UIA is a European initiative created to test new solutions and to tackle emerging urban challenges.
Some of these solutions were collected by Nils Scheffler, UIA expert for the Use-It project, in his paper “UIA innovative approaches to tackle urban poverty “.
In fact, among the difficulties faced by the various urban contexts, there is the one concerning poverty.
This article, written after the seminar on 11 October 2018, during the European Week of Regions and Cities, quotes as an example the six cities Barcelona, Birmingham, Lille, Nantes, Pozzuoli, Turin, which participate in the first call for proposals on the theme of urban poverty and which are adopting, with the support of UIA, innovative solutions to tackle this problem.
One of the most interesting aspects that emerges from the article is the one concerning the Public-private-community partnerships. In these particular types of partnership there is a more specific focus on what concerns the local foundation and the local development. In fact, the various target groups have been involved in the projects since the beginning.
A good example of how the Public-private-community partnerships can be particularly effective in combating the poverty is in the Co-city project from Turin where the municipality collaborates in the governance of the Commons with the various local associations and residents through the “Pacts of collaboration “. These are described by Christian Iaione, professor at Luiss Guido Carli and expert of the Co-City project, as “legal tool through which the forms of cooperation between city inhabitants and the City administration address urban poverty through an urban commons-based approach i.e. stimulating collective use, management, ownership of urban assets, services, the way infrastructure is implemented”.
In an increasingly polluted world the local communities bring with them a huge, but unfortunately often neglected, potential for the development of social innovation initiatives aimed at a radical change in favor of renewable energy.
The seminar “Local Communities and Social Innovation for the Energy Transition” to be held at JRC Ispra Site (Ispra, Varese, Italy) on 22 and 23 November 2018 aims to study this potential and research recommendations aimed at obtaining a better exploitation of energy resources.
Furthermore, existing obstacles and conditions that favor or undermine the potential of local communities in the development of remedies of this kind will be discussed, as well as new models of innovation governance useful for the growth, consolidation and dissemination of social innovation initiatives in local communities.
We will also discuss the characteristics that allow local energy communities to be recognized in the panorama of EU regulations and how they can be disseminated through European policy. Some of the main existing examples of initiatives of local energy communities developed in the EU will be discussed below.
Finally, particular attention will be given to the important role that can be played by municipalities, both as local energy communities, as facilitators and as promoters of social innovation initiatives.
At the seminar will be present: Nicola Labanca (JRC Energy Efficiency and Renewables Unit), Sabine Hielscher (University of Sussex – UK), Josh Roberts (RESCoop.eu, Belgium), Paolo Bertoldi (JRC Energy Efficiency and Renewables Unit), Christian Iaione (LUISS Guido Carli University, IT), David Hammerstein (Commons Network), Fritz Reusswig (Potsdman Institute for Climate Impact Research, DE), : Daniele Paci (JRC Energy Efficiency and Renewables Unit), Jan Steinkohl (European Commission, DG ENER, Brussels), Dirk Hendricks (European Renewable Energy Federation, Brussels), Nikolaos Hatziargyriou (National Technical University of Athens, EL), Fabio Monforti (JRC Air and Climate Unit), Anna Mengolini (Energy Security, Distribution and Markets Unit, Joint Research Centre), Sarah Rieseberg (Arepo Consult, DE), Chiara Candelise (IEFE Bocconi University, IT), Gianluca Ruggieri (Insubria University, IT), Dick Magnusson (Linköping University, SE), Verhoeven Sofie (Ghent Municipality, BE), Lourdes Berdié (Network for Energy Sovereignty – Barcelona).
Professor Iaione, co-founder of LabGov, will present in the second discussion panel “Governance and Local Communities’ Social Innovation: which governance
approaches are needed to stimulate this innovation?” on the “Pooling Economy, Tech Justice and Urban Experimentalism for a Human Rights-based Approach to the Sharing Economy”.
“I have been picture-gazing this morning at the famous Domenichino and Guido, both of which are superlative. I afterwards went to the beautiful cemetery of Bologna, beyond the walls; and found, besides the superb burial-ground, an original of a custode, who reminded one of the grave-digger in Hamlet (…).”
George Gordon Byron, Letters and Journals of Lord Byron with a Notice of his life, 1831
Not only the world-renowned Père Lachaise in Paris (more than 3 million visitors per year), the evocative Okunoin Cemetery in Japan (in the sacred Mount Koya), or the Woodland Cemetery in Stockholm (UNESCO World Heritage site since 1994, although built in the 20th century). Historical cemeteries represent anywhere in the world a peculiar type of urban spaces, both tangible and intangible heritage, while providing funerary services.
In 2001 a European network was created in order to raise awareness about their sometimes neglected importance: ASCE-Association of Significant Cemeteries in Europe. The network counts 179 cemeteries in 22 countries, specifically those public and private entities that care for this specific heritage. The association, born thanks to an Italian initiative, also aims to share experiences and best practices among members and to cooperate in order to protect, restore and enhance these open-air museums.
“Cemeteries as places of life, settings that, as urban spaces, are directly linked to the history and culture of the community they belong to and where we will find many of our references”. This is how the European Route of Cemeteries, promoted by ASCE and supported by the European Commission under its Europe for Citizens Programme (project “Remembrance in European Cemeteries”), refers to this heritage. The Route, comprising 63 cemeteries in 50 cities in 20 European countries, is mainly in charge of the touristic promotion of the sites, and, by raising awareness, it also stimulates dissemination activities and encourages restoration actions. Among the main results achieved by ASCE, we could also mention the establishment of the “Week of Discovering European Cemeteries (WDEC)”, whose activities in 2018 (May 18-June 3) will support the European Year of Cultural Heritage, and a mobile guide presenting members’ heritage thanks to the ARtour platform.
In Italy, we assist to an increasing attention toward the enhancement and management of historical cemeteries, as witnessed by the memorandum of understanding signed in 2016 by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Tourism and SEFIT-Servizi Funerari Italiani (the Italian public funerary services): “Protocollo d’intesa per la valorizzazione culturale e turistica dei cimiteri monumentali”. The memorandum also led to the elaboration of a first version of an Atlas of monumental cemeteries in Italy, published few weeks ago. On December 14, 2017, SEFIT, in partnership with Fondazione MAXXI, organized in Rome a workshop dealing with new urban and architectural challenges related to cemeteries: “I cimiteri nella città. I cimiteri come città – Una svolta culturale per la città dei morti pari a quella in atto nelle città dei vivi?”. In 2017, almost 19.000 participants attended cultural events in the four cemeteries of Bologna, Milan, Genoa and Turin.
Practices of participation and citizens engagement are an ever growing phenomenon in the enhancement of these public spaces, that have to balance the protection and development of its cultural heritage with its primary function. The role of citizens, volunteers and not for profit actors turns out to be crucial, especially to ensure the sustainability of enhancement activities, as we will see in two Italian cases: the Staglieno Cemetery in Genoa and the Certosa Cemetery in Bologna.
The cemetery of Staglieno in Genoa (330.000 mq.) was officially opened to the public in 1851. It is one of the most important historical cemeteries in Italy: hundreds of sculptures, but also chapels, galleries and porticoes, with a diversity of styles that contributes to its outstanding historical and artistic value. For the enhancement activities, the cemetery relies on the contribution of different actors, among which an important partnership with ARCI Genova, Auser Liguria e Genova, University of Genoa and CNA-Confederazione Nazionale dell’Artigianato e della Piccola e Media impresa (National Confederation of Artisans and of the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises), that led to the creation of “La fabbrica di Staglieno”. Financed by Fondazione Telecom, the project is aimed at enhancing the restoration activity carried out within the cemetery by creating a restoration laboratory opened to the public, and combining the guided tours with practical activities and workshops, involving restorers, artisans, researchers and students. In August 2017 the Municipality launched a call for proposals to co-design the enhancement activities, through a “Patto di sussidiarietà”, a juridical instrument within the Third sector regulation allowing not for profit organisations to carry on public interest activities. In this case, the project should involve volunteers, disadvantaged or unemployed people in a variety of activities, with in kind and financial support of the Municipality.
The Certosa Cemetery in Bologna was created in 1801 from a former Chartusian monastery founded in 1334. Its architectural structure is very rich and comprises galleries, cloisters, halls, added to which are frescoes, sculptures, an Etruscan Necropolis and the San Girolamo Church. Starting from 1999, an important enhancement project has been carried out, leading to the restoration of many monuments and to guided tours, special initiatives, a summer programme of events. The entire project is managed by Museo del Risorgimento, which is part of the Municipality museums department, in partnership with the Funerary service provider “Bologna Servizi Cimiteriali”; the cultural association of touristic guides “Didasco”, in charge of the guided tours; the volunteers’ association “Amici della Certosa”, founded in 2009 and relying on more than 90 volunteers that contribute to the maintenance, conservation and enhancement activities and to the opening of the Infopoint; “Fondazione Collegio Artistico Venturoli” for the study and research activities. The summer program of events is conceived through a public call for proposals for cultural and not for profit associations, whose projects are annually evaluated and eventually selected. The Call for projects for summer 2018 has been recently opened (deadline March 11). From each entrance fee of the summer events, 2€ are allocated to the enhancement and restoration project. As regards the collaboration with volunteers, in 2016 the Municipality signed a “Patto di collaborazione” with “Amici della Certosa” association within “Collaborare è Bologna” policy and the Bologna Regulation on public collaborations between citizens and the city for the care and regeneration of urban commons. Recognising the value of both the cemetery heritage and the role played volunteers so far, aims and actions are defined for both actors with a collaborative approach.
Significant cemeteries are more and more serving as catalyst for citizens, associations and volunteers that would take care of these fascinating urban spaces, at the same time maintaining and enhancing its outstanding heritage and raising awareness about its value for the local community.
Pratiche partecipative e di coinvolgimento dei cittadini sono un fenomeno crescente nella valorizzazione dei cimiteri monumentali, particolari spazi urbani che si trovano a dover conciliare l’impegno per il proprio patrimonio culturale con l’originaria funzione funeraria.
Matera Design Evolution is a project designed and organized by Associazione Casa Netural that will take place on November 25th and 26th in Matera, European Culture Capital for 2019. Design becomes a tool to think and invent new ways to regenerate the old historical center of Grottole (Matera).
A community composed by designers, artisans and practitioners will reunite for two days of workshops to elaborate and build together all the different aspects of #WonderGrottole. It will be a design network, a community aggregator, a unique experience to meet, know each other, share experiences, work together for a magical territory: Matera, Grottole and Basilicata.
The community of Wonder Grottole is looking for someone to co-design together: the crowdfunding strategy for the project, the architectural concept, the IA, the mobility, the web platform, the manifesto, the governance.
The program will be structured as following:
– On the first day the project will be introduced to the participants through a walk in and out of Grottole;
– On the first and second day participants will be divided into work groups, and each of them will be developing an aspect of the project. Then everybody will reunite for lunch and dinner, to update each other on the process.
At the end of the two days, the output will be the definitive choice of the house, and the definition of:
– the Manifesto;
– the web platform;
– the economic plan;
– the timeline
– homeworks (!);
– dates for the next meetings;
Moreover, the project supporters are going to subscribe the Foundation document of the project.
Chiara Prevete, LabGov’s executive director, will attend the meeting.
The full program of the event is available here: http://www.materadesign.com/
Il 25 e 26 novembre Matera ospiterà #WonderGrottole: due giorni di workshop intensivi per ripensare e co-disegnare la rigenerazione del centro storico del comune di Grottole
The striking amount of underused public spaces in cities worldwide shows the extent to which the value of public space is underestimated. On the other extreme, a variety of public spaces are gradually being privatised and thus public life, to some extent, threatened. Amidst these two opposite trends, underuse and privatisation, public space and public life are now found in a delicate and marginal situation in cities.
Despite a lack of attention to how public spaces are being tackled, it is possible to see their potential to be transformed into a resource for community development in what is recognised as grassroot initiatives. Grassroot initiatives are based on citizens getting together and taking action to address issues affecting their communities that are left unresolved by municipalities. They usually take place in underused public spaces and thus show an alternative destiny to the overlooked public spaces in cities. Examples include R-Urban, in Colombes, France (http://r-urban.net/en/), a resilient network of projects embracing development of housing, economy, culture and urban agriculture, and other projects such as Cantiere Barca, in Turin, Italy (http://www.publicspace.org/en/works/h109-cantiere-barca), where public space, social dynamics and community facilities have been regenerated collectively with objects made on local carpentry workshops. Another example is Build a Better Block, USA (http://betterblock.org/), intended to stimulate communities to get together to regenerate the public spaces of the area where they live, usually by using tactical interventions (http://islandpress.org/book/tactical-urbanism).
Grassroot initiatives can be compared to the urban commons because they rely on collective management of public space supported by collective action. Through a personal research analysing the structure of different grassroot initiatives, I have concluded that grassroot initiatives and the urban commons are usually composed of four underlying elements: repurposed public spaces, collective governance, hands-on action, and resulting benefits that support community and urban development (http://www.academia.edu/33751886/Repurposing_Underused_Public_Spaces_into_Urban_Commons_An_active_participatory_urban_regeneration_model_for_Gospel_Oak). Benefits of the urban commons emerge from the action of collectively repurposing underused public spaces as a resource for community development, and result in social, economic and environmental benefits.
The urban commons indicate an open and spontaneous, but structured, collective appropriation and repurposing of public space. Still, the structuring of collaborative governance and community engagement is a big challenge and a project in itself, requiring time and adaptability. Moreover, there is no formula for community engagement and collaborative action and governance, since every community and its associated development targets widely vary.
The urban commons is not only about sharing “the products of commoning” but also about shaping citizens as “subjects of sharing…who accept their incompleteness, subjects who accept that they can be transformed through sharing and subjects who recognize in sharing the power of opening to potential worlds, the power of encountering ever-new horizons of commoning…Collective subjects are thus being formed and transformed without everybody being reduced to fit perpetuated role taxonomies (…) ”. 1(Stavrides, S. 2016 – p.273)
Thus, as emphasized, the structure of the urban commons is ever fluid and collectively adaptable. Urban commons’ structural responsiveness supports and is supported by individuals contributing
to shaping the commoning group and its collective aims while being shaped back. This responsiveness and openness is a characteristic that cannot be grasped entirely due to the uniqueness of every urban commons.
Moreover, the urban commons can inform collaborative development both at the local (community) and city scale (policy making), since the activities nurtured within it are imbued with an awareness of the city as networked spaces, people and resources that mutually impact each other. Thus, the urban commons can support active community empowerment and tackle issues on different levels – from the community to city scale, from the individual to the collective, and from social to spatial. The ability of the urban commons to address urban issues thoroughly is due to its spatial structural element (public space) and social structural elements (collective governance, hands-on activities, and emerging benefits) and hence commoning processes can tackle space while restoring social cohesion.
Because cities are getting more complex to control through centralized planning models the urban commons gradually gains more strength to develop since it relies on the sharing of power through collective governance and planning frameworks based on shared responsibility between government and citizens. The urban commons development model implies in alternative service provision where citizens have an active responsibility in shaping a wide array of services such as water management, health provision, food production, social economy, etc. Communities thus adapt from being purely consumers to becoming consumers and producers.
Nonetheless, on emerging collaborative planning models, the interface between government and citizens on the sharing of power is still very unclear. Both “appear stuck, asking each other to do more and more to fill the growing gaps between service provision.“2 (Britton,T., 2015 – p.22) Regarding citizens, “what is expected of him or her in ‘the new model’: a role as a volunteer, or as an employee, or employer in…say, a cooperative? Does the burden of caring for those dependent on care also lie with ‘active’ citizens – with a job – or only with ‘available’ citizens – without a job? Furthermore, there is confusion about the type of service and production that would qualify for the new model.”3 (Moore, T., 2013 – p.25)
That said, awareness of responsibilities, capabilities and limitations regarding each party involved in the collaborative planning process is crucial to advance the discussion and practice of collaborative urban development.
Moreover, the lack of awareness of the value of public space, both as a source and a resource for urban development, prevents its appropriation as urban commons. It also contributes to public spaces’ underuse, lack of management, and privatization. Thus, it is important to consider public space in a positive light linked to collaborative planning models, seen it is a valuable source and resource for urban development.
The urban commons development model adopted on a city scale would imply in government’s support for communities
to co-produce goods and services on public spaces, which would directly impact on the supply chain system and enhance holistic sustainability – social, economic, and environmental. Governmental support for the common use of public space would drive a new public life and provision model, alternative to the “unsustainable model in which all necessities of urban survival are distanced from consumers by markets, corporations and public bodies.”4 (Bingham-Hall, J., Kaasa, A., 2016 – p.3)
Despite its benefits, adoption of the urban commons development model on the community and city scale has its challenges, the most critical being: lack of clarity on the interface between government and citizens on collaborative planning models; lack of clarity on how to structure community engagement; provision of legal frameworks for citizens to appropriate public space through alternative uses; and clarification of the urban commons structure.
LabGov is playing an important role in addressing these challenges.
La grande quantità di spazzi pubblici inutilizzati in diverse città si appresenta come un’opportunità per creare gli urban commons tramite la sua rigenerazione, utilizzando di ‘collective governance’ e ‘hands on action’.
Innumeri progetti riconosciuti come ‘grassroot initiatives’ esemplificano come spazzi pubblici inutilizzati possono essere trasformarti in risorsi per sviluppo comunitario.
- Stavrides, S. (2016), Commons space: the city as commons. London. ZED Books
- Britton,T. (2015), Designed to Scale. [online] Available at: https://issuu.com/participatorycity/docs/designed_to_ scale_v.1
- Moore, T. (2013) Homo Cooperans. Universiteit Utrecht. Available at: http://www.ruralhistory.eu/newsletter/2013/rhn- 2013-150
- Bingham-Hall, J., Kaasa, A. (2016). Future of Cities. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/future- of-cities-urban-commons-and-public-spaces