The city as a commons. The city as an institution for collective action

The city as a commons. The city as an institution for collective action

On 14th May 2015, , Prof. Sheila Foster and Prof. Christian Iaione will present their co-authored paper “The city as a commons”.

The presentation will take place in Rome, at La Sapienza University, at the School of Economics and Law in Via Del Castro Laurenziano 9, 2nd Floor, at 4:00 pm.


The paper will be presented by the authors. Prof. Sheila Foster is Albert A. Walsh Professor of Real Estate, Land Use & Property Law and Co-Faculty Director of the Fordham Urban Law Center. Prof. Foster is the author of numerous publications on land use, environmental law, and antidiscrimination law. Prof. Christian Iaione is associate professor of Public law at Guglielmo Marconi University and visiting professor of governance of the commons at LUISS Guido Carli where he coordinates the LabGov – LABoratory for the GOVernance of Commons ( He has published several articles in the field of public and administrative law and, in particular, land use, public goods and the commons, public services and public contracts, urban law and local government. The paper will be commented by three distinguished discussants: Prof. Raffaele Bifulco (full professor of Constitutional law at LUISS Guido Carli,; David Bollier leading thinkers and activist of the commons (and Giovanni Vetritto (Department for Regional Affairs). The coordinator of the workshop, Prof. Paola Chirulli, full Prof. of Administrative law at La Sapienza University of Rome, will draw the conclusions.


Giovedì 14 maggio, presso la Facoltà di Economia della Sapienza di Roma si svolgerà la presentazione del paper di cui sono co-autori il Prof. Christian Iaione e la Prof. Sheila Foster.

La presentazione si svolgerà presso la facoltà di Economia dell’Università La Sapienza, in Via del Castro Laurenziano 9 nell’Aula del Dipartimento di Economia e diritto, secondo piano, alle ore 16:00.

Il paper sarà presentato dagli autori e saranno presenti in qualità di Discussants: il prof. Raffaele Bifulco, ordinario di Diritto costituzionale all’Università LUISS Guido Carli, David Bollier, esperto di commons a livello internazionale ( e Giovanni Vetritto, del Dipartimento per gli Affari Regionali della Presidenza del Consiglio. Le conclusioni saranno affidate alla prof. Paola Chirulli, ordinario di Diritto amministrativo pressoLa Sapienza di Roma, che coordinerà l’incontro.

The city as a 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.

UBIQUITOUS COMMONS – The hyper-connected governance

UBIQUITOUS COMMONS – The hyper-connected governance

The Ubiquitous Commons – the Commons in the age of Ubiquitous Technology – is an international research effort dedicated to understanding the transformation of data, information and knowledge in the age of ubiquitous technologies. It acts in ways which are completely interdisciplinary, moving across scientific and humanistic research, arts and design, institutional and economic action, activism and advocacy, urban studies and rural innovation. The network of experts comprises scholars, lawyers, professors, writers and artists from all over the world, such as David Bollier and Michel Bauwens. LabGov recently  joined the team thanks through the scientific contribution of Christian Iaione, LabGov coordinator . The project goes through education processes, research, development, near future design scenarios and aesthetic actions which are intended to broaden the perception of “possibility” for both people and organizations, in constructive, enabling the formation of novel points of view and possibilities.

The hacker Salvatore Iaconesi and the artist and writer Oriana Persico – who wrote recently an article appeared on Nòva24 on Il Sole 24 Ore – are the coordinators of the project. Salvatore and Oriana created AOS – Art is Open Source, which – in their words – is “an international informal network exploring the mutation of societies through the ubiquitous digital technologies”. This – and other issues – they explained in one of the meetings at LabGov the last year.

Human EcosystemsThe article about Ubiquitous Commons underlines as it could give a great response to manage our data spread in the net.

Horizon 2020 is making Europe change its direction and DG Connect is now dealing with responsible innovation and research. These two areas have become cross-cutting issues and they have been discussing in February during a workshop opened to the debates between stakeholders about strategies for 2016-17.

Among many topics, there will be Big Data, Social networks, Health, Smart cities and communities, Robotics and algorithms. The way to face them is the so-called Concept reengineering.

Social issues advisor Nicole Dewandre explains that the key is Hyper-connectivity: the capability of being connected each other, both offline and online. To do this, it is necessary to re-design different concepts such as Privacy, Freedom, Identity, Attention, Justice and Responsiveness. This is DG Connect’s vision: technology has to achieve new goals in terms of creating of new meaning with social, cultural and anthropological impacts.

A human revolution, not a technological one. The key is finding a way to convert the Data we produce in a relational ecosystem, instead of using them for business logic. According to commons theorist Elinor Ostrom, focusing just on resources is not enough: the quality of relations allows its equal management.

In this scenario, Ubiquitous Commons could be a great response to manage data ownership. By creating legal and technological toolkits, the aim of the project is to create new forms of collaboration among citizens, in which responsibility and rights are re-designed in order to guarantee data access. This innovative kind of plug-in for our internet browsers associates cryptography, peer-to-peer networks and user-generated licences. The mechanism is fully cooperative and collaborative: people, communities, institutions and businesses can create new licences of different nature.

Using Ubiquitous Commons EU citizens could regain the ownership of their data spread in the net. Ubiquitous Commons is currently an empirical research project. An active endorsement by the EU could turn it into a strategic public policy in the future.

More information on:


L’iperconnettività da governare – UBIQUITOUS COMMONS su Nòva24!

Ubiquitous Commons è uno sforzo di ricerca internazionale dedicato alla comprensione della trasformazione di dati, informazioni e conoscenze nell’era delle tecnologie onnipresenti. Agisce in modi che siano completamente interdisciplinari, si muovono attraverso la ricerca scientifica e umanistica, arte e design, l’azione istituzionale ed economica, l’attivismo e l’avvocatura, studi urbani e innovazione rurale. La rete di esperti è composta da studiosi, avvocati, professori, scrittori e artisti provenienti da tutto il mondo, come David Bollier e Michel Bauwens. LabGov si è recentemente unito al team grazie al contributo scientifico di Christian Iaione, coordinatore di LabGov. Il progetto passa attraverso processi di educazione, ricerca, sviluppo, vicino scenari progettuali e azioni future estetici che sono destinati ad ampliare la percezione di “possibilità” per le persone e le organizzazioni, permettendo la formazione di nuovi punti di vista e possibilità.

L’hacker Salvatore Iaconesi e l’artista e scrittrice Oriana Persico che hanno scritto recentemente un articolo apparso su Nòva24 su Il Sole 24 Ore sono i coordinatori del progetto. Salvatore e Oriana hanno creato AOS Art is Open Source, che  con loro parole è una rete informale internazionale esplorare la mutazione delle società attraverso le tecnologie digitali onnipresenti“. Questo e altre questioni hanno spiegato in uno dei seminari di LabGov lo scorso anno.

L’articolo su Ubiquitous Commons mette in evidenza le possibilità di gestire la diffusione dei nostri dati in rete.

Per saperne di più:

David Bollier on LabGov approach to the Governance of Commons

David Bollier on LabGov approach to the Governance of Commons

LabGov goes global. After the interview to one of LabGov strategist, Christian Iaione, by Michel Bauwens, founder of the Foundation for Peer to Peer Alternatives, on the City as a Commons project, that has been published few weeks ago on the Shareable website (and available here), another great expert of Commons, David Bollier dedicated an article to LabGov and its projects on his famous blog about the commons.

We have already talked about Bollier, his works and his efforts as an activists on our blog. In particular, we have written on the crowdfunding campaing launched less than an year ago for the likely attempt of translating in Italian his “Think like a Commoner”, and on his publication more in depth, here.

Bollier defined pioneering the work done in Italy on the paradigm of the City as Commons. In his article Bollier highlighted the important role of LabGov in the reconceptualization of the catalytic role that universities can play and the idea behind LabGov projects that we are in front of a epochal transition in which is emerging a new social class – active citizens, social innovators, makers, creatives, sharing and collaborative economy practitioners, service designers, co-working and co-production experts, and urban designers. This new social class needs commons-related policies as ways to tap into the talents and enthusiasm. In fact conventional governance structures cannot effectively elicit or organize the energies of these people.

Bollier devotes particular attention also to two important LabGov projects: CO-Mantova and the Regulation on collaboration between citizens and the city for the care and regeneration of urban commons.

Moreover, Bollier endorsed Iaione’s idea of public-commons partnerships to build a “sharing city” or a “commons-oriented city”. As perfectly synthesized by Bollier, LabGov approach consists in this: Instead of relying on the familiar public/private partnerships that often siphon public resources into private pockets, a city can instead pursue “public/commons partnerships” that bring people together into close, convivial and flexible collaborations. The working default is “finding a solution” rather than beggar-thy-neighbor adversarialism or fierce political warfare”.

This is just an excerpt of the full article that is possible (and worth) reading at this link:



Dopo essere stato intervistato da Michel Bauwens, l’idea del prof. Iaione di “Governance dei beni comuni” viene ripresa da un altro grande attivista dei Commons, David Bollier.

In passato, su questo blog, si è già parlato di Bollier.

Con questo articolo rimandiamo a, blog sul quale è stato pubblicato l’articolo che illustra i successi e le sfide future del Laboratorio per la Governance dei beni comuni.

The picture for this article has been taken here.


Think like a Commoner!

Think like a Commoner!

coverbollierFew months ago I have written about a likely attempt of translating David Bollier’s “Think Like a Commoner” into italian.

David Bollier is an American author, blogger, policy strategist and international activist who has written extensively about the Commons. In 2002 he has co-founded Public Knowledge, whose mission is to preserve the openness of the Internet and the public’s access to knowledge. In 2003 he has founded website and has edited it until 2010, when he co-founded the Commons Strategies Group, whose primary purpose is to “help, consolidate and extend the many existing commons initiatives around the world”. In 2012 he has won the Berlin Prize in Public Policy for his work on the commons and nowadays he blogs at

Well, after having read its book I strongly encourage a translation, not only in italian but in many languages as possible, in order to fully let the message arrive to everyone.

Actually, Think like a Commoner represents, as the cover of the book states, a short but intensive and incisive introduction to the life of the Commons. It is an immediate and quick reading, in my opinion indispensable for all the economists, political scientists, jurists and all the people of the civil community who are tired of this kind of economy, the way in which the world is going on.

Bollier’s message is direct and shareable by anyone who is involved in trying to modify not only yhe rules, the legislations, but also the social relationships among the people of the civil society: “the language of the commons is so useful – states Bollier – It helps us to confront the pathological tendency of markets to force people, communities and nature to become fictional commodities in the market system”.

I am pretty sure that, for the ones who have read Think like a commoner, this will not be the last reading by Bollier or by other scholars, activists, academics who have written extensively on the matter of the Commons.

Eleven chapters, some tables at the end and lots of suggested further readings on the theme. The guide, I would love to talk to you about a guide, not a book, starts with a story, like a romance.

Bollier is flying somewhere in the world and her seatmate on the plane ask him “what do you do?”. The answer would leave everyone stucked. Actually Bollier replies that he studies the Commons and he works as an activist to try to protect them.

But in the ten following chapters, he reassures the readers, as he has reassured her seatmate on that plane. Through practical examples he illustrates what the Commons are, their history, their challenges, their issues and their connections with the market state, and most of all how would be possible a “peaceful” coexistence of the Commons in a world dominated by the rules of the capitalism, so in the market-based state.

Bollier points out that in the time of crisis in which we are living, is no more possible to hang the head and to continue to be dominated by that “old” rules. His mission, and the mission of who believes in a change, is to rediscover the Commons, that is why he fully examines in depth the issue of the enclosures. Both historically and critically, from the point of view of the enclosures of the Commons itself, the enclosures of public spaces and infrastructures and of knowledge and cultures.

He also analyzes the “tragedy myth of the commons”, stating that it represents a tyrrany and it is very interesting how the private property is nowadays an empire.

Here, I do not want to go in depth in the features of every chapter because I hope to have left curiosity in you but, if you share just one of the ideas I have mentioned above, just start to Think like a Commoner!