into binding legislation, attending public meetings, fostering decision-making discussions, deciding through different forms of voting and monitoring the implementation of decisions (not only the procedures but also the outcomes).

Coming back to our DDDC, the main aim of this pilot participatory process is to test a new technology to improve the digital democracy platform Decidim and to collectively imagine the data politics of the future. It was developed inside the European project DECODE[1] (Decentralized Citizen Owned Data Ecosystem – that aims to construct legal, technological and socio-economic tools that allow citizens to take back control over their data and generate more common benefits out of them); it is led by the Barcelona Digital City (Barcelona City Council) and by the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute of the Open University of Catalonia (Tecnopolitica and Dimmons), in collaboration with the Nexa Center of Internet & SocietyEurecatCNRSDribiaaLabsThoughtworksand DYNE.

The pilot project was launched in October 18th 2018 and will end April 1st 2019, for a total of 5 months. It has mainly three goals:

  1. to integrate the DECODE technology with the Decidim digital platform in order to improve processes of e-petitioning, to provide more safety, privacy, transparency and data enrichment;
  2. to enable a deliberative space around data law, governance and economics within the new digital economy and public policy, in order to provide a vision oriented to promote a greater citizen control over data and their exploitation in Commons-oriented models[2];
  3. to experiment with the construction and use of a data commons generated in the process, in order to improve the inclusion of the participatory process itself.

The goals will be reached through several phases that foresee also face-to-face meetings, inside the platform. The infographic illustrates the phases:

Figure 1 DDDC’s phases. Source:

The pilot project is currently in its second phase. The first 1 was that of  presentation & diagnosis, dedicated to the elaboration of a brief diagnosis of the state of regulations, governance models and data economy. The diagnosis emerged from a kick off pilot presentation workshop, the DECODE Symposium, aimed to imagine possible proposal to move towards a society where citizens can control what, how and who manages and generates values from the exploitation of their data; i.e. to imagine how use digital technologies to facilitate the transition from today’s digital economy of surveillance capitalism and data extractivism to an alternative political and economic project. In this phase a sociodemographic survey was also launched to collect information about the perceptions on the digital economy and to design communicative actions to improve the inclusiveness of the process.

The current phase (2) is that of proposals for a digital economy based on data commons, lunached considering the current situation of data extraction and concentration and based on the diagnosis made on the digital society in the first phase. During the Sharing Cities Summit for example a dedicated meeting took place, divided into a talk and four group work sessions, one for each axes of the pilot project (legal, economic, governance and experimental – see below). During this workshop 64 proposal were collected and in the next phases they will be voted, discussed and signed. The DDDC staff underlines that the process is prefigurative since they are trying to create and practice data commons while deliberating and talking about data commons.

In this phase the results of the survey on sociodemographic data were also analyzed with the aim to define, implement and experiment data use strategies for inclusion in participation (these strategies can potentially be used in future by platforms such as Decidim). The analysis is made by the Barcelona Now – BCNNOW.

The next phases are:

Phase 3 – Debate: discussion on the proposals received.

Phase 4 – Elaboration by the DECODE team and the interested participants

Phase 5 – Signing: collection of support for the pilot project results using DECODE technology for secure and transparent signature (based on encryption techniques and distributed ledger technologies). Crucial phase: this technology, integrated with DECIDIM, will help in the construction of a more secure, transparent and distributed networked democracy.

Phase 6 – Evaluation: closing meeting and launch of a survey to help in the assessment of the satisfaction or participants with the process and with the DECODE technology

Legal aspects, governance issues and economic topics are the three main axes followed during the different phases, since they provide a differential approach to discuss around data. A fourth axis is the experimental one, dedicated to the use and definition of collective decisions around the database resulting from the data shared during the pilot project. Il will become a kind of temporary commons useful to improve the deliberative process itself, a practice that could be incorporated in future Decidim processes.

At the end of the pilot project a participatory document, with paper or manifesto around the digital economy will be released.

The importance of this kind of pilot project is clear if we think to the huge amount of data that everyday every citizens is able to produce… By now we live in a “datasphere”, an invisible environment of data, quoting Appadurai, a virtual data landscape rich in information, cultural and social data. Our data indeed constitute digital patterns that reveal our behaviors, interests, habits. Some actors, especially big corporations and States, can act upon this data, can use them to surveil and influence our lives, through strategies such as ad hoc advertisements or even intervention in elections (see the case of the Cambridge Analytica or the referendum on an EU agreement with Ukraine) or generation of citizens rankings (such as the Chinese case). These “data misuses” can even influence and affect democracy. Nevertheless, if successful, the knowledge and insight created by the datasphere may become a powerful managing and intelligence tool and the debate about the so-called “datacracy” is indeed growing.

In this frame, and considering the little awareness still surrounding the topic, the DDDC pilot project on the one hand tries to stir critically consciousness and common construction in this arena, on the other tries to provide the necessary tools to go in this direction, improving Decidim and pushing forward the DECODE vision of data sovereignty.

[1]For more information about DECODE browse the projects documents: partners, funding, FAQs or the official website

[2] That is, models where people share data and allow for open use while remaining in control over their data, individually and collectively

Save the date: “Science for the City” roundtable

Save the date: “Science for the City” roundtable

On 21st and 22nd of February LabGov will participate at the Science for the City roundtable at the CDMA in Brussels.

The initiative was presented by Caroline Nevejan, Chief Science Officer of the City of Amsterdam, Charlina Vitcheva, Deputy Director-General of the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission and Patrick Child, Deputy Director-General of DG Research and Innovation (RTD) of the European Commission.

The topics that will be discussed during these two days refer to the main challenges cities are facing all over the world and the best ways to tackle them: climate change, energy transition, social cohesion, employment, quality of the air and water, circular economy, security, reduction of inequalities, and many others.

The solutions to these challenges will mostly come from cities’ innovative strengths. Many cities are indeed pioneering in responding to these challenges by designing and implementing evidence-based policies.

In order to continue to respond flexibly to developments in society and to find adequate solutions to many of these challenges a strategic knowledge and research function within the municipality is essential. In a number of cities, a special function or position has been created to ensure the connection between science and policy. In the case of Amsterdam, for example, the strategic position of a Chief Science Officer (CSO) was created. In other cities similar functions have been established, although often with a different title. 

The roundtable therefore aims at furthering the collaboration among cities, scientists and urban experts on these innovative institutional frameworks that allow for the development of innovative policies.

Over the course of two days, the event will focus on discussing the existing and developing challenges faced by cities and the possible scientific responses.

It will also serve to exchange views on trends and developments in science and knowledge (for instance the ‘Open Science’ discussion) that are relevant to scientists and urban policymakers.

Representing LabGov, Cosima Malndrino will bring forward the experience of Reggio Emilia, one of the pioneer cities in Italy and Europe who are reforming the role of urban authorities in order to foster sustainable and participatory innovation.

Save the Date: giornata di apertura di EDU@LabGov 2018/2019

Save the Date: giornata di apertura di EDU@LabGov 2018/2019

Venerdì 15 febbraio 2019 dalle ore 16:00 alle 18:00 presso il LOFT del campus LUISS di viale Romania, 32, si terrà la giornata di apertura dell’A.A. 2018/19 della Clinica Urbana EDU@LabGov – LABoratorio per la GOVernance della città come un bene comune”, il percorso formativo di educazione transdisciplinare e applicata curato dal team EDU di LabGov e installato presso l’Università LUISS Guido Carli, che si svolge annualmente a partire dal 2012 nell’ambito delle attività Soft Skills dell’Ateneo, con studenti provenienti dai Dipartimenti di Giurisprudenza, Scienze Politiche ed Economia ( ).

Tanti saranno gli ospiti e tante le idee in circolazione. L’incontro ospiterà un confronto tra Giovanni Lo Storto, Direttore Generale della LUISS, Massimiliano Giansanti, Presidente di Confagricoltura e il “cuoco-contadino” Peppe Zullo, sui temi dell’agricoltura urbana, dell’alimentazione sana, sostenibile e consapevole, della salute e del benessere connessi all’alimentazione, del mondo dell’imprenditoria agroalimentare sostenibile.

L’incontro rappresenta un momento importante per LabGov perché inaugura pubblicamente la progettualità comune che vedrà la LUISS, LabGov e Confagricoltura lavorare congiuntamente nei prossimi mesi. LUISS, LabGov e Confagricoltura stanno infatti definendo un progetto mirato a diffondere una cultura dell’alimentazione che sia sana, consapevole e sostenibile, e che avrà la sua base di partenza nell’agricoltura urbana e la sua fase di start-up nei cinque moduli della Clinica Urbana EDU@LabGov: il progetto OCULUS “Orti Condivisi Urbani per il Lavoro, l’Uguaglianza, la Salute”. Questo progetto nasce da una comune intesa e visione tra LUISS, LabGov e Confagricoltura sul tema dell’alimentazione e dell’agricoltura. L’agricoltura, fermo restando il prioritario obiettivo di produrre alimenti, ogni giorno, a prezzi accessibili, garantendo ai consumatori la sicurezza alimentare in termini di quantità e qualità, contribuisce alla gestione dei beni comuni e fornisce alla collettività servizi eco sistemici. È Proprio per tali motivi che LUISS, LabGov e Confagricoltura sono convinti che occorra aumentare la consapevolezza del ruolo fondamentale che l’agricoltura svolge nell’interesse comune, anche attraverso la tutela del paesaggio, degli ecosistemi e della biodiversità, che costituiscono un patrimonio collettivo.

In tale contesto, è interessante percorrere il sentiero di una fertilizzazione incrociata e/o di una sinergia tra l’esperienza degli “orti urbani condivisi” e le politiche, programmi e iniziative sulla salute e il benessere urbano, prestando particolare attenzione alla nutraceutica. La Nutraceutica è un termine derivato dalla fusione delle parole “nutrizionale” e “farmaceutica”, che sta a indicare lo studio di quei principi attivi presenti negli alimenti comuni in grado di svolgere funzioni protettive per la nostra salute e preventive di patologie cronico degenerative.

La seconda ora dell’incontro vedrà intervenire la dottoressa Claudia Giommarini, responsabile di ERS and student’s development LUISS, da sempre attiva promotrice nell’ateneo di progetti e iniziative riguardanti la sostenibilità. Verranno infine consegnati gli attestati agli studenti della clinica urbana EDU@LabGov A.A. 2017/18.

Ne vedremo delle belle!