Urban Clinic LabGov EDU 2019 – III workshop and co-working

Urban Clinic LabGov EDU 2019 – III workshop and co-working

Save the date: on 15th and 16th March will take place the third weekend of the EDU@LabGov Urban Clinic in Luiss Guido Carli University!

Friday 15th March from 16pm to 18pm in the Luiss Campus, we will host a lecture of professor Christian Iaione about Urban Law and Policy, and we will hear the testimony of lawyer Nico Maravia from law firm Pavia & Ansaldo and of the dr. Paola Marzi from the Municipality of Rome, who will speak about the Regulation on the urban gardens that she wrote for the Municipality of Rome.

Saturday 16th march from 10am to 17pm, will be held the third session of co-working. It will be divided into two part. First, we will hear Pasquale Tedesco’s experience: he is an expert in environmental sustainability, sustainable and synergic agriculture and in the field of urban and social gardens. In the second part of co-working the EDU LabGov team, thanks to the guide of Chiara De Angelis and Daniela Patti, we will speak about the process of design focusing on the user journey maps. In this way, the LabGovers will analyze all the passages of their project, they will answer to the needs of the ‘personas’ (the users object of their project) and they will define the various sections and the categories of contents of the platform that they are developing.

The next meetings are very important in order to complete and improve the idea that it is taking form more and more.

Stay Tuned!

Urban Clinic LabGov EDU 2019 – I Community Gardening

Urban Clinic LabGov EDU 2019 – I Community Gardening

The process of the Edu@LabGov Urban Clinic’s action on the city/university territory continues with the Community Gardening session which took place last Saturday the 9th of March 2019 in the LUISS Community Garden from 10 am to 12 am.

Labgovers, at first divided into three groups, started working to the construction of three prototypes of their project, using waste/recycled. Following the project’s idea elaborated during the Co-Working sessions in class, and also thanks to the advices of agronomist and botanist, dr. Barbara Invernizzi, the students completed the structure with fruitful outcomes.

These two hours of Community Gardening represented the starting point of a process of collaborative action which aims to concretize the principles of sustainability and circular economy which are central for the Urban Clinic. Nevertheless, the self-construction Lab is still a fundamental collaboration-gym to understand the importance of respecting the timeline in a project.

The project is not over yet: others two meetings are scheduled in the LUISS Community Garden, one for the 23th of March and one for the 27th of April.

Stay tuned!

Gli appuntamenti della Clinica Urbana EDU@LabGov continuano con la seconda sessione di Community Gardening che si è svolta lo scorso sabato 9 marzo 2019, presso l’#OrtoLUISS, dalle 10:00 alle 12:00.

I LabGovers, dapprima suddivisi in tre gruppi, hanno iniziato a lavorare alla realizzazione di tre prototipi creati attraverso il riuso di materiali destinati allo scarto. Seguendo l’idea progettuale frutto delle sessioni di Co-Working in aula, ed i consigli dell’agronoma e botanica Barbara Invernizzi, gli studenti hanno completato lo scheletro della struttura con ottimi risultati. 

I principi della collaborazione, la sostenibilità e l’economia circolare giocano un ruolo cardine negli appuntamenti di community Gardening nell’orto universitario della Luiss. Il laboratorio di autocostruzione (che si svolge in parte degli appuntamenti di Community Gardening) continua ad essere una palestra di collaborazione essenziale anche per comprendere l’importanza del saper rispettare i tempi di una progettualità (allenando alla lentezza), e al fine di raggiungere obiettivi comuni.

Il lavoro giungerà a conclusione nel giro delle due prossime sessioni di Community Gardening, previste per il 23 marzo e il 27 aprile.

Restate Connessi!

Assets confiscation to combat organized criminality

Assets confiscation to combat organized criminality

Nowadays, we are witnessing an ever-changing[1] evolution of ordinary citizens’ position. Individuals and groups are no longer mere beneficiaries of administrative acts and procedures but – in a way – parts of them. In this very context, the regeneration of urban commons can be located, not only in renewal purposes, but as well in the involvement of city inhabitants. More specifically, urban regeneration is described[2] as «the recycling, transformation and innovation process of urban commons», contributing to promoting “urban creativity”, with the aim of ensuring and improving quality and accessibility.

Particularly, this writing wants to tackle the problem of “final use” of confiscated urban assets which are in a state of disrepair and neglect.

Before getting into the issue in question, it is necessary to clarify the meaning of confisca and “urban commons”.

In the Italian legal system, the antimafia confisca is a preventative property measure, introduced in 1965 and currently regulated by the so called Antimafia Code[3].

According to code provisions, in order to apply antimafia confisca two elements are required.

Starting from the subjective element, the individual who acquires the relevant asset must be recognized as “socially dangerous” at the moment of acquisition, irrespective of whether such status ceases or the person dies.

There are two objective elements: direct or indirect accessibility by the individual to the asset and existence of sufficient evidence in relation to the unlawful origin of the confiscated asset (such as the disproportion between the asset’s value and the income declared by the individual for tax purposes, as established by the legislator).

On the other hand, the “urban common assets” are generally defined[4] as «material, intangible and digital assets recognized by citizens and Public Administration as useful for individual and collective well-being.»

In the light of the foregoing, considering that confiscated assets are (usually) private assets which can be classified as “urban commons”, ordinary citizens’ involvement to administrative acts can be applied and procedures can play a role.

Pursuant to what discussed above, if it is true that private assets (both real estate and companies) can be classified as “urban commons”, the question is: Is it possible to apply the same art. 190, Codice dei contratti pubblici to confiscated assets so that they could be subject to the contract on social partnership and its procedure?

Art. 190, Codice dei contratti pubblici[5], introduced in the Italian legal system the so-called contract on social partnership, whose criteria and conditions can be defined by local authorities «on the basis of projects presented by individuals or groups as long as with regard to a specific territorial scope.»[6]

As clarified also by Antonella Manzione[7], the contract on social partnership provides for a call for tender where “a competition of ideas” occurs for the final use of common assets. It must be borne in mind, though, that this must happen within the limits established by the Italian Court of Auditors[8], which requires compliance with some elements previously identified by the local authority itself, such as the ratione personae scope.

More precisely, whereby there are “urban common assets” in a state of disrepair and neglect and the local authority intends to ensure their exploitation «through cultural initiatives, urban renewal, restoration and refurbishment for general interest objectives»,[9], it should issue a call for applications and then conclude the contract on social partnership.

Carlo Pezzullo

[1] In this connection, CHITI E., La rigenerazione di spazi e beni pubblici: una nuova funzione amministrativa?, in DI LASCIO F., GIGLIONI F., La rigenerazione di beni e spazi urbani. Contributi al diritto delle città, Il Mulino, Bologna, 2017.

[2] According to art. 2.1, Regolamento del Comune di Bologna.

[3] The d. lgs. 159/2011 as reformed by the Law 161/2017.

[4] According to art. 2.1, Regolamento del Comune di Bologna.

[5] The d. lgs. 50/2016, as revisited by d. lgs. 56/2017.

[6] Art. 190 Codice dei contratti pubblici.

[7] The Italian Consigliera di Stato Antonella Manzione, during a lesson at LUISS Guido Carli with Prof. Christian Iaione, 2018 nov. 20.  

[8] Court of Auditors, sez. reg. Emilia-Romagna, 2016 march 23, n. 27; sez. reg. Lombardia, 2016 sep. 6, n. 225. 

[9] Art. 190 Codice dei contratti pubblici.

Moving Towards Long-Term Housing Affordability in France

Moving Towards Long-Term Housing Affordability in France

The Launch of the National OFS Network and the Cosmopole Project in Lille

On 15 and 16 November 2018 Sciences Po Lille hosted an event to celebrate the launch of the French National Network of the Organismes de Foncier Solidaire (OFS) and the signature of the first baux réel solidaire (BRS) between the recently established OFS Metropole Lilloise (OFSML) and the future residents of the project Cosmopole. The celebration occurred in the presence of the French Ministry for Housing and Town Planning and was met with great enthusiasm by a large audience of representatives of housing cooperatives and social housing associations (HLM), regional and municipal housing delegates, and the presidents of the seventeen OFS federated in the Network. The event also brought together property developers, representatives of financial institutions, such as the Crédit Foncier and the Caisse de Depot, and prominent figures of the French Conseil Supérieur du Notariat.

                        Fig 1: Logo of the event, Métropole de Lille

                        Fig 1: Logo of the event Ó Métropole de Lille

The reason for this widespread interest and support by such a diverse range of French housing stakeholders lies in the potentially far-reaching beneficial effects that the OFS-BRS scheme may have on the French housing market in terms of increasing its stock of permanently affordable housing, a mission which is altogether similar to that of Community Land Trusts in the United States. We have already described here the origins and the main features of the CLT model and have presented here the practical implementation of the model in the case of Dudley Street Neighbourhood Initiative, where it has resulted in fostering long-term housing affordability and revitalising the neighbourhood. We have also observed here that the concept and features characterising the CLT model did not remain confined to the United States but spread to several countries in Europe, including the United Kingdom, Belgium, and France, urging serious reflections on the most appropriate legal tools to adapt it in the different legal systems. In France, growing concerns over long-term housing affordability have hit the political and legislative agenda during the past five years and resulted in the legal introduction of the OFS-BRS scheme, whose functioning is inspired by the CLT model in the United States. Understanding how the OFS and BRS work together in practice was the main focus of the several workshops held during the event in Lille.

The first element of the scheme, the Organisme de foncier solidaires (OFS), was introduced by the Loi ALUR in 2014. Article L329-1, Code de l’Urbanisme describes the OFS as non-profit organisms totally or partially devoted to the acquisition and the management of improved or unimproved land, and whose main goal – as part of the broader housing promotion strategy set out in article L301-1 of the Code de l’Urbanisme – is to provide affordable homes to be rented out or sold to income-qualified persons. Two workshops during the event focused on the most appropriate legal formats and the procedure for the implementation of OFS. It emerged that the OFS may be set up by local and regional public authorities or by private housing stakeholders as non-profit entities, such as fondations reconnues d’utilité publique, sociétés anonymes de droit privé, groupements d’intérêt public, or as one of the legal entities mentioned in articles L411-2 and L481-1 of the Code de la Construction et de l’Habitation (CCH), and notably sociétés d’économie mixte de construction et de gestion de logements sociaux or organismes HLM.Different legal formats may better work in different local contexts and the choice may depend on the characteristics of the particular housing project(s) envisaged and on the nature and number of the stakeholders involved. However, identifiable common traits of the OFS are i) their non-profit nature and ii) their capacity to permanently devote land to affordable housing purposes. It should be also stressed that the OFS does not represent a new legal format, but a status recognised to an already existing legal entity. Indeed, according to articles R329-6 to R329-10 of the Code de l’Urbanisme, the OFS shall be approved by the local Prefect on behalf of the State after verifying that all the requirements established by the law are complied with. And the Prefect can at any time revoke or suspend the OFS status if found that the OFS no longer respects the conditions prescribed by the law or where it has contravened its main obligations.

The event in Lille also represented the opportunity to launch the Réseau National des OFS: « Foncier Solidaire – France », which takes inspiration from the UK and the United States National CLT Networks. Seventeen OFS recently set up or under creation have gathered in the Network with a view to support and promote the realisation of OFS-BRS projects. According to its Charter, the Network aims to i) sharing experiences and promote collaboration throughout the country, ii) put forward proposals to the Government and to other housing stakeholders, iii) facilitate the connection with new different forms of housing (eg habitat participatif), and iv) ensure large-scale communication to the public and foster the knowledge of the model. The Network may also involve other housing stakeholders, which are not OFS, such as local authorities, social housing promoters, financial institutions. In particular, the Fédération des Coopératives HLM and the National Association of the Etablissements Publics Fonciers Locaux have already decided to join this initiative.

How do the OFS work in practice? Further workshops during the two-day event focused on the second element of the BRS-OFS scheme, the bail réel solidaire (BRS), that is the legal mechanism through which the OFS can realise housing affordability goals. As para 3 of article L329-1 clarifies, the OFS-BRS scheme relies on a split in the ownership of land and improvements: the OFS are set to retain ownership of the land in perpetuity while homes built or renovated on the land are sold or rented out to income-eligible purchasers. In this way, the price for purchasing or renting homes is kept affordable to the extent that the cost of land is borne by the OFS. To this purpose, a major legislative intervention in July 2016 devised a new type of contract for the lease of land, the BRS, specifically tailored to be used by the OFS in furtherance of their mission. The BRS is regulated by articles L255-1 to L. 255-19 of the Code de la construction et de l’habitation (CCH) and by the decree of the Conseil d’Etat n° 2017-1038. The BRS is modelled after the structure of pre-existing types of ‘long leases’, notably the emphyteutic and the building lease, and allows to separate interests in the property for up to 99 years. However, some specific features make it the perfect instrument for the OFS to achieve housing affordability goals. In particular, the law precisely sets income-eligibility criteria for prospective occupants, strictly regulates their ability to transfer their rights over OFS homes by way of sale or by will, and grants the OFS a right of pre-emption in any case of resale; moreover, in case of transfer of OFS homes, the law establishes that the price must comply with a fixed formula which aims to limit speculation.

Thanks to this enabling legislative framework and to the support of a vast range of housing stakeholders, Lille Métropole has set up its OFS in February 2017 (OFSML). The OFSML has been set up together with the Métropole Européenne de Lille (MEL), the Fondation de Lille, and the federation of real estate developers Nord Pas-de-Calais; other organisms, notably Action Logement and the regional HLM association, will be soon integrated in the board of directors of the OFSML. In December 2017 the OFSML launched its first project, Cosmopole, which offers a good practical illustration of how the OFS-BRS scheme works. The different stages of the realisation of this project were presented during one of the workshops and a visit to the site was arranged during the event.

Fig.2: Author’s picture of the Cosmopole site
Fig.3: Author’s picture of Cosmopole’s blueprint

The Cosmopole project is located on the site of former university buildings in the city centre; the buildings were previously owned by the municipality of Lille and then bought by the OFSML thanks to a financial loan granted by the Caisse de Dépôt. For the realisation of the project, the OFSML has worked in partnership with a real estate developer (selected after a call for projects). The OFSML first sold the whole site to the developer and, subsequently, the developer sold back to the OFSML the land on which the 15 BRS homes were to be built, against payment of a symbolic price[1]. At this point, the developer entered into a BRS contract (called BRS-Initial) with the OFSML and acquired temporary ownership of future homes against payment of a peppercorn ground rent; at the same time, the developer undertook the obligation to build the homes and was granted the right to sell them according to the criteria already defined by the OFSML.

Households wanting to buy one of the homes have to i) comply with the eligibility criteria and be approved by the OFSML; ii) enter into a contract with the developer (Vente en état futur d’achèvement, or VEFA) where all the terms (eg price, income ceilings) are already set by the OFSML; and iii) simultaneously enter into a 99-year BRS contract with the OFSML, called BRS-Utilisateur, against payment of a ground rent (eg 1euro/m2/month). In this way, the households acquire ownership of the homes and become leaseholders of the OFSML land upon which they are located. At the same time, as the homes are sold by the developer the rights conferred to it via the BRS-Initial are withdrawn and, once the last home is sold, the contract expires. And now, if the BRS households ever want to sell their homes, they are bound by precise terms (set by the law and by the OFSML itself) concerning the resale price and their rights; equally, prospective purchasers will need to meet income eligibility criteria and be approved by the OFSML in advance. However, new purchasers will not have to enter into a new BRS with the OFSML, as they will substitute the former occupants and the original BRS-utilisateur will be automatically ‘recharged’ for another period of 99 years.

The Cosmopole project is in the latest stages of its completion: the first contracts BRS-utilisateur were signed between the OFSML and the purchasers in November 2018. According to the CEREMA’s report, the Cosmopole project is expected to be completed in early 2019, while another project of the OFSML, Bourse du Travail, is under construction and homes are expected to be ready in 2020. But the practical implementation of the OFS-BRS scheme is not confined to Lille. As highlighted in other CEREMA’s reports, several projects have been launched throughout the country by the OFS Rennes Métropoles, the OFS Avignon, the Coopérative Foncière Francilienne, the Foncière Haute-Savoie, and by the COLs Foncier Solidaire in Biarritz and in L’Espelette. Although each of these projects is supported by several different housing stakeholders and may have slightly different characteristics and targets, they all rely on the OFS-BRS scheme and pursue the goal of increasing the stock of permanently affordable housing.

Fabiana Bettini

Hulme Postdoctoral Fellow in Land Law, University of Oxford

[1] It should be mentioned that the whole site measures 20,000 m2 and will host 210 housing units. Along with the 15 units available for purchase by low-income households via the BRS scheme, the site will feature 49 social housing rental units, 9 housing units for moderate-income households, and 54 units under the pret locatif social-usufruit locatif social schemes (PLS-ULS). The site will also host 214 parking lots, a hotel, an art gallery, and the English Cultural Centre.

Open Heritage: Participatory governance of cultural heritage to foster local sustainable development

Open Heritage: Participatory governance of cultural heritage to foster local sustainable development

LabGov, together with LUISS University, is part of the interdisciplinary consortium for the realization of the H2020 project “Open Heritage”.


Figure 1. Consortium partners at the end of the second consortium meeting, Barcelona. Credits to: Open Heritage team


As already analyzed in a previous article [1] and as can be seen from the name of the project, it is based on an open definition of culture and cultural heritage, according to which not only listed assets and historic buildings, but also all buildings, spaces and goods which have a symbolic or practical value for the local communities are considered cultural resources to preserve and valorize. The community dimension is one of the main pillars of the project, as well as resource and regional integration, and it is based on the definition of heritage community contained in the Article 2b of the Council of Europe Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society (Faro, 27th October 2005) [2]. In the project, indeed, local communities, together with all the other actors part of the quintuple helix model (public institutions, businesses, social innovators, cognitive institutions) [3], are called to play an active and fundamental role in the regeneration and governance of cultural heritage.

Culture and cultural heritage, on the one hand, represent important tools to foster a local sustainable development and to create a more inclusive and fairer environment. On the other hand, a participatory governance of cultural resources, as also highlighted by the United Nations (2007), is one of the best strategies to boost social and economic development, due to the decisive contribution that participation makes in reinforcing democracy, empowering citizens and their social capital by guaranteeing more efficiency and equity through the community participation [4].


Second consortium meeting in Barcelona (28 – 29 November 2018)

The second consortium meeting has been hosted by Platoniq, one of the project partners, at La Fàbrica de Creació de Barcelona, an interesting example of urban regeneration. It was, indeed, an old industrial building which was abandoned at the end of the 70s and recovered in 2009 into a meeting and working point for all the artists of the city.


Figure 2 Fàbrica de Creació, Barcelona. Credits to: http://ajuntament.barcelona.cat/fabraicoats/ca

During these two full and inspiring days, partners have worked in group to co-design new governance and funding models for community-run heritage regeneration. It has been an important occasion to share the progresses of each WPs work and research, and to define together the solutions to the main challenges partners are facing in carrying out their research activities.


Figure 3 Working session during the 2nd consortium meeting, Barcelona. Credits to: Open Heritage team


The birth of the first neighborhood cooperative in Rome: the first important result of the Roman CHL

On the 19th of December 2018 the first neighborhood cooperative was born in Rome, more precisely in a complex urban area of the periphery of Rome composed by the neighborhoods of Alessandrino, Centocelle, and Torre Spaccata, characterized by the lowest human development index and the highest rates of poverty. It is the first important result among the activities conducted by the Roman Cooperative Heritage Lab, that LUISS – LabGov team is coordinating. It is also the result of an intense work conducted by LabGov, in collaboration with ENEA, within the wider project Co – Roma in order to create a smart collaborative district . Three main strands of work have been individuated by the cooperative: cultural activities and integrated tourism, circular economy, and collaborative neighborhood services. The cooperative, named CooperACTiva, is entirely managed by a group of active local citizens, and is aimed at offering more and better job opportunities and to overcome the digital, social and economic divide which strongly affects those areas.


Figure 4 The members of CooperACTiva, Rome. Credits to: Elena De Nictolis


[1] The article is available here : http://labgov.city/thecommonspost/organizing-promoting-and-enabling-heritage-re-use-through-inclusion-technology-access-governance-and-empowerment-open-heritage-a-research-project-funded-by-horizon-2020-for-th/

[2] The entire text of the Convention is available here: https://rm.coe.int/1680083746

[3] The model of the quintuple helix system of urban governance is available in C. Iaione, The Co-city, The American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 2016

[4] Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, Participatory governance and citizens’ engagement in policy development, service delivery and budgeting, 2007, p.4. http://unpan1.un.org/intradoc/groups/public/documents/un/unpan025375.pdf.