Urban Clinic LabGov EDU 2019 – III workshop and co-working

Urban Clinic LabGov EDU 2019 – III workshop and co-working

Save the date: on 15th and 16th March will take place the third weekend of the EDU@LabGov Urban Clinic in Luiss Guido Carli University!

Friday 15th March from 16pm to 18pm in the Luiss Campus, we will host a lecture of professor Christian Iaione about Urban Law and Policy, and we will hear the testimony of lawyer Nico Maravia from law firm Pavia & Ansaldo and of the dr. Paola Marzi from the Municipality of Rome, who will speak about the Regulation on the urban gardens that she wrote for the Municipality of Rome.

Saturday 16th march from 10am to 17pm, will be held the third session of co-working. It will be divided into two part. First, we will hear Pasquale Tedesco’s experience: he is an expert in environmental sustainability, sustainable and synergic agriculture and in the field of urban and social gardens. In the second part of co-working the EDU LabGov team, thanks to the guide of Chiara De Angelis and Daniela Patti, we will speak about the process of design focusing on the user journey maps. In this way, the LabGovers will analyze all the passages of their project, they will answer to the needs of the ‘personas’ (the users object of their project) and they will define the various sections and the categories of contents of the platform that they are developing.

The next meetings are very important in order to complete and improve the idea that it is taking form more and more.

Stay Tuned!

Urban Clinic LabGov EDU 2019 – I Community Gardening

Urban Clinic LabGov EDU 2019 – I Community Gardening

The process of the Edu@LabGov Urban Clinic’s action on the city/university territory continues with the Community Gardening session which took place last Saturday the 9th of March 2019 in the LUISS Community Garden from 10 am to 12 am.

Labgovers, at first divided into three groups, started working to the construction of three prototypes of their project, using waste/recycled. Following the project’s idea elaborated during the Co-Working sessions in class, and also thanks to the advices of agronomist and botanist, dr. Barbara Invernizzi, the students completed the structure with fruitful outcomes.

These two hours of Community Gardening represented the starting point of a process of collaborative action which aims to concretize the principles of sustainability and circular economy which are central for the Urban Clinic. Nevertheless, the self-construction Lab is still a fundamental collaboration-gym to understand the importance of respecting the timeline in a project.

The project is not over yet: others two meetings are scheduled in the LUISS Community Garden, one for the 23th of March and one for the 27th of April.

Stay tuned!

Gli appuntamenti della Clinica Urbana EDU@LabGov continuano con la seconda sessione di Community Gardening che si è svolta lo scorso sabato 9 marzo 2019, presso l’#OrtoLUISS, dalle 10:00 alle 12:00.

I LabGovers, dapprima suddivisi in tre gruppi, hanno iniziato a lavorare alla realizzazione di tre prototipi creati attraverso il riuso di materiali destinati allo scarto. Seguendo l’idea progettuale frutto delle sessioni di Co-Working in aula, ed i consigli dell’agronoma e botanica Barbara Invernizzi, gli studenti hanno completato lo scheletro della struttura con ottimi risultati. 

I principi della collaborazione, la sostenibilità e l’economia circolare giocano un ruolo cardine negli appuntamenti di community Gardening nell’orto universitario della Luiss. Il laboratorio di autocostruzione (che si svolge in parte degli appuntamenti di Community Gardening) continua ad essere una palestra di collaborazione essenziale anche per comprendere l’importanza del saper rispettare i tempi di una progettualità (allenando alla lentezza), e al fine di raggiungere obiettivi comuni.

Il lavoro giungerà a conclusione nel giro delle due prossime sessioni di Community Gardening, previste per il 23 marzo e il 27 aprile.

Restate Connessi!

Workshop on ‘Local Communities and Social Innovation for the Energy Transition’ November 22-23

Workshop on ‘Local Communities and Social Innovation for the Energy Transition’ November 22-23

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”.

Climate Change and Environmental Risk in the City

Climate Change and Environmental Risk in the City

Environmental issues are becoming more and more a key challenge for cities around the world. C40 shows that “70% of cities are already dealing with the effects of climate change”. Cities have played a significant role in accelerating risks because of the continuous and unlimited urban growth we have witnessed in the past years. They are becoming bigger and bigger, creating over 70% of global CO2 emissions, and consuming ⅔ of the world’s energy. A striking C40 data warns us of the catastrophic effects that climate change can have on urban societies in the future: “Over 90% of all urban areas are coastal, putting most cities on Earth at risk of flooding from rising sea levels and powerful storms”.

What are the consequences of these environmental risks for the future of our cities? How to manage it? What solutions can we find?

In order to avoid any simplistic explanation on a topic of such importance and complexity, we ought to make clarity on the real terms of the discussion. What is risk and how do we define it?

Ulrich Beck sees a different and more obscure dimension to development; a “risk society” based on an acute awareness of risks and loss of faith in progress.
Even more interesting, is how this reflexive modernity embodies the exegesis of the progressive disillusion with institutional and traditional politics. According to Beck this detachment from traditional rhetorics produces a “sub-politics”, concerned with issues such as consumption and lifestyle.
Following this post-modern flavor, Beck concentrated initially on environmental issues such as the problematization of energy. Unlike goods, these “bads” could not be subject to a politics of distribution. The smog produced by domestic coal-burning, affected everyone. Because of this “egalitarian” redistributive effect, environmental hazards constitute an undiscriminated threat for everyone.

Natural hazards and disaster produce increasing catastrophes in cities (just see what has blown up Italy in the last few days!). That does not mean that other kinds of hazards are incapable of producing urban catastrophes. The answer is that natural hazards are joint products of nature and society. Unlike the other threats just mentioned, they are only partly created by humans; thus their unpredictable nature contributes to an incremental and general insecurity.

Since the industrial revolution cities are risk-producers and risk-bearers, both victims and executioners. Economic activity, sprawl and proximity have caused cities to become less and less sustainable; in particular we can infer a negative correlation between economic productivity and sustainability. Take a city-state as Singapore for example; in 1965 it was a polluter’s paradise: mucky rivers, polluted canals and raw sewage running rampant. A modern “Coke Town”. Per contra, things are changing because of the efforts of enlightened personalities. The city’s pioneer generation understood that if you make a city “a nice place to live, then people will come and invest.” Lee Kuan Yew became often called ‘Chief Gardener’ for his belief in the power of plants and biodiversity to transform people’s overall mental well-being, as well as physical spaces. Huge plants crawling up skyscrapers, natural parks and water sanitation measures (just to clean-up Singapore’s river took around 10 years!) represent a significant step towards global future objectives.

The renowned 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development addresses global challenges such as poverty, inequality but also climate and environmental degradation Nevertheless, 12 years seem to be not enough to face multifarious issues. Concerns have been raised too by the ASviS (Alleanza Italiana per lo Sviluppo Sostenibile). In the recently issued report, the association expressed its concern with respect to the “too slow” progress towards the SDGs, both for Italy and the European Union, which should present a framework of policies by the end of the year.

The 7th Environment Action Program (EAP) constitutes for the moment, the legislative and guiding framework to work on, identifying key objectives such as the protection of natural capital; the transformation towards a resource-efficient, low-carbon economy; and to safeguard Union’s citizens fro environment-related pressures.

 

 

Therefore, we should prepare our institutions and environmental management strategies for the twenty-first century, especially in the mega-cities that will likely become the pivots of global society. Worth mentioning is what 100 Resilient Cities does and aims to; pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation, their ultimate objective is to help cities to become more resilient to the physical, social and economic challenges – earthquakes, floods, sprawl, etc. – of the XXI century. Their philosophy is that, addressing both the shocks and the stresses, a city becomes more able to respond to adverse events, and is overall better able to deliver basic functions in both good times and bad, to all populations.

Thus, can we meet the basic needs—food, water, and energy—of a growing population and a growing economy and do better for biodiversity by 2030? If each country shows an increasing commitment towards environmental risk management, the answer will be probably an affirmative one. As James Mitchell has observed, failure to recognize natural hazards as a worsening urban problem suggests a myopic view of urban management and signals flaws in the conceptualization of sustainable development as a principle of urban management. It is to be hoped that efforts will be canalized into correcting the structural deficiencies peculiar of our risk society.

Addressing bottom-linked governance and citizenship through Living Street in the City of Ghent

Addressing bottom-linked governance and citizenship through Living Street in the City of Ghent

In 2010 the City of Ghent, together with other four cities – Aberdeen, Rotterdam, Montreuil, Ludwigsburg – engaged in the European project Music, aimed at catalyzing and mainstreaming carbon and energy reduction in urban policies, activities and the build environment. The project represented an opportunity for decisive local actions to address sustainability challenges. In particular, the City of Ghent pointed at becoming a climate-neutral city. To implement the project, the City gathered around twenty people of Ghent society, who were involved or interested in topics such as pollution, sustainability, urban livability, though in different ways and with different roles. After the first meeting the civil servants in charge of conducting the brainstorming within the group realized that the topics mentioned above were not cause of concerns, while mobility and the way through which urban streets get used by their inhabitants were fundamental in the conception of a livable city. Addressing these topics, indeed, the group found the inspiration to think about different possibilities to approach urban space, reducing parking slots and car access to streets, implementing socialization spaces and outdoor activities. Therefore, new ideas and proposals were presented at the final event of Music, with the hope to see them realized, but the reaction of the City and its representatives was cold and doubtful for a lack of resources and for the proximity to municipal elections.

Therefore, the group of frontrunners decided to set up the organization Lab Van Troje, in order to try out one of their proposals using their own resources and their own energies. The chosen idea was Living Street – Leefstraat in Dutch – with the aim to turn Ghent into a sustainable, liveable and climate-neutral region. Concretely this was translated into planning a different way to live the street of residence for few months: the street was closed, usually during the summer months, reducing the area dedicated to the traffic and the parking but increasing the green areas and creating spaces for socialization activities.

Living Street in Maurice Verdoncklaan, Ghent. Source: interviewed resident.

One of the fundamental aspects of Living Street is the voluntary engagement in the project. The first group of frontrunners gathered by the City accepted to meet and to spend time on the issue for free; as well the citizens were involved only if they were interested in the experiment. Lab Van Troje, indeed, never opens applications or contacts anyone, it just receives the request of citizens. The latter, after a first informative meeting, are asked to ring the bell of all their neighbours collecting dreams and fears related to the street, on basis of which a plan is projected and then proposed again to every resident. If everyone agrees, hence, it is possible to organize the activities to create the Living Street. As the website reports, Living Street functions as a common project and a learning-by-doing process. Citizens, indeed, have to communicate, collaborate and interact with many different actors living and experiencing urban spaces daily. Both the implementation of the idea and the concrete realization of the Living Street become processes of commoning[1], as the practice of the creation, preservation, and use of commons is called.

Citizens working for the realization of structures to install in Kozijntjesstraat, Ghent. Source: interviewed resident.

The activity duration of Lab Van Troje has been settled for five years until 2017, hoping in the meantime to spread its insights into Living Street to the current system of residential street design. In total 50 Living Streets have been experimented from 2012 to 2016, with an increasing involvement of the City of Ghent, that acted more as a spectator in the beginning, while it took part into the project as an active partner in the last few editions. Considering the imminent end of Lab Van Troje, in 2017 the latter and the City of Ghent collaborate for the transition of Living Street under the guide of the City. The Meeting and Engaging Department has been appointed to continue building on the experiment by creating a new Living Street 2.0 project. The intention is to try out the experience implemented by Living Street in different environments or situations, by involving partners with diverse roles and functions and focusing also on the social aspects of urban life. One of Lab Van Troje’s volunteers has been hired by the Department, together with another dedicated civil servant, in order to give continuity to the project. Moreover, citizens who already implemented Living Street in their streets are involved in the transition from Lab Van Troje to the City, during a completely accountable process used to explaining them the reasons of the change and to collect by them past experiences of the experiment, suggestions and ideas for the future, and expectations towards the City.

Taking a look at the type of actors involved from the beginning – UE, City of Ghent, Lab Van Troje, research institutes, private companies, citizens – it is notable that the project crossed many different levels, depicting the concept of multi-level governance. In this particular case, I believe it is possible to use the notion of bottom-linked governance, achieved when bottom-up initiatives combine with top-down policies, including alternative mechanisms of negotiation between various groups and networks, potentially empowering local government and embracing alternative creative strategies[2]. I add, though, that the subdivision of society in top-down and bottom-up actors is not sufficient anymore to explain the current complexity and therefore it needs to be substituted by another representation. A complementary and parallel process can be identified in the conception of citizenship: in the last twenty years, debates about the re-scaling of individual rights and duties at transnational[3] or local levels[4] different from the nation-state level, have increasingly arisen; connected with the movement of the right to the city[5], also the vision of citizens claiming actively rights and responsibilities is more acknowledged. However, I argue that neither an idea of citizenship received as a “package” from the State or an idea of citizenship achieved by citizens as consequence of their activation in the making of the city[6] are fully satisfactory. Citizenship is, nowadays, a set of rights/duties co-shaped by different actors, tracing various dynamics at multiple scales to obtain or to concede benefits and responsibilities in the public arena. Thus, it is necessary to find a model that, always maintaining the idea of peer actors, interacting on horizontal basis, with principles of subsidiarity and accountability, in a reflexive and dynamic process, can better help in representing both this type of governance and this perception of citizenship.

 

 

L’articolo riflette su processi di governance urbana e sulle trasformazioni riguardanti il concetto di cittadinanza attraverso il progetto Living Street, implementato dal 2010 ad oggi nella città di Ghent, Belgio. Principale scopo del progetto è trovare soluzioni innovative al fine di rendere la città maggiormente vivibile da un punto di vista socio-ecologico. Dopo aver descritto lo sviluppo del progetto come pratica di commoning, viene sottolineata la necessità di andare oltre sia la ripartizione, ormai inadeguata, tra attori bottom-up e top-down sia l’idea di cittadinanza concessa dallo Stato o ottenuta attivamente dai cittadini. È indispensabile, infatti, trovare un nuovo modello che descriva la complessità attuale delle dinamiche sociali e la diversità degli attori che ne prendono parte.

 

References:

[1] Linebaugh P. 2008, The Magna Carta Manifesto. Liberties and Commons for all, London: University of California Press.

[2] Eizaguirre S, Pradel M., Terrones A., Matinez-Celorrio X., Garcìa M., 2012, Multilevel Governance and Social Cohesion: Bringing Back Conflict in Citizenship Practice, Urban Studies, 49(9), 1999-2016.

[3] Isin, E., 1997, Who is the new citizen? Toward a genealogy, Citizenship Studies, 1, 115–132; Sassen S., 2000, The global city: strategic site/new frontier, in: E. Isin, Ed. Democracy, Citizenship and the Global City, New York: Routledge;

[4] Baubock R., 2003, Reinventing urban citizenship, Citizenship Studies, 7, 139–160; Smith M. P., McQuarrie M. Eds. 2012, Remaking Urban Citizenship. Organizations, Institutions and the Right to the City, London: Transaction Publisher.

[5] Lefebvre H., 1996, Writing on Cities, Cambridge (MA): Blackwell; Harvey D., 2003, The Right to the City, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 27(4), 939-941; Purcell M., 2003, Citizenship and the Right to the Global City: Reimagining the Capitalist World Order, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 27(3), 564-590.

[6] Dahlgren P., 2006, Doing Citizenship. The Cultural Origin of Civic Agency in the Public Sphere. European Journal of Cultural Studies, 9(3), 267-286.