EU Regions and cities talk about sharing economy

EU Regions and cities talk about sharing economy

220px-Comité_de_las_regionesOn the 29th September at the 5th meeting of the Commission for Economic Policy, the CoR will discuss its draft opinion on “The local and regional dimension of sharing economy”. As anticipated in July this opinion has been drafted by LabGov Director, Professor Christian Iaione, after a long consultation with many experts worldwide.

The document contains a series of policy recommendations pertaining the nature and the role of the Sharing Economy (SE) in the broader European framework. It builds on Professor Iaione theory of Poolism and pooling economy. In addtition, while defining the dynamic nature and the core features of SE, the document tries to design essential principles for an EU initiative on the SE.

SE is all about changing paradigm, it is a megatrend. One of its main highlights is about transforming the standard economic agent, in a way for which also consumers become able to monetize or exploit idle assets. What is novel is the capacity of people to participate in the SE as users, capitalizing their collective capability. In other words, people are not anymore economic actors and economy is not only a unilateral top-down process: people are users, co-workers, designers, makers, creators, artisan and much more. And the market place is a global network.

Thus, the realm of SE comprises and adopts a platform whereby the traditional economic model is not anymore functioning as the main driver. More likely, SE encompasses sharing, trading, or renting assets instead of buying them, and it comes with the right technology allowing demand and supply to interact.

Services like Car2Go, AirBnb, Bla Bla Car, Roomz, Stayz, Uber, and MamaBake, are just some of the most successful experiences of collaborative consumption. They have won a sizable market share not because they are offering a product, but because they offer a connection. However, the narrative of SE is far from being normalized in institutional behaviour. In fact, while there is much agreement on the question of paradigm change, what is less clear is about the direction that is taking this shift. In other words, is all the sharing economy about similar use or same access and functioning? Or otherwise there is not yet a commonly shared culture of SE?

Coming to think about it, Bertrand Russell famously once said: “Everything is vague to a degree you do not realize until you have tried to make it precise”. Exactly, this is what happens when trying to put the concept of sharing economy in the spotlight. SE seems to emerge in various configurations, all alternatives to capital-intensive forms of market economy, but yet with different social, legal and business patterns.Not surprisingly then, it is very difficult to think about regulating SE at EU level, at least at current development stage.

Someone said that “sharing economy uses technology to reshape the world through transforming the need to own. It’s a world in which our collective capability meets our collective needs, where we collaborate to enhance each other’s lives, protect our planet and create wealth from which everybody benefits”. (Benita Matofska, Chief Sharer, Compare and Share and global expert on the sharing economy)

But again, this is a good attempt to capture a new idea never expressed before and nothing more. On the opposite, the regulatory nature of EU requires clear standards and concepts if we want [or we need] to build a tailored policy framework for regulating sharing economy.

Certainly the complexity of the task is evident, but at the same time economic trends are just incumbent and running wild. Sometimes they disrupt established business models and companies offering traditional services are threatened. At the same time, governments cannot hold back the tide of market forces and consumers’ preferences, failing to respond with timely and appropriate regulations. So, how can EU correctly think about sharing economy?

First of all, it is necessary to understand the many types and steps of sharing economy, as eventually they would require different regulatory approaches. Secondly, what have to be pointed out are the effects of the SE on the economic, environmental and social landscapes. In fact, SE practices are not necessarily optimal in terms of sound environmental protection, social cohesion, or even equality and social justice; for instance, many business initiatives might create significant imbalances in economic power and can be unsustainable as related to environmental impacts.

Also, to prevent inappropriate policy contexts and unfair treatments, it is necessary to develop a comprehensive approach to SE in a way for which citizens, companies and institutions would feel comfortable with with the regulatory framework. Discrepancy in power should not result.

Lastly, EU is called to address SE as a political and social phenomenon, in a way to make it mainstream in the everyday life and to make the institutional framework compliant to a bottom-up, adaptive, experimental and collaborative approach.

If all the previous conditions are met, SE might really function as a paradigm changer, in the sense of giving rise to a new positive economic identity. All things considered, LabGov has a vivid interest in sharing economy. For this reason, the reccomendations and the results that are due to be published after the debating, will turn to be extremely fruitful for the forthcoming conference on “The City as a Commons: Reconceiving Urban Space, Commons Goods And City Governance”, organized in collaboration with the Fordham University of New York and the ICEDD of the LUISS University of Rome.

The novel future is about institutions and regulations that make people live together; we need to create a culture of collaboration and to associate initiatives, efforts and assets in a way that is sustainable for the needs and interests of the whole population.


Il dibattito sull’economia collaborativa assume una connotazione ancora più importante alla luce dei recenti sviluppi industriali e commerciali che la sharing economy (SE) comporta. Esempi come Uber, AirBnb o Bla Bla car, hanno mostrato come il paradigma di sviluppo economico sia sostanzialmente mutato.

Tuttavia, il nuovo profilo che è venuto a delinearsi racchiude in sé un cambiamento ancora più profondo, relativo al ruolo ed alla funzione che ogni cittadino assume. Secondo il paradigma della SE, la figura standard del consumatore ha lasciato rapidamente spazio a quella di utilizzatore, artista, creatore e molto altro. Non si parla più dunque di economia di consumo, ma semmai della condivisione.

Evidentemente però, una definizione univoca e condivisa circa le caratteristiche, i valori e gli obiettivi che l’economia collaborativa deve perseguire non esiste. Di conseguenza, aprire un dibattito istituzionale per chiarire le dinamiche e i punti chiave della SE a livello nazionale ed europeo appare quanto mai necessario.

Per questo motivo, il prossimo 29 Settembre, il CoR discuterà in sede istituzionale la sua “draft opinion sulla dimensione locale e regionale della sharing economy”.

L’occasione è importante per discutere tutta una serie di raccomandazioni riguardo la natura e il ruolo dell’economia collaborativa. L’idea principale è quella di chiarire la necessità di avere un modello economico che non crei macro-squilibri e che sia invece sostenibile per gli interessi e le esigenze di ogni singolo cittadino.

An Italian way to the Sharing Economy

An Italian way to the Sharing Economy

What is the main component of sharing economy? For sure, it is collaboration.

However collaboration can come in many ways, under several circumstances, for different reasons and can be achieved with various methods. And this is enough to explain why sharing economy is mostly a conceptual taboo rather than an established practice. Sometimes it goes hand in hand with new economic trends, while on several occasions it can be accompanied by more essentials social trans-formations.

So, if no vocabulary definition is specified and no manual is provided, how do we find out if there is an Italian way to the sharing economy?

On the 11th june 2015 at the Cattolica University in Milan, the most prominent experts on the sharing economy in Italy will exactly talk about this.

There will be the chance to bring the discussion upon the captivating themes of cultural production, sharing cities, crowd funding, networks and pacts of collaboration between the public administration and citizens for the regulation of the commons.

But there is also space for an interesting discussion on the rural co-working, complementary money, digital artisans and much more.

It is very important to talk about the Italian specificities, especially because the sharing economy is simply the mainstream argument in all policy and academic discourses.

For this reason it is a great occasion also to host prestigious international guests, like the sociologist Juliet Schor, one of the most attentive researcher on the sharing economy at international level.

Among the other panellists, Ivana Pais, Cristina Tajani, Christian Iaione, Mariella Stella and many others.


For the full list and for registration, please refer to the following link


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Giovedì 11 giugno, all’ università Cattolica di Milano si parlerà di Sharing economy. Numerosi esperti del panorama italiano si confronteranno sul tema della sharing economy e cercheranno di definirne i nuovi trend e le nuove sfide. L’evento è un importante spazio di condivisione, che mette in luce la crescente attenzione che il fenomeno della sharing economy attrae.

Tuttavia non dobbiamo immaginarla come una pratica unica e ben definita; esistono molti modi di proporla e obiettivi diversi da raggiungere. E’ per questo che l’evento parlerà di sharing economy all’italiana, con i suoi vizi e le sue virtù.


Per ulteriori informazioni e registrarsi all’evento, cliccare sul seguente link

Employment, social affair and inclusion: social enterprises as a drive for growth.

Employment, social affair and inclusion: social enterprises as a drive for growth.

According to a recent report issued by the European Commission, social enterprises have become nowadays a constitutive element of the strategy set up by European Institutions for promoting inclusive growth. Following the last recognition of social enterprises as something that can combine economic activity with social mission, they reflect the necessity to align business and investment programs to more ethical and social principles. The feature of “social enterprise” has indeed become associated to development and growth, revealing a latent necessity to address the growing instability and inefficiency of typical business models.

The idea of social enterprises is that they can provide innovative responses to the current economic, social and environmental challenges by developing social inclusion, social services, territorial cohesion and so forth.

Nonetheless, if social economy and social innovation are recognized to be at the heart of Europe’s concern, there is no such clarity in identifying which actors are supposed to “operate” within the novel ecosystem. By the way, the process of identification reveals another controversial problem, which is the one of defining what a social enterprise is.

For this reason, the European Commission launched a Mapping Study in April 2013 as a follow-up to Action 5 of the Social Business Initiative (SBI) to help fill this gap in knowledge. In particular, the objective is to converge toward a common operational definition of social enterprises. The relevance of the action is related to the dynamic evolution of such enterprises and to the fact that political arenas are constantly dominated by discourses on social innovation.

Finally, the study highlights another important aspect related to the process of mapping social enterprises: the family of those enterprises is incredibly diverse, encompassing a range of legal and organizational forms and it remains mainly unsupported in overcoming main barriers to development (poor visibility and recognition of the sector, the constraints of current legal and regulatory frameworks, limited financial resources, difficult access to markets)

So, acknowledging the role of such enterprises in tackling societal challenges, we should also understand how much is important to provide a supportive environment. In so doing, the preliminary step should consist in enabling supportive policy framework, by reinforcing for example the interconnections between stakeholders, or creating virtuous partnerships with diverse societal actors. Again, it would be nonsense talking about innovation without any regard to social stakeholders.

Recently Iris Network, the Italian network of Institutes for the research on the social enterpreises, published an interesting and comprehensive Report on the situation of the social enterprises in Italy.

The future is about collaboration.


Further info at:



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Il tema di imprese sociali in Europa rappresenta la nuova frontiera in termini di sviluppo economico e di crescita sostenibile. Legare tradizionali sistemi di business a dinamiche etiche e sociali riproduce i tratti di una strategia Europea sempre più mirata a investire sull’ inclusione sociale e sul valore economico aggiunto che se ne può trarre. Tuttavia, non sempre appare semplice definire quali siano le caratteristiche di queste imprese sociali, né tantomeno appare immediato costruire una mappatura per identificare i poli d’innovazione sociale.

Per questi motivi, la Commissione Europea affronta il tema delle imprese sociali e delle barriere allo sviluppo, identificando tra i maggiori limiti la mancanza di un sistema di policy per il supporto, nonché la difficoltà di accedere ai mercati ed ai finanziamenti.

Pertanto, nel ricercare una soluzione alle barriere strutturali che incontrano le imprese sociali nel promuovere il loro sviluppo, è evidente quanto la collaborazione tra i diversi attori sociali rappresenti in realtà la prima fonte di progresso.

Interessante anche il Report pubblicato recentemente da Iris Network sull’impresa sociale in Italia.




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Do you think that you have the right skills to govern? Test your abilities!

Do you think that you have the right skills to govern? Test your abilities!

According to a dictionary definition, cities are originally considered as any settlement where inhabitants decide to establish a community. In its simplicity, a city is an elaborate organization with fixed boundaries and certain powers of government over a densely populated area of citizens.

Ideally there are pertaining characteristics or belongings to a city, which are both physical and non-tangible. Alternatively, we can say that a city needs specific institutional arrangements and governing powers, certain structures, various resources as well as a minimum number of inhabitants.

However, if there is an urban community, a more or less tacit social contract will also be there. It means that the relationship between citizens, institutions and governance structures is defined by certain arrangements, which are the result of a complex process of social bargaining.

Public services are also part of this cluster of bargained arrangements and intuitively, every city proposes a different setting.

Virtually, it is impossible to satisfy all the preferences of the individuals, namely the organs of that specific society. Nonetheless, if anyone would feel to be unluckily born in the wrong place, here there is a game to plan your next departure.

Istatopoli, as called by its creators from ISTAT, the national institute of statistics, is a basic simulation that allows everyone to become mayor of his ideal city. In particular, giving the possibility to choose how to distribute services and public goods among the private, public or non profit sector, it is possible to understand which city in Italy fits mostly with our individual preferences.

The game is essentially based on a set of data that were collected in 2001 and it is complemented by an appealing map that shows in a glance how general services, like water, culture, health and instruction are nowadays distributed in Italy.

For further references or to become mayor for a day, click here for the game!


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Un divertente gioco può trasformarsi in un interessante esperimento di cittadinanza attiva.

L’obiettivo di Istatopoli è quello di far comprendere al cittadino come ciascuna scelta in termini di responsabilità e fornitura di servizi, possa creare città diametralmente opposte.

Scegliendo di assegnare la distribuzione dei servizi tra pubblico, privato e non profit, il giocatore definisce i parametri della sua città ideale. Infine, da un confronto con il database ISTAT, è possibile riconoscere quale sia la città che realmente si avvicina più alle nostre esigenze personali.

Per giocare e ulteriori informazioni, fare click qui.

Scuola di altra amministrazione: A game called “Community”.

Scuola di altra amministrazione: A game called “Community”.

On the 17th of April at Capannori (LU), one of the most virtuous Municipalities in Italy, there will be the occasion to talk about community and participation, thanks to the forthcoming initiative named “Scuola di altra amministrazione”.

The school is a great opportunity to share knowledge and experiences on the topic of active citizenship, with a specific glance at several successful experiences of “collaborative administration” such as the “Bilancio partecipativo” in Capannori presented by Luca Menesini or “the cultural imprint” in San Vito di Leguzzano, presented by Cristiano Filippi Farmar.

Thanks to the support of LAbGov and the participation of professor Christian Iaione, There will also be space for bringing the positive experience of the “Bologna Regulation on public collaboration for urban commons” and “Co-Mantova”, as ones of the most effective practices of positive and mutual contamination between active citizens and public administrations.

Further info about the school and program at: Link

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Il prossimo 17 aprile a Capannori, la Scuola di Altra Amministrazione promuoverà nuove forme di esperienze locali di cittadinanza attiva, attraverso il racconto di pratiche di contaminazione positiva tra enti locali e cittadinanza.

Nello specifico, grazie alle esperienze, competenze e testimonianze dei partecipanti alla giornata di formazione, sarà possibile analizzare più da vicino le dinamiche dei progetti di cittadinanza attiva e comprendere come il nuovo paradigma di collaborazione possa determinare il successo di progetti territoriali e urbani.


Per ulteriori informazioni, si rimanda al link