Urban innovation and Commons in Ferrara at the “Internazionale” Festival!

Urban innovation and Commons in Ferrara at the “Internazionale” Festival!

From Semptember 30th to October 2nd in Ferrara will be held the 2016 edition of the Internazionalefestival, with more than 200 guests, 31 represented countries, 60 newspapers and 120 planned meetings.


The “Internazionale” festival of Ferrara continues to be a great way for trying to know the world and to understand it better. Several topics will be discussed during those three days with experts and journalists from all aver the world: from the rise of populist movements to the new jihadists, from homophobia to bullying, not leaving out lighter topics.

On Sunday 2nd, at 2 PM in the Teatro Nuovo, LabGov will be in Ferrara with its two co-founders, Sheila Foster and Christian Iaione, to talk about Cities and Commons, urban innovation and collaboration with two other guests: Massimo Lepore (TAMassociati) and Joachim Meerkerk (Pakhuis de Zwijger, Amsterdam).

The full program of the event is available here: http://www.internazionale.it/festival/programma

The Inaugural Convening of the Global Parliament of Mayors

The Inaugural Convening of the Global Parliament of Mayors

The GPM – Global Parliament of Mayors – is a new global governance organization founded on cities and will bring Mayors from all over the world together to share best practices. During the inaugural meeting that will be held tomorrow 10th of September in The Hague, two issues will be addressed that affect all cities: Migration and the Environment & Climate Change.
Mayors from cities like Amman, Cape Town, Dakar, Mannheim, Rio de Janeiro, Rotterdam, Quito, Warsaw, Wroclaw and The Hague will attend the convening, which will include several plenary sessions as well as breakout and strategy sessions.

This inaugural convening is the output of a process started in 2014 with a Planning Session in Amsterdam, where 30 mayors issued a vote of confidence in the creation of a Global Parliament of Mayors. The proposal of the GPM’s team is to establish a Global Parliament of Mayors, an unprecedented idea first put forward in the final chapter of Dr. Benjamin Barber’s 2013 book If Mayors Ruled the World: Dysfunctional Nations, Rising Cities (Yale University Press). Barber’s hypothesis is that cities might be “to the future what nations were to the past — efficient and pragmatic problem-solving governance bodies that can address sustainability and security without surrendering liberty or equality” (from an interview published on http://www.citiscope.org/*). During those two days of inaugural convening, mayors and experts from all over the world will discuss on the question: “can mayors really help “rule the world””?

The Inaugural Convening in The Hague will ask Mayors to deliberate and enact common actions on:

  • Refugees: “Cities of Arrival”

  • Climate Change: “The City and Nature”

  • Governance: “The City and Democracy”

LabGov, represented by its co-director Professor Sheila R. Foster, faculty co-director of the Fordham Urban Law Center, and by Elena De Nictolis and Chiara De Angelis, will attend the inaugural convening.

* Read the full interview to Dr. Barber here: http://www.citiscope.org/habitatIII/commentary/2016/09/global-parliament-mayors-can-lead-devolution-revolution?mc_cid=1ed561f6ec&mc_eid=[UNIQID]

Focus on the author: Sheila Foster

This article is a focus on the figure of Professor Sheila Foster, LabGov’s co-founder.

Sheila R. Foster is University Professor and the Albert A. Walsh Professor of Real Estate, Land Use and Property Law at Fordham University. She is also the faculty co-director of the Fordham Urban Law Center. She served as Vice Dean of the Law School from 2011-2014 and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from 2008-2011. Professor Foster is the author of numerous publications on land use, environmental law, and antidiscrimination law. Her early work was dedicated to exploring the intersection of civil rights and environmental law, in a field called “environmental justice”. Her most recent work explores the legal and theoretical frameworks in which urban land use decisions are made. Land use scholars voted her article on Collective Action and the Urban Commons (Notre Dame Law Review, 2011) as one of the 5 best (out of 100) articles on land use published that year.Professor Foster is the recipient of two Ford Foundation grants for her on environmental justice and urban development. Professor Foster is also the coauthor of a recent groundbreaking casebook, Comparative Equality and Antidiscrimination Law: Cases, Codes, Constitutions and Commentary (Foundation Press, 2012). She has taught and conducted research internationally in Switzerland, Italy, France, England, Austria, Colombia, Panama, and Cuba. Her

Here is an anthology of her publications.


  • Comparative equality and antidiscrimination law: Cases, codes, constitutions and commentary, with David Oppenheimer and Sora Han (Foundation Press, 2012).
    “This casebook compares U.S. equality and anti-discrimination law with the law of several other legal systems, such as Europe, South Africa, China, Colombia, and Argentina. Coverage includes equality issues in marriage, employment, affirmative action, reproductive rights, state religion, religious minorities, hate speech, and federalism”.
  • The law of environmental justice: Theories and procedures to address disproportionate risks, co-editor with Michael B. Gerrard (American Bar Association, 2008).
    “Environmental justice is the concept that minority and low-income individuals, communities and populations should not be disproportionately exposed to environmental hazards, and that they should share fully in making the decisions that affect their environment”.
  • From the ground up: Environmental racism and the rise of the environmental justice movement, with Luke Cole (NYU Press, 2001). 
    “When Bill Clinton signed an Executive Order on Environmental Justice in 1994, the phenomenon of environmental racism—the disproportionate impact of environmental hazards, particularly toxic waste dumps and polluting factories, on people of color and low-income communities—gained unprecedented recognition. Behind the President’s signature, however, lies a remarkable tale of grassroots activism and political mobilization”. 

Recent Publications:

  • Vulnerability, Equality and Environmental Justice in Handbook of Environmental Justice (eds.  Jayajit Chakraborty and Gordon Walker) (forthcoming Routledge 2017)
  • The City as a Commons, with Christian Iaione (Yale Law & Policy Review, Vol. 34, No. 2, 2016). “City space is highly contested space. As rapid urbanization takes hold around much of the world, contestations over city space – how that space is used and for whose benefit – are at the heart of many urban movements and policy debates”. Full article here.
  • Human Rights and Climate Change: Building Synergies for a Common Future, with Paolo Galizzi, in The Climate Change Law Encyclopedia (eds. Daniel Farber and Marjan Peeters, 2016). “Human rights exist only on the margins of the existing international climate change regime. Undoubtedly, bringing a human rights framework to international efforts can help to solidify the ethical moorings needed to compel meaningful action to address climate change. However, while advocates of a rights-based approach to climate change agree that human rights principles should underpin global climate change policies, there are many variations in how human rights may be defined, justified, and brought to bear in the climate change arena”. Full article here.
  • Comparative Urban Governance for Lawyers, with Fernanda Nicola (Fordham Urban Law Journal n. 42, 2015).
    “How can some cities’ experiences guide and enrich our understanding of what cities in other parts of the world should or should not do? What is the relevance of these comparisons in determining what type of economic development agenda is more suitable to a specific political and economic environment? How can interdisciplinary tools be utilized to establish some entry points for cross-national comparisons? What are the limitations of crossnational comparisons given the ways in which most local governments around the world are constrained within a vertical system of legal
    Full article here.
  • Breaking up Payday: Anti-Agglomeration Zoning and Consumer Welfare (Ohio State Law Journal n. 75, 2014).
    “Dozens of local governments have enacted zoning ordinances designed to limit the concentration of payday lenders and other alternative financial services providers (AFSPs), such as check-cashing businesses and auto title loan shops, in their communities. The main impetus for these ordinances is to shield economically vulnerable residents from the industry’s lending practices in the absence of sufficiently aggressive federal and state consumer protection regulation.
    This article casts considerable doubt on whether zoning is the appropriate regulatory tool to achieve the consumer protection and welfare goals animating these ordinances”. 
    Full article here.
  • The Mobility Case for Regionalism, with Nestor Davidson (UC Davis Law Review n. 47, 2013).
    “In the discourse of local government law, the idea that a mobile populace can “vote with its feet” has long served as a justification for devolution and decentralization. Tracing to Charles Tiebout’s seminal work in public finance, the legal-structural prescription that follows is that a diversity of independent and empowered local governments can best satisfy the varied preferences of residents metaphorically shopping for bundles of public services, regulatory environment, and tax burden”.
    Full article here.
  • Collective Action and the Urban Commons (Notre Dame Law Review n. 87, 2011). 
    “Urban residents share access to a number of local resources in which they have a common stake. These resources range from local streets and parks to public spaces to a variety of shared neighborhood amenities. Collectively shared urban resources suffer from the same rivalry and free-riding problems that Garrett Hardin described in his Tragedy of the Commons tale. Scholars have not yet worked up a theory about how this tragedy unfolds in the urban context, particularly in light of existing government regulation and control of common urban resources”. 
    Full article here
  • Integrative Lawyering: Navigating the Political Economy of Urban Development, with Brian Glick (California Law Review n. 95, 2007).
    “In this article we explore how contemporary urban development practices present intriguing challenges for lawyers representing community-based organizations working to proactively rebuild their communities into ones that are both socially just and ecologically sustainable”.
    Full article here.
  • The City as an Ecological Space: Social Capital and Urban Land Use (Notre Dame Law Review n. 82, 2006).
    “The notion that certain uses of public and private property can have negative effects beyond legally defined property boundaries is firmly embedded in land use law. We are now comfortable regulating land use to prevent and control for impacts to our natural resources, environmental quality, and nuisances to third parties. This idea is partly rooted in economic theory – i.e., the existence of negative externalities – but also in the theory of ecology – i.e., the notion that property is inextricably part of a network of social and economic relationships and that its impacts traverse legally defined property boundaries. But not all impacts, or costs, of land use are properly accounted for in land use regulation”. 
    Full article here.

Additional publications can be found here.

Recently published articles:

  • The Co-City: from the Tragedy to the comedy of the Urban Commons, published on The Nature of Cities, November 2nd 2016. Available here.
  • Common threads: connections among the ideas of Jane Jacobs and Elinor Ostrom, and their relevance to urban socio-ecology, published on The Nature of Cities, May 28th, 2016. Available here.

  • Cities, Inequality and the Common Good, published on The Huffington Post, US Edition, October 30th 2015. Available here.

Focus on the author: Christian Iaione

This article is a focus on the figure of LabGov’s coordinator, professor Christian Iaione.

Christian Iaione is associate professor of public law at Guglielmo Marconi University of Rome, fellow of the Urban Law Center at Fordham University, and visiting professor of governance of the commons at LUISS Guido Carli. He is an expert of the EU Committee of the Regions and he is member of the Sharing Economy International Advisory Board of the Seoul Metropolitan Government.

Prof. Iaione has published several articles in the field of public and administrative law and, in particular, land use, public goods and the commons, public services and public contracts, urban law and local government. He has authored two books on In house publicly-owned companies. Contribution to the principle of self-organization and self-production of local governments (Jovene, 2007 – 2012, II ed.) and The regulation of urban mobility (Jovene, 2008) and has co-authored Italy of the Commons (Carocci, 2012) and The Age of Sharing (Carocci, 2015).

Here is an anthology of his publications:


  • L’Italia dei beni comuni (with G.Arena), Carrocci, Rome, (2012).
  • L’età della condivisione (with G.Arena) Carrocci, Rome (2015).


Recent Publications:

  • La città collaborativa: la governance dei beni comuni per l’urbanistica collaborata e collaborativa, published in Agenda RE-CYCLE, Proposte per reinventare la città (Il Mulino, 2017). Available soon.
  • The City as a Commons (Yale Law and Policy Review, 2016), together with Sheila R. Foster. “City space is highly contested space. As rapid urbanization takes hold around much of the world, contestations over city space – how that space is used and for whose benefit – are at the heart of many urban movements and policy debates”. Full article here.
  • Lo Stato – Piattaforma di immaginazione civica, la politica e le istituzioni nel secolo del CO-, published in 25 anni di riforme della PA: troppe norme, pochi traguardi, 39 (Forum PA, Annual Report 2016). An analysis of how the State should begin to function as a Platform and of how institutions and policies should evolve in the “CO-” age – a period in which the key words seem to be community, collaboration, cooperation, communication, commons, co-design, co-production, co-management, co-housing, co-design, sharing, knowledge, etc. Full article here.
  • La quintupla elica come approccio alla governance dell’innovazione sociale, published in I luoghi dell’innovazione aperta, modelli di sviluppo territoriale e inclusione sociale, 74 (Quaderni, Fondazione G.Brodolini, Studi e Ricerche, November 2016).  In this paper it is stated that the “Collaborative City” (CO-City) urban co-governance framework, based on the three levels of sharing, pooling and poly-centrism, can facilitate collaborative and open knowledge production and social innovation processes within the city. Furthermore, the CO-City approach further elaborates on the triple helix governance model and develops a more complex and precise version, defined as quintuple helix model, which identifies the five actors of the polycentric governance. Full article here.
  • Poolism: sharing economy vs. pooling economy (LabGov website, 2015). Sharing economy builds on new or revived social patterns having important business, legal and institutional implications: the social practices of sharing and collaboration. They both build on the well known social practice of co-operation.
    Full article here.
  • The Co-City (American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 2015).
    This paper introduces an innovative, experimental, adaptive, and iterative approach to creating legal and institutional frameworks based on urban polycentric governance to foster collaborative urban planning. Full article here.
  • The Collaborative and Polycentric Governance of the Urban and Local Commons (Urban Pamphleteer #5, 2015), together with Paola Cannavò. “Institutions, designed in a historical era in which the government handed out basic services to citizens, are nowadays required to design new types of services in collaboration with citizens. In order to define better forms of urban and local governance, it’s necessary to study and elaborate a new paradigm, to find new theories, policies and development models”. Full article here.
  • Governing the Urban Commons (Italian Journal of Public Law, 2015).
    The purpose of this paper is to investigate a fundamental question relating to institutional design in the public sector. After two centuries of Leviathan-like public institutions or Welfare State, do we still need full delegation of every public responsibility and/or exclusive monopoly of the power to manage public affairs? Full article here.
  • La collaborazione civica per l’amministrazione, la governance e l’economia dei beni comuni (L’età della condivisione, 2015).
    “In Italia i beni comuni sono ormai entrati nel lessico quotidiano. Il rischio è che «beni comuni» diventi un’espressione di senso comune, ma priva di effettivo valore semantico e, soprattutto, di rigore scientifico: casella vuota che chiunque si senta legittimato a riempire con qualunque significato”. Full article here.
  • Città e Beni Comuni (L’Italia dei Beni Comuni, 2012).
    “Dove va una persona se vive in una città, non ha la fortuna di possedere un giardino e sente il bisogno di immergersi in un ambiente naturale, usufruire di tutti i servizi che uno spazio verde può fornire come correre, leggere un libro su un prato all’aria aperta, respirare aria mediamente più pulita?”. Full article here.
  • The Tragedy of Urban Roads: Saving Cities from Choking, Calling on Citizens to Combat Climate Change (Fordham Urban Law Journal, 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.
    Full article here.
  • Local Public Entrepreneurship and Judicial Intervention in a Euro-American and Global Perspective (Washington University Global Studies Law Review, 2008). “Local public entrepreneurship encompasses a variety of activities carried out by local governments designed to foster local economic development. This article presents local public entrepreneurship as a windfall of the right to local self-government”. Full article here.

A complete list of his publications is available here.


Recent articles and interviews:


The City as a Commons, by Sheila Foster and Christian Iaione

The City as a Commons” is an article written by LabGov coordinator, professor Christian Iaione, together with Sheila Foster, and it was published in 2016 on the Yale Law and Policy Review

As rapid urbanization intensifies around the world, so do contestations over how city space is utilized and for whose benefit urban revitalization is undertaken. The most prominent sites of this contestation are efforts by city residents to claim important urban goods – open squares, parks, abandoned or underutilized buildings, vacant lots, cultural institutions, streets and other urban infrastructure – as collective, or shared, resources of urban communities. The assertion of a common stake or interest in resources shared with others is a way of resisting the privatization and/or commodification of these resources. We situate these claims within an emerging “urban commons” framework embraced by progressive reformers and scholars across multiple disciplines. The urban commons framework has the potential to provide a discourse, and set of tools, for the development of revitalized and inclusive cities. Yet, scholars have failed to fully develop the concept of the “urban commons,” limiting its utility to policymakers. In this article, we offer a pluralistic account of the urban commons, including the idea of the city itself as a commons. We find that, as a descriptive matter, the characteristics of some shared urban resources mimic open-access, depletable resources that require a governance or management regime to protect them in a congested and rivalrous urban environment. For other kinds of resources in dispute, the language and framework of the commons operates as a normative claim to open up access of an otherwise closed or limited access good. This latter claim resonates with the social obligation norm in property law identified by progressive property scholars and reflected in some doctrines which recognize that private ownership rights must sometimes yield to the common good or community interest. Ultimately, however, the urban commons framework is more than a legal tool to make proprietary claims on particular urban goods and resources. Rather, we argue that the utility of the commons framework is to raise the question of how best to manage, or govern, shared or common resources. The literature on the commons suggests alternatives beyond privatization of common resources or monopolistic public regulatory control over them. We propose that the collaborative and polycentric governance strategies already being employed to manage some natural and urban common resources can be scaled up to the city level to guide decisions about how city space and common goods are used, who has access to them, and how they are shared among a diverse population. We explore what it might look like to manage the city as a commons by describing two evolving models of what we call “urban collaborative governance”: the sharing city and the collaborative city.

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