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.

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.

Resilience. One of the most important and meaningful words of 2015

Resilience. One of the most important and meaningful words of 2015

After the economic crisis out-broken in 2007 and the consequent period of time defined by recession, all of us are aware that in this situation, one of the most important thing in which to believe in, is to do with what we have got. For this reason, the creativity in using material stuffs, the fact of using something instead of putting it, the replacement of simple owning with shared use (as the sharing economy demonstrates), become every day more important.

Well, we should name all of this mix as “Resilience”. That, for what we are interested in, is to say the capacity, for a society, to anticipate disruptions, to adapt to events and to create lasting value.

And what about the city of Rome?
The project “Roma Resiliente”, that the Municipality of Rome act in the framework of the programme “100 Resilient Cities” promoted by the Rockefeller Foundation, is getting going.
Actually, the Foundation decided to allocate one-hundred million dollars – in occasion of its hundredth birthday – to one hundred cities selected among more than four hundred cities.

Rome was selected as first, together with thirty-two more cities in the world, by eight judges among which the former U.S. President, Mr. Bill Clinton.

The working plan, proposed by Giovanni Caudo (Municipality of Rome’s council member for the Urban Transformation) has persuaded the examination board, and has been awarded with one million dollars to be allocated to the City.
The main goal of the proposal is to create an improved resilience, that is to say the capability in resisting to disasters caused by people or simply natural events, and to raise again stronger than before. This is possible thanks to the building of a widespread “culture of resilience” among citizens, associations and enterprises, and the advent of an evaluated institutional capability.

Thanks to the partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation, the local administration will launch a partecipatory process for the creation of a resilience plan for the Municipality of Rome.
Among the priorities identified in the working plan emerge the so called resilience challenges that are, for the city of Rome, earthquakes, flooding, pollution or environmental degradation, rising of the sea level and the consequent coastal erosion.

But, overlooking for a moment natural diseases, “Rome is struggling to reverse decades of poorly regulated development and address its informal housing neighbourhoods, inadequate infrastructure provision, and urban sprawl. This activity has made Rome highly vulnerable to flooding and other disruptions, which threaten to undermine social cohesion and prosperity in this city of immense cultural and economic significance. Rome’s city limits include large expanses of still viable rural land and natural reserves, and its forward looking planners are focused on transforming these assets in order to maintain and protect its environment and build long-term resilience to shocks and stresses”, as the officialwebsite of the 100 Resilient Cities reports.

Last but not least, Roma Resiliente is going to deal with themes such as nutrition and green common areas.

Actually, on January, 20th at the Piccola Protomoteca of the Capitol Hill of Rome was held a meeting dedicated to “Agricolture and food for resilient cities”. During this meeting were analysed and illustrated the best practices and the good purposes about a new kind of food policies, which should consist of the best quality of the nutrition as a tool for improving public health , the sustainability of the production and distribution chains of food, the stress on the role of urban agriculture.

Undoubtedly, such policies are one of the fundamental paths that will make our cities more resilient and, the cooperation of the multiple social actors is needed.

Institutions alone cannot go far away. The community garden that we, as LUISS-LabGov, are taking care of, is a clear example. Together with the dozens of shared gardens in the whole city of Rome, our community garden represent a nice resilient partnership among citizens, students and academy.

For further infos, please visit the following websites:

E’ stato lanciato il progetto “Roma Resiliente”, che la città di Roma intende realizzare nell’ambito del programma “100 Resilient Cities” promosso dalla Rockefeller Foundation.
Difatti, la prestigiosa fondazione americana ha deciso, in occasione del proprio centesimo compleanno, di donare cento milioni di dollari a cento città nel mondo, selezionate fra oltre quattrocento.

Grazie alla partnership con la Rockefeller Foundation,  l’amministrazione romana avvierà un processo partecipativo per la creazione di un piano di resilienza per Roma Capitale.
Tra le priorità identificate nel piano di lavoro emergono le sfide di resilienza che, per la città di Roma, riguardano anche l’alimentazione e l’agricoltura.

In questo scenario, il community garden dell’Università LUISS “Guido Carli” rappresenta un esempio positivo.

Italian collaborative cities launch from Rome the Matera Sharing School

Italian collaborative cities launch from Rome the Matera Sharing School





The sharing economy is growing faster than ever and becoming a hot policy issue these days. Casa Netural, CollaboriamoRENA and LabGov have for this reason decided to launch the “sharing school”. Thanks to the collaboration between these entities and partners like Ouishare, Avanzi and Societing, the school will be able to host highly qualified professionals and experienced innovators. The main star will be Neal Gorenflo from Shareable.


The school will be held in the city of Matera, 2019 European Capital of Culturefrom January 23rd, 2015 through January 26th, 2015. The four day full immersion program is based on a “learning by doing” approach, which aims at forming participants on sharing economy. The possibility to experiment collaboration among participants is the pivotal practice of the school. Through active participation, cooperation, inclusion and strong theoretical background, the program aims at analyzing recent trends and best practices of the sharing economy and to provide the necessary instruments to designing and manage community services and assets through sharing and collaborative schemes. The school is thus recommended for all those civic innovators, nonprofit leaders, economic development professionals, city builders and entrepreneurs, public officials which seek to deepen their knowledge of practices related to the commons, as well as to the sharing practices in a city. The school will provide them with the skills, expertise, and insights they need to create, implement and measure to build upon the creativity, innovation, and human capability of their local communities.

In Rome, Neal Gorenflo will launch the school at an event on collaborative cities as a model for urban transformation and local economic development. The audience will be made up of Roman and Italian sharing world actors. The conference will be held at Porta Futuro on January 22nd at 10:00 AM. Representatives from four collaborative cities (Milan, Florence, Bologna and Rome) and other important experts and practitioners will be there too. The aim is to open 2015 with a thorough discussion on how cities could be turned into collaborative cities or co-cities, that is to say places where people share urban commons, city governments collaborate with citizens and collaborative businesses flourish, all thanks to a commons-oriented economic approach.

Event program is available here.

You can enroll here

To get more info on the Sharing School:




Le città collaborative lanciano da Roma la Sharing School di Matera

La sharing economy sta crescendo più velocemente che mai e sta diventando un tema di politica pubblica molto caldo negli ultimi mesi, anche grazie a eventi come Sharitaly. Per questa ragione, Casa Netural, CollaboriamoRENA e LabGov hanno deciso di lanciare la Sharing School. Grazie alla collaborazione tra queste soggetti e partner come  OuiShareAvanzi e Societing,  la scuola potrà ospitare professionisti altamente qualificati e innovatori di grande esperienza. Neal Gorenflo, co-founder di Shareable, sarà ospite della scuola per tutta la durata dell’iniziativa.

La scuola si terrà a Matera, Capitale Europea della Cultura 2019 , dal 23 al 26 gennaio 2015. Quattro giorni di full immersion basati sull’approccio “learning by doing”, che mirano a formare i partecipanti sui temi e le pratiche della sharing economy. La possibilità di sperimentare la collaborazione tra i partecipanti è la caratteristica principale della scuola. Attraverso la partecipazione attiva, la cooperazione, l’inclusione e un forte background teorico, il programma mira ad analizzare i trend più recenti e le best practices della sharing economy per fornire gli strumenti necessari per progettare e gestire servizi e beni di comunità attraverso schemi di condivisione e collaborazione. La scuola è pensata per tutti gli innovatori civici, leaders nel settore del non-profit, professionisti dello sviluppo economico, city builders, imprenditori, e funzionari pubblici che intendono approfondire la conoscenza delle pratiche relative ai commons, così come delle pratiche collaborative in una città. La scuola fornirà loro le skills, l’esperienza, e indagherà i loro bisogni di creare, implementare e misurare per costruire sulla creatività, l’innovazione e il capitale umano delle loro comunità locali.

A Roma, Neal Gorenflo lancerà la scuola in un evento sulle città collaborative come modello di trasformazione urbana e sviluppo economico locale. L’evento richiamerà molti attori del mondo dello sharing a livello italiano e globale. La conferenza avrà luogo presso Porta Futuro il 22 gennaio alle ore 10:00. Saranno presenti i  rappresentanti di quattro città collaborative (Milano, Firenze, Bologna e Roma) e altri importanti esperti e professionisti. L’obiettivo dell’evento è aprire il 2015 con una riflessione su come le città possono essere trasformate in città collaborative o  co-città, ovvero luoghi dove le persone condividono i beni comuni urbani, l’amministrazione collabora con i cittadini e imprese collaborative fioriscono, tutto grazie a un approccio economico orientato ai beni comuni.

Il programma è disponibile qui.

Puoi iscriverti qui.

Per maggiori informazioni sulla Sharing School:


The city of Orvieto approves the regulation on urban commons

The city of Orvieto approves the regulation on urban commons

Map of Regulation
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.

  1. 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 […]”.
  2. 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”.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.