Climate Change and Environmental Risk in the City

Climate Change and Environmental Risk in the City

Environmental issues are becoming more and more a key challenge for cities around the world. C40 shows that “70% of cities are already dealing with the effects of climate change”. Cities have played a significant role in accelerating risks because of the continuous and unlimited urban growth we have witnessed in the past years. They are becoming bigger and bigger, creating over 70% of global CO2 emissions, and consuming ⅔ of the world’s energy. A striking C40 data warns us of the catastrophic effects that climate change can have on urban societies in the future: “Over 90% of all urban areas are coastal, putting most cities on Earth at risk of flooding from rising sea levels and powerful storms”.

What are the consequences of these environmental risks for the future of our cities? How to manage it? What solutions can we find?

In order to avoid any simplistic explanation on a topic of such importance and complexity, we ought to make clarity on the real terms of the discussion. What is risk and how do we define it?

Ulrich Beck sees a different and more obscure dimension to development; a “risk society” based on an acute awareness of risks and loss of faith in progress.
Even more interesting, is how this reflexive modernity embodies the exegesis of the progressive disillusion with institutional and traditional politics. According to Beck this detachment from traditional rhetorics produces a “sub-politics”, concerned with issues such as consumption and lifestyle.
Following this post-modern flavor, Beck concentrated initially on environmental issues such as the problematization of energy. Unlike goods, these “bads” could not be subject to a politics of distribution. The smog produced by domestic coal-burning, affected everyone. Because of this “egalitarian” redistributive effect, environmental hazards constitute an undiscriminated threat for everyone.

Natural hazards and disaster produce increasing catastrophes in cities (just see what has blown up Italy in the last few days!). That does not mean that other kinds of hazards are incapable of producing urban catastrophes. The answer is that natural hazards are joint products of nature and society. Unlike the other threats just mentioned, they are only partly created by humans; thus their unpredictable nature contributes to an incremental and general insecurity.

Since the industrial revolution cities are risk-producers and risk-bearers, both victims and executioners. Economic activity, sprawl and proximity have caused cities to become less and less sustainable; in particular we can infer a negative correlation between economic productivity and sustainability. Take a city-state as Singapore for example; in 1965 it was a polluter’s paradise: mucky rivers, polluted canals and raw sewage running rampant. A modern “Coke Town”. Per contra, things are changing because of the efforts of enlightened personalities. The city’s pioneer generation understood that if you make a city “a nice place to live, then people will come and invest.” Lee Kuan Yew became often called ‘Chief Gardener’ for his belief in the power of plants and biodiversity to transform people’s overall mental well-being, as well as physical spaces. Huge plants crawling up skyscrapers, natural parks and water sanitation measures (just to clean-up Singapore’s river took around 10 years!) represent a significant step towards global future objectives.

The renowned 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development addresses global challenges such as poverty, inequality but also climate and environmental degradation Nevertheless, 12 years seem to be not enough to face multifarious issues. Concerns have been raised too by the ASviS (Alleanza Italiana per lo Sviluppo Sostenibile). In the recently issued report, the association expressed its concern with respect to the “too slow” progress towards the SDGs, both for Italy and the European Union, which should present a framework of policies by the end of the year.

The 7th Environment Action Program (EAP) constitutes for the moment, the legislative and guiding framework to work on, identifying key objectives such as the protection of natural capital; the transformation towards a resource-efficient, low-carbon economy; and to safeguard Union’s citizens fro environment-related pressures.

 

 

Therefore, we should prepare our institutions and environmental management strategies for the twenty-first century, especially in the mega-cities that will likely become the pivots of global society. Worth mentioning is what 100 Resilient Cities does and aims to; pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation, their ultimate objective is to help cities to become more resilient to the physical, social and economic challenges – earthquakes, floods, sprawl, etc. – of the XXI century. Their philosophy is that, addressing both the shocks and the stresses, a city becomes more able to respond to adverse events, and is overall better able to deliver basic functions in both good times and bad, to all populations.

Thus, can we meet the basic needs—food, water, and energy—of a growing population and a growing economy and do better for biodiversity by 2030? If each country shows an increasing commitment towards environmental risk management, the answer will be probably an affirmative one. As James Mitchell has observed, failure to recognize natural hazards as a worsening urban problem suggests a myopic view of urban management and signals flaws in the conceptualization of sustainable development as a principle of urban management. It is to be hoped that efforts will be canalized into correcting the structural deficiencies peculiar of our risk society.

Festival della Partecipazione, L’Aquila 11-14 ottobre

Festival della Partecipazione, L’Aquila 11-14 ottobre

Il “Festival della Partecipazione”, promosso da ActionAid Italia e Cittadinanzattiva in collaborazione con Slow Food Italia e il Comune de L’Aquila è una quattro giorni di laboratori, conferenze, dibattiti e concerti, una fabbrica di idee per costruire le nuove forme della politica, dell’attivismo e della cittadinanza.

L’edizione 2018 si svolgerà dall’11 al 14 ottobre e ha lo scopo di proporre e approfondire un approccio fattuale, articolato e critico alla partecipazione democratica dei cittadini. Attraverso dibattiti, incontri, laboratori e concerti il festival mira a riflettere sullo stato della partecipazione democratica in Italia e in Europa.

Christian Iaione, co-fondatore di LabGov, interverrà all’Auditorium del Parco Sabato 13 ottobre nel panel intitolato “Aree interne e periferie urbane: vivere ai margini e riprendersi il futuro”. 

Il dibattito si concentrerà sulle aree interne del territorio italiano, provate dalla carenza di servizi negli ambiti di scuola, sanità e mobilità e dall’indebolimento demografico che le contraddistingue.

Il Festival è un luogo aperto a cittadini comuni, alle comunità degli aquilani e degli abruzzesi e sempre più a interlocutori ed esperti internazionali, ma anche a organizzazioni ed esperienze di attivismo civico, a interlocutori e partner pubblici e privati della partecipazione civica, ai media tradizionali e ai nuovi media, ai mondi della ricerca, della cultura e dell’arte. Non si tratta di un pubblico, ma di un insieme di partecipanti con l’occasione di scambiare e discutere informazioni, prodotti, idee ed esperienze.

La scelta de L’Aquila ha un forte significato simbolico: la città sta attraversando un complesso percorso di ricostruzione urbana e civica e crediamo che questo Festival possa essere un catalizzatore concreto di partecipazione al cambiamento.

Per più informazioni visitare il sito del Festival http://www.festivaldellapartecipazione.org/

House as a commons: from collaborative housing to community housing

House as a commons: from collaborative housing to community housing

Housing is one of the most serious urban issues: the Housing Europe 2015 Report described a dramatic situation marked by the lack of adequate housing, the increasing of social and housing polarization, phenomena of housing deprivation and  the reduction of affordability. In Italy, the last Federcasa-Nomisma report too has let emerge a difficult situation: the housing discomfort in 2014 involved 1.7 million households, touching both the Public Residential Building (ERP), and the non-ERP rentals. The social housing, even if able to offer leases lower than the market, cannot keep up with the growing demand; the Real Estate Funds System did not create enough accommodation to meet the housing demand. In addition, the last ISTAT report (2018) revealed the highest peak of absolute poverty since 2005, foreshadowing a possible increase of the housing emergency.

An important gathering to reflect about the Italian housing situation has been held in Matera (Basilicata) during the General Assembly of Federcasa[1], last June 27th -28th. A two-day conference introduced by a seminar event “House as a common. Public housing as a social infrastructure for urban regeneration and development”, organized by Federcasa in collaboration with LabGov – LUISS Guido Carli University and the ATER of Potenza and Matera. The event, with an international approach, was opened by the Federcasa President, Luca Talluri and moderated by the General Director, Antonio Cavaleri. It saw the presence of institutional actors and academic experts discuss the potentiality and critical issues of the new management and financing models for the public real estate. Among them also Professor Christian Iaione, which coordinated a recent research developed in collaboration with Federcasa to understand how to make the use of the existing housing stock more efficient and to investigate new models able to increase the availability of housing units and guarantee new ways of access.

The research “House as a Common: from collaborative to community housing”, presented during the conference and to be published in the next months, focuses on the analysis of new forms of living, currently under testing both in Italy and abroad, able to promote or facilitate initiatives of urban regeneration through processes of social, cognitive and technological innovation and to generate new forms of urban governance. In particular the national and European contexts, both in terms of legal systems and practices, analyzed in the report, have highlighted the relevance of new housing models in which the cooperation, sharing and collaboration are predominant. The report started from the Elinor Ostrom’s design principles, glimpsing in the cooperative and collaborative management model of living and in self-organized communities of residents an alternative way potentially able to give a new and effective answer to the housing problem. The Ostrom’s approach has been developed by Sheila Foster and Christian Iaione to adapt it to the urban context and the research used the five design principles identified by the two scholars through the field work of the “City as a Commons” approach to analyze the housing sector. Applying the Co-City approach to the housing sector means reading the current problematics through a different lens paving the way for the hypothesis that new housing models based on cooperation and collective forms of management can represent a concrete answer to the current housing shortage.

The research in particular analyzed and codified 73 Italian case studies, using the five design principles (urban co-governance, enabling state, economic and social pooling, experimentalism and tech justice) as empirical dimensions operationalized with qualitative indicators, taking inspiration from the Ostrom’s institutional analysis and from the Co-City database analysis, together with a hypothesis-generating and refining case studies methodology (Yin, 2014; Swanborn, 2010; Stake, 1995). In addition, an in-depth analysis through semi-structures interviews was made on 9 cases considered significant, extracted among those better able to show the main features and the dynamics to monitor under the Co-City protocol, and the main patterns emerged from the case selection.

In particular, in terms of co-governance, translating this Co-City reasoning at the housing level, allowed to retrace a three stages model: the simple building sharing (first degree of the co-governance gradient, sharing), collaboration or co-production of services operated by the actors involved in the housing project (second degree: collaboration) and co-management and co-ownership of the buildings by the actors involved (third degree: plycentrism). From the analysis emerged a tendency towards the polycentrism even if there are not completed forms of it. In Italy, in view of interesting experiences, they still situated at the first and second degree but allow to understand some crucial aspects: first of all how the implementation of complex levels of co-governance in the housing sector required to develop new multi-actors social partnerships forms (i.e. public-civic, public-private-civic, etc.) and an ecosystemic approach to realize the transition towards new forms of affordable housing. The role of the public actors (enabling state) appears as a key element that favors the success of the housing projects and the presence of economic and social pooling processes through collaboration enables positive externalities of public utility for the local community. In addition, the civic element seems to be a better guarantee in the creation of truly collaborative projects and the presence of the private actor can influence the development of the project especially in economic terms.

Nevertheless, there are some critical aspects underlined by the research: 1. A geographical imbalance in the distribution of the innovative experiences (the main innovative projects are located in the North and Central Italy, while the South still strive to find solutions in terms of housing affordability, the involvement of the public actor is still very marginal and the offer proposed by the active actors on the housing sector remains mainly private in nature); 2. Beneficiaries are mainly part of the so-called grey segment of population (people that cannot access to the traditional real estate market and not even to the public housing) and not the weakest; 3. Urban regeneration does not necessarily go through the re-circulation of disused public or private buildings; 4. With the Integrate Fund System often the public actors provide the land or the real estate but at the end the public resource benefits mainly the private actors and the fund becomes in this process a kind of privatization of the ERP system, hence the system should be rethought in order to avoid the risk to reproduce the same market fails of the public-private partnerships.

What emerges from the research is that the public support becomes more effective when combined with the private sector and the civic component in order to favor the shared use of the commons, maintain a high level of experimentalism, encourage the use of technological innovations and the spirit of collaboration. What is still missing is a widespread administrative favorable context, that is the enabler infrastructure required to spread these emerging models (Aernouts and Ryckewaert, 2017). Therefore implementing models that enhance the universalistic role of the public housing agencies considering the activation of multi-stakeholders partnership inside new co-governance models, could help to face the more dramatic situations and cover more segments of population looking for a housing solution (Aernouts and Ryckewaert, 2018).

From the analysis, the research identified the Community Land Trust[2] as the tool better able to reach the level of polycentrism, since it is a model of property cooperativism able to realize stable partnerships among the public institutions and the so-called “public as community” – inhabitants, civil society organizations, cognitive institutions). The CLT is a community-centered model that tends to connect the diverse autonomous centers of a city, foreseeing a property scheme; while the sharing and collaborative experiences observed in Italy are mainly based on the use and management of the housing property without opening to the wide community. The research suggests that in Italy this solution could be introduced experimenting the potentialities of legal forms such as the community cooperatives, the participatory foundations, and other forms of social partnership and administrative tools already existing in the Italian legal background. What is required is a contextual-based method applied through a preliminary experimental process inspired by the principle of the administrative self-organization of the local authorities and by the civic autonomy considering the specific variables of the urban social context and the institutional capacity. In this sense adopt an Advisory Board could be helpful to support the local governments and the agencies of public housings.

Besides the research “House as a commons: from collaborative to community housing” the conference saw the speeches also of other experts: Laura Fregolent from the IUAV University presented a research on Venice estimating the crisis impact on the housing sector and suggesting to rethink the city starting from a wide-ranging knowledge of the local contexts. Alice Pittini, research coordinator of Housing Europe, explained how the principles of self-management, empowerment and co-creation can be integrated in the housing theme. Joaquin the Santos from the CLT Brussels presented the Community Land Trust operating in Brussels.  Nestor Davidson, professor of law at the Fordham University, via skype call, explained how the American public housing works, going throw historical and political steps, stressing the concept of neighborhood effect, highlighting how the crisis is generating new housing models, talking about the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program, presenting some best practices such as the Common Property Funds or the New Yorker’s legislation to provide low-income citizens with access to counsel for wrongful evictions. In particular Nestor Davidson emphasized how the uncertainty of federal funding, as well as the political polarization, have led to social innovations and new models demonstrating that public and private can work together simply finding new tools to do it at best. Edoardo Reviglio from Cassa Depositi e Prestiti remembered the success of the old GESCAL founds and the importance to rethink the Piano Casa in order to consider the weakest segment of population.

Professor Iaione proposed some closing food for thought for the future:

  1. Knowledge: it’s important to note that a new social pact is already being re-established between those who manage the housing projects and those who live there and today there are already new solutions in the housing sector, hence we should start from the critical issues to understand how overcome them;
  2. Pluralism: the public actor is not alone, it can count on the communities and on a plurality of emerging solutions, actors and tools, from which the public houses should be reconceived as social infrastructures;
  3. Neighborhood effect: the housing agencies can be urban, but also social end economic, regeneration agents acting as engine of local development;
  4. Institutional capability: testing before and evaluating after, should be the guiding concepts before any concrete action or change in the normative frames.

The conference was closed by the President of Federcasa which also stressed the importance to start from what already exist in the Italian context to experiment new solutions, looking to processes of regeneration that are urban as well as social and economic.

[1] Federcasa is an association bringing together 114 public housing companies and housing bodies at the provincial, communal and regional level. Members of Federcasa provide over 850.000 social dwellings to low and middle income households, partly financed by public funding.

[2] TCP’s articles about CLTs available here.


Il mondo delle case popolari si è incontrato a Matera il 27/28 Giugno 2018 in occasione dell’Assemblea Generale di Federcasa. Un appuntamento arricchito dal convegno “Casa Bene Comune. Le case popolari come infrastrutture sociali per la rigenerazione e lo sviluppo urbano”, organizzato da Federcasa in collaborazione con l’Università LUISS Guido Carli e le ATER di Matera e Potenza. Diversi esperti, tra cui anche il prof. Nestor  Davidson in collegamento skype dalla Fordham University di New York, sono intervenuti per discutere delle potenzialità e delle criticità delle nuove formule di gestione e finanziamento dell’edilizia residenziale pubblica. In particolare è stata presentata la ricerca “Casa Bene Comune: dall’housing collaborativo all’housing di comunità”, coordinata dal prof. Christian Iaione che ha investigato nuovi modelli di abitare capaci di aumentare la disponibilità abitativa e garantire nuove formule di accesso.

Towards Community Welfare – The economic issue in the public-private partnership

Towards Community Welfare – The economic issue in the public-private partnership

Urbinclusion Local Support Group. Towards the community welfare. The economic question in the public-private partnership: regulation, responsibility, governance.

A workshop of the Local Support Group of the Urbact Network Urbinclusion takes place today, Tuesday 10 July 2018, from 3.30 to 6.00 pm. The workshop will be held at Corso Castelfidardo 30 in Turin.

Institutional greetings by Marco Giusta and Paola Pisano will open the day. Then, the URBinclusion Implementation Plan – LSG will be presented by the Special Project, Innovation, Smart City, the European funds of the City of Turin. This will be followed by the presentation of the UIA Co-City Project by the AxTO Project Service, Beni Comuni, Periferie of the City of Turin.

The interventions section will follow: S & T and SocialFare will talk about “Economic models applied to public-private partnerships in the case of community welfare projects”. Subsequently, a representative of the Neighborhood Houses Network of Turin on “The management of economic activities: opportunities and constraints”. Finally, Alessandra Quarta, a researcher of the Department of Law of the University of Turin will make an intervention on the “Legal and governance aspects in the forms of public-private collaboration, from the grant to the collaboration agreements”.

The second part of the event consists in a Roundtable on the issue “What governance?”. The roundtable is composed by representatives of the institutional and civic actors participating in the Urbinclusion network and are now active in the implementation of the UIA Co-City Project. Both policy programs are funded by the EU and aimed at promoting social and economic inclusion in the City’s outskirts and are facing the related economic sustainability challenges.

Progetto Speciale, Innovazione, Smart City, fondi europei della Città di Torino; Servizio Progetto AxTO, Beni Comuni, Periferie della Città di Torino, Valter Cavallaro, Gianni Ferrero; Servizio Area Patrimonio della Città di Torino; Servizio Area Partecipazioni Comunali della Città di Torino; Attori del tavolo Azioni collettive del progetto Boostinno; Compagnia di San Paolo; UIA Expert, Christian Iaione; ANCI, Simone D’Antonio; Beneficiari di Co.City (tipologia A e B); Unito- Dipartimento di Informatica, Guido Boella; Città Metropolitana, Claudia Fassero. Moderatori: Fabrizio Barbiero (Città di Torino) e Matteo Tabasso (SiTI)

 

 

Urbinclusion Local Support Group. Verso il welfare di Comunità. La questione economica nella partnership pubblico-privato: normativa, responsabilità, governance.

Si svolge oggi,  martedì 10 luglio 2018 dalle ore 15.30 alle 18.00 il workshop del Local Support Group del Network Urbact Urbinclusion. Il workshop si terrà presso Corso Castelfidardo 30 a Torino. 

Dopo i saluti istituzionali a cura dell’Assessore Marco Giusta e Paola Pisano, sarà presentato l’ URBinclusion Implementation Plan -LSG a cura del Progetto Speciale, Innovazione, Smart City, fondi europei della Città di Torino. Seguirà la presentazione del Progetto UIA Co-City Torino a cura del Servizio Progetto AxTO, Beni Comuni, Periferie della Città di Torino.

Seguirà la sezione degli interventi: S&T e SocialFare parleranno dei “Modelli economici applicati a partnership pubblico-private nel caso di progetti di welfare di comunità”. Successivamente, un rappresentante della Rete delle Case del Quartiere su “La gestione delle attività economiche: opportunità e vincoli”. Infine, la ricercatrice del Dipartimento di Giurisprudenza UniTo farà un intervento sugli “Aspetti giuridici e di governance nelle forme di collaborazione pubblico-privato, dalla concessione ai patti di collaborazione”.

La seconda parte della giornata prevede una tavola rotonda: Quale governance?

Alla tavola rotonda parteciperanno rappresentanti di realtà civiche e istituzionali impegnate in Urbinclusion e adesso nel progetto Co-City Torino, entrambi finanziati dall’Unione Europea ed entrambi focalizzati sulla promozione dell’inclusione sociale ed economica nelle periferie della città di Torino: Progetto Speciale, Innovazione, Smart City, fondi europei della Città di Torino; Servizio Progetto AxTO, Beni Comuni, Periferie della Città di Torino, Valter Cavallaro, Gianni Ferrero; Servizio Area Patrimonio della Città di Torino; Servizio Area Partecipazioni Comunali della Città di Torino; Attori del tavolo Azioni collettive del progetto Boostinno; Compagnia di San Paolo; UIA Expert, Christian Iaione; ANCI, Simone D’Antonio; Beneficiari di Co.City (tipologia A e B); Unito- Dipartimento di Informatica, Guido Boella; Città Metropolitana, Claudia Fassero. Moderatori: Fabrizio Barbiero (Città di Torino) e Matteo Tabasso (SiTI).

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.