For several years now, LabGov -LABoratory for the GOVernance of the city as a common good has been devoting great attention to the issue of urban agriculture.


The experiences of urban agriculture, and in particular urban gardens and shared gardens, are central in the management of the city as a common good and in the engaged research activity carried out by LabGov, consisting in the study and development of methods, policies and projects aimed at the shared and collaborative management of urban spaces and resources. Urban gardens, in fact, especially in the Roman reality, were born and are born in the vast majority of cases in abandoned or inadequately cared for green spaces. They are born thanks to the initiative of individual citizens or groups of citizens, who gather around the aforementioned green spaces, as a hobby, for ecological reasons, with the intention of making a place come back to life (and live) and/or simply to be in community. Spaces of this kind then contribute to making the ‘surrounding area more pleasant and livable, thus increasing the quality of life and social harmony in the neighborhood, they are for this reason fundamental in the urban planning phase.


LabGov, since its founding, has paid special attention to this issue. In 2014, students of the EDU@LabGov urban clinic (the LabGovers), held by LabGov at LUISS Guido Carli University, made a decisive contribution to the creation of Italy’s first university community garden, the #ortoLUISS. Since then, the LabGovers have been co-managing this innovative university space and making it a training ground for collaboration and experimentation. Many are in fact the projects that have been born in the garden and that more than once have been spread and replicated in the neighborhoods of the city of Rome. To date, in fact, there are four urban satellite gardens of the #ortoLUISS scattered throughout the city and its suburbs. The 2015/16 A.A. LabGovers helped to create, in collaboration with two associations of the V Municipio, 100 and a capo APS and Comunità per il Parco Pubblico di Centocelle ODV, with the association Zappata Romana and with ENEA – Agenzia Nazionale per le nuove tecnologie, l’energia e lo sviluppo economico sostenibile, three urban vegetable gardens in vascone, installed at a garden adopted by the first of the two associations and open to the attendance and participation of the city’s inhabitants. The 2016/17 A.A. LabGovers created in collaboration with the Community for Centocelle Public Park ODV and ENEA a series of urban box gardens, donated on a day of celebration and retake two ROM families in the area and installed in a private part of Centocelle Park. The A.A. 2017/18 LabGovers helped create, together with students from the Master of Landscape Architecture degree program, chaired by Professor Alessandra Battisti, and agronomist and botanist, Professor Barbara Invernizzi, the Community for Centocelle Public Park ODV and ENEA, a series of vertical and in-box urban gardens, which were installed in the garden of the Rugantino Public Library, in Torre Spaccata, and in the garden adjacent to it, taken over and cared for by the Community. During this last year of work, LabGovers helped create, in collaboration with other LUISS students, an urban garden at the Boccioni Elementary School, Parioli.


These four urban gardens, like all gardens in the city, have multiple functions. To date, in fact, these realities, in addition to having a recreational function for the community gardeners who tend them and contribute to the regeneration of urban greenery, constitute an important point of social aggregation thus facilitating the establishment and/or strengthening in terms of cohesion of local communities, which find themselves collaborating in the governance of real urban commons. In addition, urban gardens increasingly represent a place of integration and learning for all those who frequent them. In fact, to date, there are many examples of social inclusion that gravitate around the reality of urban gardens, to name a few, in the university garden of the Luiss is involved for years now an association, of autistic children (Giardinieri Ribelli), who have the opportunity to learn the rudiments of agriculture thus being included in this environment. Another example of integration fostered by urban gardens is that of foreigners, demonstrated by the project “Intergenerational and solidarity urban gardens,” which allows young immigrants to be able to come into contact with the local urban reality and learn the knowledge necessary for the practice of agriculture.


In addition, since May this year LabGov has become an integral part of RU:RBAN, a European network funded by the EU project URBACT III, as a facilitator among the various stakeholders involved in the project. The network envisages the creation of a Local Action Plan, with the participation of Roma Capitale and local stakeholders, aimed at the implementation of a public policy directed at social inclusion and urban regeneration activities with a focus on what concerns agriculture in the city.