Ever since the City of Bologna approved in May ’14 the Regulation on Collaboration Between the Citizens and the City for the Care and Regeneration of the Urban Commons, twenty municipalities have approved the Regulation and fourth-three more are examining it. In this sense, the city of Orvieto has numerous predecessors, but this does not change the fact that it should be considered a success in itself.
Every little, medium and big city that voted in favor of a collaborative governance of the urban commons represents an important achievement along the way towards the end of the practice of devolving power. Active citizens have the chance to take care by themselves of the place they live and to do it hand in hand with the public administration, in a constructive cooperation that brings benefits to the whole community.
On December 29th, 2014, thus, Orvieto joined the list of the cities that decided to completely revolutionize the way of thinking about the commons, and in particular about the urban ones. The Municipal Council endorsed the Regulation by a unanimous decision. A fact, this, which highlights that behind themes like this, there is a common background able to eliminate the differences between the various political factions in favor of a shared agreement. Furthermore, the approval in itself helps avoiding all those cases in which the active citizenship is blocked and even punished (e.g. the emblematic case of Mrs. Ilaria Montis who was fined for having cleaned the seaside of Is Solinas (CI) and for throwing the garbages in dumpsters far away from her house). To regulate a phenomenon does not mean to block it or to establish boundaries and limits, but rather to let it flow according to its characteristics and according to the different realities it takes place in.
The Regulation found its origin in the work carried out also by LabGov experts in Bologna and is centered upon the principle of horizontal/circular subsidiarity enshrined in the Italian Constitution (Art. 118) in an innovative way. Article 118 should not be interpreted as a way of merely dividing the responsibilities between the private sector and the public one, but rather as a shared background on which a new model of society shall be built. A society where active citizens can practically contribute to the renewal of the reality they live in. Obviously, this implies that the Regulation cannot be applied everywhere in the same form. Changes are firmly supported in order to adapt the goals to the concrete situation and to the history and values of the city at issue.
The analogies and differences between the four different versions of the Regulation approved in the cities of Bologna, Ivrea, Siena and Chieri were already analyzed, through seven parameters. Now, with the same methodology, it has come the moment to present the vision that the city of Orvieto decided to offer with the approval of the Regulation, in comparison to the original version of Bologna.
- Principles. The Municipality of Orvieto maintained all the original principles that constitute the foundations of the original version of the regulation. However, an interesting voice was added by the City Council of Orvieto during the drafting phase: art. 10 makes an explicit reference to the Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society, approved in Faro in 2005. In the words of Paolo Maurizio Talanti, the Democratic Party councilman of Orvieto “a city with such an artistic and cultural heritage like ours shall know that the knowledge and use of the cultural heritage is an individual right […]”.
- Subjects. For both Bologna and Orvieto, the subjects taken into consideration are the active citizens, namely “all subjects, single or associated, anyhow gathered in social formations, also of entrepreneurial type or with social vocation, which are active for the care and regeneration of urban commons”.
- Organizational aspects. Unlike the case of Bologna, Orvieto does not explicitly provide a unique office for the evaluation of the proposals of the active citizens, thus provoking an organizational gap that risks to provoke overlapping procedures and ambiguity during the implementation. In fact, according to the topic, each proposal will be submitted to the competent office.
- Type of administration. The kind of administration that takes shape in Orvieto is based on the authorization by the public offices, which are competent to technically evaluate the feasibility of the projects.
- Relevance of the private assets. The Regulation of Orvieto puts a particular emphasis on the public spaces as objects of the care of the active citizens, leaving however the possibility for a shared management of the private spaces for public use. Worth mentioning is the fact that the regulation merges the provision about the public spaces with the one about private ones in a unique norm.
- Forms of support. This is probably the most interesting aspect of the whole Regulation of Orvieto. In fact, the text completely eliminate all forms of exemption and relief from levies and local taxes and of administrative facilities, such as in obtaining permits. The Municipality may contribute to the reimbursement of costs only in those cases where an in-kind support is not possible.
- Disputes. Contrary to the Bologna Regulation, which provided for the creation of a Conciliation Board in order to solve future disputes, the City Council of Orvieto did not, thus leaving open the possibility to submit the arising cases to the ordinary jurisdiction instruments.
Strongly adapted to the local situation, the Regulation of Orvieto, with its strengths and weaknesses, constitutes a remarkable example of how much our society is changing and how well the Regulation fits in this challenging and stimulating environment.
Il Comune di Orvieto approva il Regolamento sulla collaborazione fra cittadini e amministrazione per la cura e la rigenerazione dei beni comuni urbani!
Il Comune di Orvieto ha due settimane fa approvato il Regolamento sulla Collaborazione tra Cittadini e Amministrazione per la Cura e la Rigenerazione dei Beni Comuni Urbani. Seppur con un testo adattato alla realtà della città, l’approvazione del Regolamento dimostra un rinnovato modo di pensare sui beni comuni urbani che si sta diffondendo velocemente in tutta Italia.
The Circular Subsidiarity Laboratory begun on the 5th of September with professor Iaione
Born in collaboration with the Services Center for Volunteering of Taranto, the Circular Subsidiarity Laboratory – Together for a new development is the new project of Labsus – Laboratory for Subsidiarity designed to all volunteer organizations of the Taranto’s territory. The Laboratory aims to empower local participants to the ideation and realization of a project for the local development based on the principle of subsidiarity and shared administration.
The first meeting has been held on the 5th and 6th of September at the Don Bosco Institute in Taranto by professor Iaione. On the first day the focus was about the evolution of the relations among public institutions, private enterprises, third sectors and citizens. Iaione made reference also to the Regulation on the Collaboration among Citizens and Administration for the Care and Regeneration of Urban Commons adopted by the Municipality of Bologna after a two years experimentation on field with Labsus. On the second day, the 27 participants has been involved in a co-working session. The working group have laid down the foundations for future design of the Laboratory.
The Laboratory will continue its activities until the 17th of October, when there will be a public event for the presentation of the outputs with the presence of Gregorio Arena president of Labsus. The next meeting devoted to the urban regeneration experience there will be on the 25th and 26th of September with Alesssadra Feola and Elena De Nictolis.
By Paola Brizi
Gregorio Arena and Christian Iaione presentations about collaborative economy and shared administration at 2014 Forum PA
The XXV edition of the 2014 Forum PA took place from the 27th to the 29th of May. It is the main conference for the innovation and modernization of the Italian public sector, this year titled “Let’s take commitments, let’s find solutions” which was attended by Professors Gregorio Arena and Christian Iaione to present the Regulation on the collaboration among citizens and administration for the care and regeneration of urban commons and to discuss about collaborative economy.
Among the topics of discussion in the 2014 edition of the Public Administration Forum, which was held at the Palazzo dei Congressi in Rome, the principles of transparency, participation and collaboration have taken on great importance, aimed at building new relationships between government and society.
The Forum has involved politics, businesses, governments and all the innovator actors in public administration and, in two separate conference sessions, Professors Gregorio Arena and Christian Iaione illustrated the work carried out by Labsus to foster the collaboration between institutions and citizens, in particular through the drafting of the Regulation on the collaboration among citizens and administration for the care and regeneration of urban commons, recently approved by the two Municipalities of Bologna and Siena.
Arena: “From the open government to the partner state”
According to professor Gregorio Arena the administrations reflect the needs and the values of the society they serve, so that their reform will have to be in tune with the major underlying trends of the society, at that particular moment in history.
Today, the main theme around which we have to build a new model of society is that of “sharing”, – adds the professor – a concept that requires a shift from “I” to “Together”. In fact, if we accept the idea that we are living in what is defined a “sharing society”, i.e. a society in which the use is more important than the ownership, this theme could become one of the inspiring souls of the administration reform which is so much discussed in this period in Italy, putting it in line with the society itself.
“In Italy this is feasible thanks to three elements”: the constitutional provision of Article 118, according to which the public authorities shall promote the autonomous initiatives of citizens carrying out general interest activities, which necessarily leads to the sharing; the organizational model defined “shared administration” by Arena himself in an essay of 1997 and which goes beyond a mere participation in decision-making but which means instead the sharing of general interest functions with the administration; finally, the third element is the paradox of a society like ours where there are those who want to actively take care of the commons, but cannot do it because they are not allowed to.
“For this reason Labsus – Laboratory for Subsidiary worked for two years within the City of Bologna aimed at writing a Regulation, setting in three districts of Bologna but with a look over the horizon, thinking about a tool that would have served all eight thousand Italian municipalities”.
The heart of the Regulation is the Covenant of Cooperation between the Municipality and the citizens to share the responsibility for the caring of the urban commons. “This is a fundamental concept, because we have lived for generations on the idea of the delegation, the idea that someone else will take care of our problems. We must instead recover a sense of collective responsibility, not in the negative sense of the term, but in the Latin sense: respondere, referred to those who give answers”.
Iaione: “Twist and Share, Public administration at the turning point of collaborative economy”
Many public policy and administration scholars are questioning the new phenomenon of the Public Administration seen as enabler, and on how there can be innovation without excluding the institutions.
According to Christian Iaione the explosion of collaborative paradigm corresponds to a new role of the public administration: “We are in the third institutional revolution so, after the Leviathan state of the nineteenth century and the Welfare state of the twentieth century, now is the time for a state that no longer deals with every issue, but of a relational and enabler state”.
Within this social innovative phenomenon, not dictated by the economic crisis, the public administration should take on the necessary role of enabler by fostering strong partnerships with its citizens who hold competencies, resources and knowledge, thus discovering the value of collaboration and initiating new institutional paradigms to convey these energies toward civic objectives of general interest.
The Regulations for the care and regeneration of urban commons, drafted by Labsus in collaboration with the Municipality of Bologna, is just a tool to facilitate the deployment of these new techniques that allow the diffusion of positive impacts on the community.
The Article 2 contains a definition of the urban commons seen as “non-abstract but almost operational category, because they are both public and private goods of which the citizens together with the institutions decide to share the responsibility of care and renewal, through processes of participatory democracy, precisely because these are functional assets for the individual and collective welfare”.
“The Regulation is a manual for the collaboration between the outside and the inside of the government”, thanks to which the administration becomes an interlocutor between all the collaborative economy actors. It represents a platform used to enable the citizens motivation for the caring and regeneration of urban common tangible and intangible goods, together with the government and giving answers to the main community problems.
It is also a platform of economic policy: it implies in fact the idea of a collaborative business model that creates value through the collaboration of different actors, whether individuals, associations or companies.
“This regulatory infrastructure is lacking, however, of two fundamental elements: the communication and training”, i.e. the construction of platforms for communication but also appropriate digital media and educational workshops for young people to involve them in the maintenance of the civic commons.
Since 2010 Labsus has launched a project involving two high schools in Rome, and it is now promoting it to other schools thanks to “Rock Your School“, the School of civic maintenance of commons. The leading idea is to create a shared city hall, in which the students are educated and trained for this cultural change through active schools and co-design laboratories, to make businesses, schools, universities and institutions collaborate, and to allow this cultural paradigm shift becoming a living reality.
On Monday, May 19th at Luiss Guido Carli University, will be held the event ‘Coltiviamoci‘. LabGov will host in Viale Romania 32, Aula Polivalente, a workshop focused on collective management of urban and environmental commons and on the development of institutional economic and social innovation. LabGov students will present the results achieved with the Lab’s activities and initiatives of 2014, and they will have also the pleasureto share knowledge, experiences and ideas with representatives from Coldiretti, Zappata Romana and Lazio Region Expo 2015 Steering Committee. This will be a unique event to talk about participatory processes aiming at actively involving actors on Expo 2015 major themes: ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’. Thus the workshop will focus on concrete, sustainable, technological solutions put forward by active citizens, such as community gardens, and by agricultural entrepreneurs taking care of the land as a commons.
- h 18.15 video show of LabGov2014 activities
- h 18.20 presentation of LabGov2014 results
- h 18.30 LabGov 2015 vs Expo2015
Giovanni Lo Storto – Luiss Guido Carli General Director
Maria Letizia Gardoni – President of Giovani Coldiretti
Luca D’Eusebio – Zappata Romana/ Hortus Urbis
Albino Ruberti – AD and President of Zétema and Coordinator of the Expo2015 working group for the region Lazio
- Concluding remarks: Gregorio Arena and Christian Iaione (Labsus)
- h 20.00 Awarding of participation certificates for LabGov’ s students; awarding of gratitude certificates for LabGov guest speakers