A week contributing to the co-governance of Dutch cities

A week contributing to the co-governance of Dutch cities


From Wednesday 20 to Sunday 24 June Pakhuis de Zwijger (Amsterdam Metropolitan Area) will host the We Make The City Festival. Five days celebrating the urban living by collectively debate the challenge of making better cities. This huge event will erupt in the streets of Amsterdam with 30 urban talks, 50 workshops, 30 city expeditions, 15 special events, and 10 exhibitions bringing together 600 local, national and international speakers, and 30.000 participants including municipal workers, inhabitants, active citizens, commuters, and visitors to talk about the most urgent urban issues like climate, safety, affordable housing, and health.

LabGov will participate in the session – on Thursday 21 June – about Co-Creating the City contributing to answering the question “How does co-creation work in the urban practice?”. The notion of co-creation evokes and resonates the one of co-governance in raising awareness and addressing the need of a collaborative city-making approach able to include different type of urban stakeholders (knowledge institutions, businesses, start-ups, SMEs, welfare organizations, social innovators and the government) for a more inclusive, innovative and sustainable urban development.

In the context of a full day debate with representative of European municipalities, foundations, citizens and civil society associations – including  Amsterdam, Athens, Ghent, Groningen, Lisbon, Madrid, Nantes, Reykjavik, Rotterdam, and Vienna – a well as researchers from worldwide knowledge institutions – like Harvard University, LabGov São Paulo and San José State University – and international networks like the Project for Public Spaces; LabGov will share the added value of the Co-City approach leading a panel to discuss “Infrastructure and the Co-City: How Might We Make Urban Infrastructure Work for Everyone?”.

Christian Iaione (Professor of Urban Law and Policy at LUISS University, and LabGov Co-Director), Sheila Foster (Professor of Law and Public Policy, University of Georgetown), Simone D’Antonio (URBACT), Asali DeVan Ecclesiastes (New Orleans Business Alliance), Marcella Arruda (Instituto A Cidade Precisa de Você, LabGov São Paulo) and Joachim Meerkerk (PhD researcher, Amsterdam University of Applied Science) – in a break-out session facilitated by Alicia Bonner Ness – will address the issue of how the Co-City approach can help city leaders and city-makers in serving collective needs leveraging public-community cooperation.

Key in the discussion will be the focus on infrastructures. Not only because urban infrastructures are the main resources in becoming urban commons if collaborative managed and collectively shared; but especially because this multi-stakeholder and democratic management of common goods is itself co-creating new infrastructure of urban governance. According with the Co-City methodology, in fact, the creation of a collaborative social and economic ecosystem will be transitioning urban governance from urban commons projects to the City as a Commons.

Another interesting highlight of the week will be the participation of Professor Christian Iaione in the EMMA experts event in The Hague on Wednesday 20 June that will also be focused on collaborative partnership between local public authorities, social innovators and civil society in the co-creation of the city that is the basis of the quintuple helix theory of the Co-City approach.

Find the complete program of the Festival on the official website: https://wemakethe.city/nl/programma

Dal 20 al 24 giugno Pakhuis de Zwijger (Amsterdam) ospiterà il We Make The City Festival: cinque giorni dedicati alla celebrazione dell’urban living attraverso un dibattito collettivo su come migliorare le nostre città. LabGov terrà, nella sessione “Co-Creating the City” un panel sull’approccio Co-Cities dal titolo “Infrastructure and the Co-City: How Might We Make Urban Infrastructure Work for Everyone” e una break-out session facilitata da Alicia Bonner Ness.

A masterclass on The City as a Commons

A masterclass on The City as a Commons

On Friday, January 12, the Executive Urban Management Master of Amsterdam University of Applied Science is going to host a masterclass on The City as a Commons [1]held by LabGov’s co-founder prof. Christian Iaione.

The Master aims at growing young professionals willing to deal with the big urban challenges that cities are constantly facing nowadays. During this master students develop competences to effectively tackle metropolitan issues. They acquire up-to-date knowledge of various issues, methods and theories, do practical research and build a multidisciplinary network. After successfully completing the Urban Management master’s program, they may take the title of Master of Arts (MA).

The masterclass will focus on the LabGov theoretical framework and case studies, on the concept of the quintuple helix (the structure that stimulates public-private partnerships, by involving five types of actors: civic, social, cognitive, public and private), with an emphasis on the role of the knowledge institutions in the Co-City arena.

[1] Read the full paper “The City as a Commons” by Sheila Foster and Christian Iaione here: http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1698&context=ylpr

LabGov in Croatia: “4th Conference on Good Economy” and “Good City for All” Seminar

LabGov in Croatia: “4th Conference on Good Economy” and “Good City for All” Seminar

There is one kind of economy which is good: it is the economy which supports the quality of life of the whole community, creates the abundance of possibilities and opportunities needed to satisfy our needs without hurting others, embraces responsibility and nourishes solidarity. It is the economy which uses and shares the resources fairly, which respects the sustainability of the system.

It is about this kind of economy that the participants in the “4th Conference on Good Economy” will talk about during the conference that will take place in Zagreb from Thursday the 23rd to Saturday the 25th of March 2017. The conference, organized by The Green Network of Activist Groups and by Dobra Ekonomija will be a great occasion for speakers coming from all over the world to meet and exchange knowledge and experience on good economy models. From Delhi to Berlin, from Paris to Barcelona, Sarajevo, Wien, Lincoln or Rome, different practices have been developing: we observe the emergence of “collaborative economy” practices, “open factories”, ecological social enterprises, participatory and democratic governance experiences, collective ownership, and much more.

Professor Christian Iaione, LabGov co-founder, has been invited to the conference to speak about the idea of the “City as a commons” (discussed in this paper) and about the possibility to develop a urban co-governance framework. It will also be an occasion to present the experimentations conducted by LabGov in different Italian cities and in the international arena.

The “City as a Commons” and LabGov experience with urban co-governance in the city of Bologna will also be presented by Professor Christian Iaione during the “Good City for All” seminar, which will take place from the 24th to the 26th of March in the area of the Plitvice lakes. During the event the participants will address important questions, such as how we can coordinate and strengthen civil society’s strategies to tackle urban issues and influence the political agenda positively, within the framework of a European debate on the transformative power of urban politics in a two-fold event.


Nei prossimi giorni il Professor Christian Iaione, co-fondatore di LabGov, sarà in Croazia per parlare dell’idea di “The City as a commons” e delle sperimentazioni sviluppate da LabGov a Bologna e in diverse città italiane e straniere con lo scopo di sviluppare nuove forme di co-governance urbana.

The City as a Commons discussed during the third workshop

The City as a Commons discussed during the third workshop

On Friday, March 10th, we had the honor to host Professor Sheila Foster, LabGov’s co-founder, co-director of the Fordham Urban Law Center and founder of the Fordham University Urban Consortium, and Professor Maria Rosaria Marella, professor in Private Law at the University of Perugia. Two experts at the international level together to talk about the city as a commons, and about use and property in the urban space as well.

To govern the city as an urban common is the goal for witch we’ve been working for years. Cities are at the same time resources and generative elements so that we can bring by them other several different resources and our duty is to take care of them and to use them as better as we can. How do we create these processes of distribution of resources by the commons to the citizens? What are the limits to the private property and how we decide what’s the right moment to entrust the management of the property to the comunity in order to avoid the “slippage” phenomenon?”.

It is not easy to find answers to these questions but we can notice that the Italian law system tries to solve this problem with a juridic act according to witch is possible to buy properties in collectives without having in return money, but reinvesting it in the society.

Professor Sheila Foster shared with the labgovers her experience on urban commons, defined as something that has to be open, accessible and potentially collectively owned, and talked about the big issue of resource distribution within the city, which leads us to the problem of how do we allocate resources. Professor Foster also shared her knowledge on experiences in New York City (a city that is currently acting as a private land owner) on community-owned networks (broadband) and collaborative ecosystems, that act as incubators fostering common-pooled small business and start-ups, and teach them how to create tech goods, and how to use the commons to pull and distribute resources.

Professor Marella, starting from the assumption of the city as a commons as a place where value and wealth are produced, proposed the legal tools we currently are putting in place to have access to and redistribute resources: the right of access and use, and the limits to the property.

A great moment of discussion and thinking with the students followed the two speeches.

Il 10 marzo, durante il terzo workshop di LabGov EDU 2016/2017, abbiamo avuto l’onore di avere come relatrici dell’incontro la professoressa Sheila Foster, co-fondatrice di LabGov, co-direttore del Fordham Urban Law Center e fondatore del Fordham University Urban Consortium, e la professoressa Maria Rosaria Marella, docente del Dip. di Giurisprudenza presso l’università di Perugia. Due esperti di beni comuni a livello internazionale, insieme per condividere con i labgover la loro esperienza.

La prof.ssa Foster, esperta di governance dei beni comuni urbani intesi sia come risorse in sé sia come elementi generativi, ha condiviso la visione di beni comuni urbani come qualcosa che deve essere aperto, accessibile, e “collectively owned” e parlato di esperienze portate avanti a New York, nello specifico nel Bronx e ad Harlem, concentrandosi sugli ecosistemi collaborativi

Ha poi proseguito la prof.ssa Marella portandoci ad esempio il caso di “salute ambiente e territorio” sul quartiere del Pigneto di Roma per evidenziare i problemi che la proprietà pubblica e privata stanno affrontando negli ultimi anni concernenti i limiti del loro utilizzo e la mancata valorizzazione dei loro benefits.


È emerso che la città è:

  • luogo di produzione, di ricchezza e di produzione.
  • luogo di espressione.

Una prima riflessione/domanda emersa è stata:

‘’Tutti producono valore, ma come possiamo avere accesso a questa ricchezza? In che misura questa ricchezza può essere distribuita?’’

Giuridicamente non esistono molti riferimenti: tendenzialmente ci sono strumenti che hanno in qualche modo realizzato il diritto di uso agli spazi, e di conseguenza limiti alla proprietà (pubblica e privata). Il caso Pigneto a Roma è molto sentito ed è una situazione molto articolata. Vi è una piccola piazza molto frequentata, gestita dai residenti, in cui organizzano cene e feste particolari. Un giorno una fila di box viene venduta ad un imprenditore che presenta subito un cambio di destinazione di uso per farci una sorta di Starbucks italiano.

Cosa si può fare? C’è un modo per resistere al cambio di utilizzo? In che misura questa comunità ha la possibilità di utilizzare questo spazio e quanto può rivendicarlo?

Si può pensare di evitare la proprietà dando ai singoli utenti l’uso di un’unità in modo che la circolazione dell’immobile nel mercato può essere controllata dalla comunità.

Ci sono già degli esempi di uso comune come i regolamenti (patto tra i cittadini e il comune in cui si stipulano delle regole), immobili assegnati alla comunità con amministrazione favorevole, ad esempio l’ex asilo filangieri (Napoli) (serie di beni diventati accessibili al pubblico).

Nel caso Pigneto questo diritto della cittadinanza non è realizzabile perché non si può rivendicare un bene accessibile – anche se privato – alla comunità.

Ai due speech è seguito un interessante momento di dialogo e confronto con gli studenti.

Appuntamento al 17 e 18 marzo per il primo co-working del secondo semestre!