CONGRESS COMMONS: CITIZENS, LAW AND GOVERNMENTS – From the “Government” to the ”Governance”

CONGRESS COMMONS: CITIZENS, LAW AND GOVERNMENTS – From the “Government” to the ”Governance”

IMG_20151207_130834On the 4th of November the think tank Oikos in collaboration with Etopia and GEF (The Green European Foundation), held the event “Congress Commons: citizens, law and governments”.

The conference took place at the Royal Library in Brussels. It was the closing seminar of the “Reclaim the Commons” project event series, which is organised with the goal to examine the transformative power of the Commons.

The conference was attended by experts on the topic of Commons such as Tine De Moor (Professor at University of Utrecht), with her speech “Setting the stage: challenges and prospects”, and Christian Iaione (Professor of Public Law, Director of the LabGov, Laboratory for the Governance of the Commons, LUISS Roma; member of the International Association for the Study of the Commons), amongst others.

During the second part of the conference Christian Iaione’s speech (Professor of Public Law, LUISS, Rome) focused on the topic of “governance”: a new “tool” to manage territories and communities. Professor Iaione, LabGov’s coordinator, consider the “collaborative governance” as a paradigm for overcoming the traditional dichotomy between public and private. The Collaborative Governance is a partnership of five actors: social innovators, public authorities, businesses, civil society organizations and knowledge institutions.

The Collaborative Governance could be described as having three main characteristics:

– interactive;

– experimental;

– adaptive.

It is interactive because is the result of the collaboration and interaction of the above – mentioned actors. It is experimental since there is not a standard model but, as demonstrated at the LabGov’s Labs (Governance Labs), it is a constant work in progress. Furthermore the collaborative governance is adaptive in the sense that it is not possible to propose the same “format” in every community: it is fundamental to take into account the peculiarity of each community or territory. As the Italian examples of co – Bologna, co – Mantova, co – Battipaglia, co – Palermo, co – Roma, every city needs to find its dimension on its own: a setup which works in a city does not necessarily work in others. The “Regolamento sulla collaborazione per la cura e rigenerazione dei beni comuni urbani” of the Comune di Bologna ( here is the English version), for instance, is not automatically applicable in other cities.

The process of “Collaborative Governance” is divided in five steps: first and foremost mapping where and how the collaborative governance will impact; after this it is important to co – design a project of governance with all the stakeholders/actors (public, private, social, knowledge, commons). With these elements at hand it is then crucial to prototype solutions: testing and adapting the design principles to the challenges and characteristic of each city. The next step consists in amplifying the experimentation in different areas of the governance and to spread the positive results of each local experience. Finally it is fundamental to evaluate the results of the experimentation.

We can also consider collaborative governance as a tool to fight corruption and organised crime, safeguard the territory and promote legal economic growth and social progress. It is also an instrument to promote the concept of sustainability in local development, in particular thanks to the more active and participative role of citizens, who are much more involved through this process. The use of collaboration and governance to best manage cities and local economies was recently recognised at European level on the Committee of Regions (CoR) opinion on Sharing Economy “The local and regional dimension of the collaborative economy”, by member Benedetta Brighenti (IT/PES), approved with a large majority on the 4th of December 2015 at the CoR’s Plenary Session.


Il 04 dicembre 2015 si é tenuta a Bruxelles, presso la Biblioteca Reale, la conferenza “Congress Commons: Citizens, Law and Governments”, organizzata dalla think tank Oikos, in collaborazione con Etopia e GEF (The Green European Foundation).

L’ evento é stato proposto in chiusura del ciclo di seminari “Reclaim the Commons”, organizzati in diverse città europee, per approfondire il potenziale e l’impatto dei Beni Comuni e della maggior partecipazione attiva dei cittadini, nell’amministrare i territori.

Durante la seconda parte della conferenza é intervenuto il Professor Christian Iaione (Professore di Diritto Pubblico, LUISS Roma) parlando di “Collaborative Governance”: nuovo strumento per la gestione dei territori, dei Beni Comuni, delle comunità, che permette di andare oltre la dicotomia pubblico – privato e porta piuttosto alla collaborazione tra più attori che partecipano attivamente alla governance della città.

Commons/Comune – Giornata di studio 2015, Società di Studi Geografici

Commons/Comune – Giornata di studio 2015, Società di Studi Geografici



The conferencArticolo VC - Novembre 2015e will be the fifth edition in a series of meetings on the topic “Oltre la Globalizzazione” held by the Society for Geographical Studies since 2011.

The main topics of the conference will be the various forms of property and the Commons, particularly the definition of commons, which is crucial to fully understanding the management of natural resources and intangible goods such as the environment, landscape, biodiversity, public spending, information and intellectual property.

The participants will discuss and share ideas in eleven special sessions that will be organized throughout the day.

The speakers at the plenary session will be: Christian Iaione (professor of Public Law, Director of the Laboratory for the Governance of the Commons, LUISS Roma; members of the International Association for the Study of the Commons; Ilenia Caleo (Actress, Teatro Valle occupato, Rome); Ugo Rossi (professor of economic and political geography, University of Turin); and Alberto Magnaghi (town planner, professor at University of Florence, President of Societa dei territorialisti). Christian Iaione’s presence is motivated by his knowledge on this specific topic, and on the sharing economy in general. He has also contributed to the draft of the first European institutional document on the sharing economy, “Local and Regional Dimension of Sharing Economy,”  which was promoted by the Committee of Regions, rapporteur Benedetta Brighenti (Engineer, Vice Mayor of Castelnuovo Rangone, Modena, Italy) as well as the draft of the “Regolamento sulla collaborazione per la cura e la rigenerazione dei beni comuni urbani” of the city of Bologna.  The official english version is available here.

During the preparation of the conference, a book of abstracts was developed, thanks to the collaboration of the participants.

After the conference ,three publications have been planned: an electronic format  of “Memorie” by  Societa Studi Geografici, a special edition of the rivista “Annuali – Dep. MEMOTEF”, and an article on the “Rivista Geografica Italiana” .


Here is the program of the event:



In data 11 dicembre, presso la Facolta’ di Economia Dipartimento MEMOTEF dell’Universita’ La Sapienza, via del Castro Laurenziano (Roma), si terra’ l’edizione 2015 della Giornata Studio “Commons/Comune”. La conferenza e’ la quinta edizione della Giornata di Studio “Oltre la Globalizzazione” organizzata dal 2011 dalla Societa’ di Studi Geografici. Si discutera’ e si ragionera’ sul concetto di commons.







Be ready for the first civic Collaboration Fest in Bologna!

Be ready for the first civic Collaboration Fest in Bologna!

collaboIt is more than a year since the municipality of Bologna adopted the Regulation for the care and regeneration of Urban Commons, that was also translated into English few months later (you can read it here).

Since that moment, the idea behind the project itself has rapidly spread not only in Italy, where tens of municipalities decided to adopt the Regulation, but also all over the world.
Indeed, this regulation, that is part of a greater project based on the idea of the
“City as a Commons”, has been appreciated by international commons activists such as David Bollier and Michel Bauwens, here and here.

So, after a year, Virginio Merola, Bologna’s mayor, has established the Civic Collaboration Fest, a whole day dedicated to celebrating the spirit of the city of Bologna, which is already called by many “civic collaboration”, with the aim to mobilize Bologna’s citizens who get to work every day in order to make the city more liveable and beautiful.

Virginio Merola’s words are emblematic: “I would like to see Bologna full of enthusiasm every second Saturday of May, every year, with all the people realizing what could be our potentials. For this reason, the Civic Collaboration Day is dedicated especially to our indisputable right to look for happiness, fighting every day against our biggest enemy, that is the resignation. We all know that collaborating together for the common good is what has made of Bologna a special and different city. We face every problem in this way, working together in every field and facing every prospective obstacle. And it is in this context that the first Italian Social streets and the Iperbole Civic Network were born”.

So far, thanks to the regulation adopted, more than 100 collaboration pacts have been signed between the Administration and the citizens. Doubtless, these pacts have triggered a new civic sense.

That is why next month, on the 16th of May, Santa Viola neighbourhood is waiting for more than twenty-thousand people for the first Civic Collaboration Fest, occasion in which the visitors will enjoy the many events thanks to the efforts of more than three hundred volunteers.

As regards the programme, the Fest will start at 10 a.m. at the MAST, with the “Cities as Commons” international conference with the mayor Virginio Merola, professor Sheila Foster – Vice Dean and Albert A. Walsh Professor of Real Estate, Land use and Property law at Fordham University School of Law – the international commons activists David Bollier and Neal Gorenflo, and professor Christian Iaione – LabGov’s coordinator.

In the afternoon, at the Pontelungo sport complex, it will be time for the “Bologna Collabora” co-design session for the collaborative governance of Bologna. The session will follow the three aspects that public policies must consider, that is to say living together (collaborative services), growing together (co-ventures) and making together (co-production), which are the three axis through which Co-Mantova too was designed.

Finally, from 7 p.m. on, in via Emilia Ponente, the “Purple Night” street fest will take place.

To join all the activities, please fill in the following form! And, to take a look to the full programme and to obtain any further information, please follow this link.

Save the date, see you in Bologna! 



A distanza di poco più di un anno dall’adozione da parte del Comune di Bologna del regolamento sulla cura e la rigenerazione dei beni comuni urbani, il prossimo 16 maggio si terrà a Bologna la prima festa della collaborazione civica.

L’evento è stato fortemente voluto dal Comune poiché, citando le parole del sindaco Virginio Merola: “la Festa della Collaborazione civica è dedicata soprattutto al nostro sacrosanto diritto di ricercare la felicità, combattendo ogni giorno il nostro nemico più grande che è la rassegnazione. La Collaborazione per il bene comune, lo sappiamo, è ciò che ha sempre reso speciale e diversa Bologna. In ogni campo e di fronte ad ogni ostacolo, noi i problemi li affrontiamo così, collaborando insieme”.

La giornata inizierà con una conferenza internazionale al MAST alle ore 10, la quale vedrà come relatori il sindaco Virginio Merola, la professoressa Sheila Foster, il professor Christian Iaione e due dei più importanti attivisti dei Commons a livello internazionale, David Bollier e Neal Gorenflo.

Nel pomeriggio, presso il centro sportivo Pontelungo, i cittadini avranno l’opportunità di partecipare ad un workshop per promuovere la partecipazione e la co-progettazione di pratiche e politiche pubbliche collaborative tra la città e il Comune.

La giornata si chiuderà con la Festa di strada in collaborazione con il Comitato Santa Viola con giochi, musica e fuochi artificiali in via Emilia Ponente, per l’occasione chiusa al traffico, a partire dalle ore 19.

Bologna regulation on public collaboration for urban commons

The Bologna Regulation on public collaboration for urban commons is part of the “The City as a Commons” project that started in 2011 in Bologna with the support of Fondazione del Monte di Bologna e Ravenna and the City of Bologna. It ultimately led to the adoption of the “Regolamento sulla collaborazione per la cura e rigenerazione dei beni comuni urbani“. LabGov interns prepared and edited the translation of the Bologna Regulation which is now the official version adopted by the City of Bologna (see “Regulation on collaboration between citizens and the city for the care and regeneration of urban commons“).

The Bologna Regulation was drafted after two years of field work and three “urban commons governance labs” run also by LabGov Coordinator, Professor Christian Iaione. The Bologna Regulation is a 30 page regulatory framework outlining how local authorities, citizens and the community at large (SMEs, non profits, knowledge institutions) can manage public and private spaces and assets together. As such, it’s a sort of handbook for civic and public collaboration, and also a new vision for government. It reflects the strong belief that we need a cultural shift in terms of how we think about government, moving away from the Leviathan State or Welfare State toward collaborative or polycentric urban/local governance. This calls for new regulatory and governmental tools, namely public collaborationnudge regulation, and citytelling.

Christian Iaione, participated actively to the design and implementation activities of “La città come bene comune” (i.e.The city as a commons“) project in Bologna. Iaione developed the theoretical fraework, carried out and coordinated the research activities, training programs and co-design sessions and was also one of the most active members on the committee appointed by the Comune di Bologna to draft the regulation.

Iaione has been researching the topic of urban commons for quite a long time, and at some point  realized that the city could actually be interpreted as a collaborative commons. Iaione’s research on urban commons is synthesized in the  “City as a Commons” paper presented at a conference in Utrecht in 2012 and later published on the Indiana University Digital Library of the Commons. Earlier studies were published in Italian as “La città come bene comune” and “Città e beni comuni“.  Iaione had the opportunity to work and develop his academic studies as a research fellow at New York University School of Law. While at NYU he developed the theoretical framework for local public entrepreneurship, which is the basis of the CO-Mantova project and the idea of the city as a commons. His study on the tragedy of urban roads is the prequel of the Bologna experiment and the first conceptualization of urban infrastructure and assets as commons.

The City as a Commons project recently entered a new phase and evolved into the CO-Bologna project. The turning point is the 1st IASC Conference on urban commonsThe City as a Commons“.