Renewable energy in Italy

Renewable energy in Italy

In Italy the number of renewable energy installations is growing up really fast and it seems that this growth is not going to stop in the near future. This number is composed by investments made not only by the enterprises and the public companies or companies in which the State has a controlling interest, but in a great part also by single privates and families. Home renewable energy installations are indeed  increasing everywhere in Italy. The data of this growth are surprising , as they show that a large number of Italians have already choose to install their personal renewable energy installation, and many others are betting on renewable energies.

Small installations for the self-generation of renewable energy cover the 22 % of the national production of electricity. Those numbers would have been incredible just few years ago. This trend is mainly driven by Photovoltaics; solar panels are the lowest ones in terms of investment and they can be easily installed. Furthermore Italy is well known all over the world for his sunny weather.


During 2015 small renewable energy installations have increased to 700.000, 41.000 more than the former year .

What are the reasons of this huge success? Why has this bottom down revolution become so important today at a national level? One of the reasons of this enormous success is represented by the portion of energy produced that is destined to be sold. In fact the 22% of the energy produced is destined to self-consumption, while the 88% is introduced in the national energy net. The great majority of those Italian families  sell their energy to the State. By selling it the small producer can afford to maintain his personal energy production system ; he can also repay the investment made in the installation’s phase.

Beyond the economical reasons Italians are making another argument. The preservation of the environment is truly important for the policies of the national governments and of the European Union. There is awareness about the climate change and Italians know they can make the difference in preserving the environment.

As already mentioned this is a bottom down revolution. A lot of families have decided that producing energy at home is a better choice on multiple levels. It is better for the families’ economies and for the environment as well. In fact “self made” energy has a low impact on the environment. Those are the two main reasons of the success of this revolution.

Last but not least: the government’s incentives. Those numbers wouldn’t have been so high without State’s investments.


In Italia stiamo assistendo ad un boom delle rinnovabili “fai da te”. Sono moltissime le famiglie italiane che hanno deciso nel corso degli ultimi anni di dotarsi di un proprio sistema di produzione di energia. Gran parte di questa viene immessa nella rete. Questo processo, partito dal basso, è stato favorito dagli incentivi statali ed europei.

European Commission on renewable energies:

LaRepubblica on the italian situation:

Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate Change & Energy, the New Global Coalition of Cities Committed to Fighting Climate Change

Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate Change & Energy, the New Global Coalition of Cities Committed to Fighting Climate Change

681_Merger-Graphic2.originalBrussels, 22 June 2016. The EU Covenant of Mayors and the Compact of Mayors announced the formation of the first international initiative of cities and local governments in matter of climate change. Since they are the primary city-led climate change initiative, this project will create the largest global coalition of cities engaged in climate leadership: we are talking about more than 7,100 cities from 119 countries and six continents, representing more than 600 million inhabitants, over 8% of the world’s population. This initiative, called Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate Change & Energy is a result of the historic Paris climate change conference (December, 2015) where cities and local governments played a crucial role for the final agreement. The aim of the world’s largest coalition of mayors is to promote and support voluntary action to combat climate change and move to a low-carbon economy.

It is important to remember that the Covenant of Mayors was launched in 2008 by the European Union after the adoption of the 2020 European Union Climate and Energy Package. The Covenant of Mayors covers 6800 cities in 585 countries with an investment of over €110 billion and currently is operated by CEMR, Climate Alliance, Energy Cities, Eurocities and FEDARENE. On the other hand, the Compact of Mayors was launched in September 2014 by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change Michael R. Bloomberg and mayors from global city networks C40, ICLEI and UCLG with support from UN-Habitat, the UN’s lead agency on urban issues.

In connection with the announcement of the initiative, European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič said that the strength of the European Covenant lied on bottom-up and close-to-citizens approach. It is precisely this characteristic that European mayors will lead to the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy. It is an important factor because this low-carbon and resilient coalition is truly unique on the global scene and: “Never before have so many cities joined forces, eager to inspire each other and committed to collectively taking the path to a low-carbon, resilient society.”

Then, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change Michael R. Bloomberg, who will Co-Chair the new Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy underlined cities efforts to fight climate change. According to him, unity is the strength of this covenant because it makes possible to magnify influence on the global stage.

By increasing and unify city-led initiatives, the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy will increase funding to support city action on sustainable energy and climate change building connections and bridging gaps among the actors. This proposal will take advantages of investment powers of European Union and Bloomberg Philanthropies including the importance of worldwide city network partners such as C40, ICLEI, UCLG, Eurocities, Energy Cities and Climate Alliance. This will strengthen the role of local authorities in the work of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The new initiative will provide also a common platform that brings together relevant data on cities’ energy and climate actions reported to the current EU Covenant platform and the platforms supporting the Compact of Mayors, allowing for comparison of cities’ achievements to other cities all around the world, and make them publicly available through a new Global Covenant of Mayors website, to be launched by January 2017.

These two projects will capture the collective impact of city action and create a momentum for city-led climate action. A single coalition will promote participation (cities will be free to focus on a single commitment with both local relevance and global impact), provide greater clarity and ensure more consistent and comparable data – a crucial aspect for investors.

Hence, it is clear that the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate Change & Energy will be an important role for achieving one of the most important political goal of the Juncker Commission’s Energy Union strategy, c’est-à-dire a resilient and forward looking climate policy that facilitates transition to a low-carbon, secure and competitive economy.

For more information, please visit the Compact of Mayors website, and the Covenant of Mayors website.


Sulla scia dell’accordo di Parigi sul clima, EU Covenant of Mayors e Compact of Mayors lanciano un grande progetto, chiamato Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate Change & Energy con lo scopo creare la più grande coalizione mondiale di sindaci e città per la promozione e il supporto di azioni mirate a combattere il cambiamento climatico e facilitare il passaggio verso un’economia sostenibile.


Culturability: Sheila Foster and Christian Iaione on Urban Commons and City as a Commons

Culturability: Sheila Foster and Christian Iaione on Urban Commons and City as a Commons

On the 15th of July, Unipolis Foundation in collaboration with Fitzcarraldo Foundation and Make a Cube association organised a second mentoring workshop for the 15 finalists (the description of finalists see below, or at: who have been selected from the “Culturability” call – an Italian national call to support innovative projects in cultural and creative fields to promote urban regeneration processes (see more about Culturability at:




The third day of the workshop series was complemented by Urban Law professor at Fordham University Sheila Foster and LabGov coordinator, prof. Christian Iaione’s presentation as well as an interactive discussion with the audience. Scholars focused on bringing the attention of the 15 progressive cultural innovators to the idea of urban commons and, more specifically, addressing the collaborative governance of commons as the main target in the urban regeneration processes of today.

Coming from the school of thought on commons, Sheila Foster began with questions of what exactly an urban common is and what does it mean to the society and the city as a whole. “Urban commons are what city inhabitants share daily, in fact, these commons are of a deeply democratic nature, because they have an open access meaning that the usage of them is non-excludable”. From a property law perspective it is very important to distinguish urban commons from what is conventionally understood as common pool resources within the field of environmental law. Such distinction is necessary, because these commons differ in terms of their nature, characteristics and value that they create to the society, and hence this affects the character of their governance. “Urban commons are city spaces, such as squares, parks, abandoned or non-utilised buildings, streets, vacant lots, even cultural institutions, for instance, museums, and other urban open-access units – spaces of a truly common good nature”- addressed S. Foster. “These spaces are unique because they generate value, that is precisely of a social and cultural origin and a wide range of city actors have a stake or an interest in these urban commons. Thus, by preserving commons together, we can contribute to an inclusive and sustainable well-being co-creation by and for city inhabitants”.




On the other hand, scholar stressed that commons are not a simple concept in law or theory. “Commons are neither private nor public, it is something in between. Therefore, the question of governance of the commons is condemned to be a challenge from both practitioners and scholars’ viewpoints”. Having addressed the “Tragedy of Commons” (see H. Garrets), S. Foster emphasised that urban commons are not something that should be governed either by private or public, because these commons are not necessarily in threat of over-consumption or degradation like natural commons, as some scholars suggest. The opposite – open-access urban spaces, which increase multi-stakeholder usage, even enhance shared social, economic and environmental value and contribute to the so-called “Comedy of Commons” (see C. Rose).  “The issue is that today every urban common is overly regulated, today nothing is an open access  and non-excludable anymore and having mentioned the value of urban commons the re-opening and collaboratively governing urban commons is a highly valuable process for all stakeholders. The opening urban commons – contributes to the stimulation of a social value to the community. To add, the value of opening up the commons is directly linked to the production of culture, of housing. Commons are not about tragedy, rather about solidarity and shared value” – stressed S. Foster.

Christian Iaione took over the debate stressing that today there is a growing need to rethink economy, institutions and focus on the energy that the community possesses. “The community should recognise the value of commons. It is not the tangible commons that matter, it is the collaborative governance of commons and the value to the community that it produces”- said C. Iaione. Professor focusing on governance of commons stated that between the state and the market there is a room for experimentation and this is the space of commons that connect different stakeholders. So far, what the overly regulated cityscape has produced is scarcity and collaboration, or collective action, as stressed by E. Ostrom, yet in an urban context, is the way to introduce new approaches to governance and eliminate the problem of scarcity. Despite the fact that “[w]orking on commons requires constant experimentation, what we have accomplished thus far is writing the Regulation which is a strong step towards the recognition of urban commons at the city level and the introduction of collaborative urban governance”.




Lastly, by sharing experiences from the Parco Centocelle project in Rome and the project on #CollaboraToscana, C. Iaione emphasized that the governance of commons is an arrangement between 5 different actors (or “quintuple helix” model, see more about this in “City as a Commons“), where (1) the unorganized public (e.g. social innovators, active citizens, urban regenerators, urban innovators, etc.), (2) public authorities, (3) businesses, (4) civil society organisations, and (5) knowledge institutions (e.g. schools, universities, cultural institutions, etc.) work together to establish public-private-community partnerships and contribute to the preservation of the cultural heritage and the co-creation of the social as well as economic value.

Laboratory for Collaborative Governance of Urban Commons appreciates the energy and the ideas that 15 finalists of the Culturability Call possess. These finalists are promising examples of urban regeneration processes and therefore are strongly supported by LabGov.

The information about the finalists:

An initiative which regards culture in proposing a hybrid agricultural production system which creates a lively ecosystem. This, while restoring the role of not only agricultural production, but also of culture, contributes to the creation of welfare and strong community. This is a biological and social farmhouse of innovation and agriculture to improve the integration and employment, aggregation of space and the production of cultural places. It creates a sustainable local supply chain between farmers as well as it is a museum contributing to the regeneration of an area.


A non-profit organisation, founded by people who share a dream: to return the Cascina Sant’Ambrogio – an important place of agriculture and economy. This place regarded as poor and outdated due to the transformation of society is just an error of perspective. The Cascina is place rich in culture, memory and practices that need to be rethought by integrating them with the needs of present times. Citizens must not just be consumers and voters, but producers and active citizens able to concretely transform a portion of reality. This path does not come from nothing, but by a gradual emergence of the collective application that, with more and more insistently, asks sustainable and alternative lifestyles, as well as adequate opportunities.


  • Caserma Archeologica + Art Sweet Art – San Sepolcro (Arezzo) |

This is a platform of artists to display their works in private homes to visitants. A homeowner can choose an artist via the website from those who have joined up to the initiative. After assessing the home, the artist decides what type of art work to display in the new location. The art has to fulfil both the customers’ needs (the house as a location, the artwork’s theme, etc.) as well as those of the artist (who is invited to carry out a piece of art which fully respects their artistic expression). The initial drafting phase is followed by the artist creating their work. The artist is hosted in the customers’ private home, an unprecedented experience which influences the creative process. During the artists’ stay, the organisers-together with the hosts’ family- promote the art in construction and facilitate workshops in schools, local cultural guides, gatherings with friends, etc.


The projects seeks to reform the system of support the cultural industry in Italy. It highlights the critical issues and illustrates the best solutions.


  • DLF: cantieri interculturali per una città inclusiva –  Pisa |

The project promotes different cultural tradition lines belonging to all Italian regions. Through musical concerts, plays, lectures and seminars, many of the popular culture heritages met within the framework of demonstrations made in Pisa, which due to its characteristics naturally prepares to host a dialogue between diverse communities and different cultures.


The project that seeks to create a network of people and spaces, such as, the abandoned buildings and underused of sites, with the objective of denunciation of situations of abandonment and then revaluation of the buildings by putting the spotlight on forgotten places, abandoned or fallen into disuse, showing its potential for reuse, it will foster a new collective interest in these spaces. This is a project that wants to revolutionise the way of seeing and understanding the assets disposed of a city, turning it into a resource.


This is a residence project that was born in a former industrial factory, able to provide hospitality for the whole year to travellers and tourists, and simultaneously transform into a school on urban regeneration: a “training of the mind” in the heart of central Italy, where two cities, Terni and Rieti meet. The idea is to experiment with new solutions and re-design territorial integration policy.


  • LAB+: Piazza Gasparotto Urban Living Lab –  Padova |

The project that focus on workers with different skills to meet, share ideas and expertise in urban regeneration practices. Gasparotto Square in a space of co-design living between citizens, private organisations and public institutions. To achieve this objective, the project makes the system a series of micro-actions of re-appropriation of public space: the urban expansion, construction of a weekly market of organic producers, involvement of local residents through the social theatre and community, realisation of works public art, use of storytelling and the creation of micro-community events.


  • Mana Grika – Hub Culturale della Grecìa Salentina –  Calimera (Lecce) |

It is a Cultural Hub of the territory that will be made available to local communities to create initiatives with a strong cultural and social impact spaces. The main objectives are the territorial promotion and enhancement of the local culture through affiliated initiatives for social activation of communities and by creating a synergistic network among all organisations working in the area.


  • MUFANT, MuseoLab del Fantastico e della Fantascienza di Torino – Torino |

This is a project by a team of professionals and industry experts, academics, journalists and researchers who are aspired to imagine a world, in which people are aware that this is just one of the possible worlds. This is being accomplished by the multiple permanent or temporary exhibitions, performances, conferences, events, and such, in the MusueoLAB.


Piazza dei Colori is one of Co-Bologna “construction sites”, and the aim is to turn it into a collaborative district that could later include different realities from Croce dei Biacco and all the migrants that live there.


The project aims to put an end to the progressive abandonment and degradation of one of the most prestigious and representative testimonies of the assets of the industrial archaeology resulting from the old age epic mining of Sardinia, which UNESCO declared a universal value in 1997 . With the completion of the project they intend to preserve and make available the public buildings of great architectural value at the Sella Well located in the mining complex-Monteponi on the outskirts of the city of Iglesias. The work of protection and restoration of the industrial archaeological heritage will accompany the exhibition. The abundance and beauty of the available space will also allow to set up an area for conference activities with its audiovisual and multimedia equipment. With the completion of the project, as well as regeneration of the museum space, the site will be returned to the local community.


Station Chiaravalle project focuses on the regeneration of the unused gym of neighbourhood school and creation of a hybrid space in order to host a community hub: operational production based on cultural content, artistic home and an urban laboratory. Additionally, it reinterprets the disused railway line along the Vettabbia channel as space in transformation. Lastly, it activates a participatory observation with the local community and generates landscape projects and custody of places and common open spaces for the enjoyment of the area as a landscape for immersive experiences.


The project which has an aim to enter into the social and productive fabric of Rome and spread to further cities. It focuses to put in place cultural practices and job opportunities that would promote inclusion and integration of those individuals who are in need for help and solidarity. It is a job creation, but also the artistic expression, which can also become a source of income, are the ways in which we intend to intervene in the social and cultural fabric of Rome.


This is a non-profit organization active in the field of contemporary art and culture both at a local and international level. It produces and organises art exhibitions, theatre shows, publications, audio-visual works, training and residency programs with the aim to encourage artistic mobility and the promotion of artists on an international scale. It intends to invent original devices in order to promote projects and enable processes that mobilise unconventional strategies and plans of intervention in the artistic and cultural system. The members of the core working group are artists who chose not to limit their activities and their identities to “the creation of artworks”, but to work actively – and independently – for the activation of shared processes and the redefinition of the role of the artist in society. The project starts from an idea of hospitality and sharing to create a symbolic place where experience and the individual journey are set aside to make way for the development of a collective strategy. The network of people intertwined constitutes a network able to  relate with institutions, questioning established practices and models, with the aim of generating concrete outcomes/results in the community.


LabGov congratulates all finalists and looks forward to new collaborations!




Secondary sources:

  1. Garrett, Hardin, (1968) The Tragedy of the Commons
  2. Iaione, Christian. (2016) “The CO-City: Sharing, Collaborating, Cooperating, and Commoning in the City.” American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 2: 415-55.
  3. Ostrom, E. (1990) “Governing The Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action”, Journal of Natural Resources Policy Research, Volume 6, Issue 4, 235-252
  4. Rose, C. (1986) The Comedy of the Commons: Custom, Commerce and Inherently Public Property, 53


The Tragedy of Urban Roads, by Christian Iaione

“The tragedy of urban roads: Saving cities from choking, calling on citizens to combat climate change” is an article wrote by LabGov coordinator, prof. Christian Iaione, and published on the Fordham Urban Law Journal in 2009. 

This article argues that the best response to the tragedy of road congestion has to rely on market-based regulatory techniques and public policies aimed at controlling the demand-side of transportation congestion. Among market-based regulatory techniques, economists seem to favor price-based instruments over quantity-based instruments. This article argues instead that quantity instruments, such as tradable permits of road usage and real estate development, can better internalize all the externalities that road congestion produces. This article also advances the idea that quantity instruments are more successful tools in addressing urban congestion for four reasons: (1) they respond better to equity concerns; (2) they are therefore more politically viable; (3) they are more likely to be well designated; and (4) they are able to represent a catch-all strategy for externalities produced by congestion.

Part II of this Article illustrates that the costs that congestion imposes on society or, to use the preferred language of economists, the negative externalities that road congestion produces. Part III sheds light on the underlying causes of urban congestion. Part IV enumerates regulatory tools that are available to address the negative externalities of urban congestion and proposes a comparative analysis of the different strategies that have been implemented to address this problem throughout the world. Part V outlines possible policy options that should complement the regulatory framework. Finally, the last section concludes by stressing the need for further differentiation and experimentation in order to shape a new understanding in the use and management of the “commons” and advocates for a bottom-up regulatory strategy to address climate change and global warming, a strategy centered upon the regulation of individual behavior at the urban level.

If you are interested in this subject, please explore the full article here.

European Green Capital 2016 – Ljubljana’s Cinderella story

European Green Capital 2016 – Ljubljana’s Cinderella story

Ten years ago, the streets in Ljubljana compact core were clogged with traffic, with little room for pedestrians and a negative effect on the quality of air. In 2016, the European Commission has named Ljubljana European Green Capital. How is this even possible?

The answer lies in Vision 2025, a long-range plan to improve the quality of life developed by Zoran Janković, Ljubljana’s mayor since 2006. The plan sets plenty of ambitious goals on sustainability and environment protection, that influenced every decision made by Ljubljana policymakers.

The most impactful (and effective) decision was by far the one made in 2006 to ban cars from the city centre: only pedestrians, bikes and buses are allowed, and there’s an electric taxi service that offers free rides to elderly and disabled. This led to quieter and safer spaces for pedestrians, a much better air quality, and an increase in business and tourism in the historic centre.

Since its small dimensions, Ljubljana is a contained laboratory to fine tune this kind of policies. The successful experiment conducted in Ljubljana has given good ideas to other European cities: Oslo, Madrid and Brussels have recently announced plans to partly close their city centres to traffic.

Ljubljana’s efforts also aim towards other goals: the city recycles almost two-thirds of its waste, and is the first EU capital to implement a “zero waste” strategy, promoting innovation to increase sustainability of the waste collection system and encouraging people to produce less waste.Cityscape of the Slovenian capital Ljubljana at sunset.


The city’s green spaces are also getting a fresh look, thanks to the bottom-up efforts of civic groups and associations. For example, the associations Bunker Institute and Prostorož began regenerating Tabor Park by hosting cultural festivals, flea markets and concerts, and thus drawing many people to use this green space near Ljubljana centre.

Alenka Korenjak, one of the founders of Prostorož, says: “The success of these initiatives demonstrates that investments of millions of euros are not the only way to promote urban regeneration”.


In che modo la città di Lubiana è passata in soli dieci anni da maglia nera per inquinamento e traffico a capitale verde europea? Un sindaco volenteroso ed una serie di ambiziosi progetti su sostenibilità e protezione ambientale.