Save the date: on 29th and 30th March will take place the fourth module of the Urban Clinic EDU@LabGov in Luiss Guido Carli University. This fourth module is mainly dedicated to ‘Urban Experimentalism’!
On Friday 29th March the workshop will take place in the classroom 305b from 16pm to 18pm in the Luiss Campus.
The Urban Clinic will host dr. Daniela Patti, expert in the urban regeneration and in the collaborative planning and co-founder and manager of Eutropian.org Research & Action (http://eutropian.org/). She will talk about cooperation in cities and successful examples of civic cooperation. In the second part of the workshop, Labgovers will listen to prof. Lorenzo Maria Donini, expert in nutritional principles and food science from La Sapienza University. This will represent an important step in the development of the digital platform that Labgovers have designed in order to raise awareness towards the importance of food, sport and agriculture for individual and collective well-being.
On Saturday 30th March from 10 am to 17 pm in room 310 of the Luiss roman Campus will take place the fourth co-working session. The Urban Clinic will host Vincenzo Maria Capelli, agricultural entrepreneur of the gardens and boating champion from Confagricoltura. He will talk to the Labgovers about his professional experience and the connection between urban agriculture, sport, entrepreneurship. The co-working session will be moderated from Alexander Piperno, PhD Luiss in economics and from the team of EDU@LabGov to support the students in order to add new wedges to the idea that they are developing and to strengthen the sustainability model.
the date: next Saturday, 9th March we will host the first EDU@LabGov
community gardening session in Luiss Community Garden from 10 am to 12am.
LabGovers will work with recycled materials in order to build a prototype that
they will install in Luiss and in the city of Rome. If you are interested in
following their work, follow our official social network!
the community gardening session, the LabGovers will put into practice what they are learning during the forms in the classroom
therefore it will represent ahead important footstep in the realization of
The assisted gardening is not only a didactic
moment but an activity of practical collaborative among the boundaries of the University
Luiss Guido Carli, that then the students will experiment on the field in the
city of Rome.
Save the date: Sabato 9 marzo si terrà
il primo community gardening della Clinica Urbana EDU@LabGov presso l’#OrtoLuiss
dalle 10:00 alle 12:00.
Durante la sessione di community
gardening i LabGovers, divisi dapprima in quattro gruppi sulle diverse aree di
lavoro, dovranno presentare i dati raccolti nel corso della settimana e
iniziare a dar forma al loro progetto. Inizieranno quindi un laboratorio di
auto-costruzione che, tramite l’utilizzo di materiali riciclati, li porterà a
realizzare un prototipo che installeranno nella città di Roma. Se volete
saperne di più rimanete connessi ai nostri account social ufficiali quel
è mettere in pratica ciò che gli studenti stanno apprendendo durante i moduli
in aula, quindi rappresenterà un importante passo avanti nella realizzazione
della loro idea.
Il gardening assistito non è solo un
momento didattico ma un’attività di pratica collaborativa tra le mura
dell’Università Luiss Guido Carli, che poi gli studenti sperimenteranno sul
campo nella città di Roma.
Today June 7th, a small event, highly symbolic however for all of Europe’s historic centres being turned into Disneylands for tourism, will take place in Florence, when the children of the Oltrarno district will plant forty rhizomes of iris about one hundred metres from the Brancacci Chapel, where Masaccio unwittingly unleashed the Renaissance (and also painted an extraordinary allegory of the Commons).
Whatever is bureaucratic and artificial, is easy to understand. Whatever is real is unique and complex, so it will take some explaining, but the fun lies precisely in putting the strands together.
The first strand lies just behind the Carmine church, in Florence’s Oltrarno district: a garden hidden behind a high wall called the “Nidiaci”, a gift by the American Red Cross, in 1920 to the children of what was then the poorest district of the city, riddled with TBC and crime, yet the scene of extraordinary human passions and solidarity.
Today the inhabitants of the centre of Florence are being driven out by an Airbnb economy based on evictions, empty houses, craftsmen overwhelmed by taxes losing their workplaces to pubs.
Flats are filled by people who have no contact with the area they sleep in for a night or two, while bartenders and cooks – largely from remote parts of the world – commute every night for miles, to reach their zoned homes, leaving a trail of burnt fossil fuel behind them.
Metaphorically, we could say that a certain number of Florentines make money by gluing their ancestors’ bones to clothes hangers and putting them up in their shop windows. As an exceptionally kind hearted landowner put it to a single mother and her child before evicting them, “I’m so sorry, but if you leave, I can earn 90 euros a night from this flat!”
To make way for tourists yearning to see the “Oltrarno, district of craftsmen”, the last shoemaker was evicted too: he held out bravely for several months in his tiny shop, with no running water, before finally leaving the city.
The hidden Nidiaci garden has become a rallying point for old and new residents – Florentine carpenters and bakers alongside Macedonian hotel cleaners, Egyptian pizza cooks and Irish artists – who keep it open as a Commons: arts, music, crafts, a vegetable garden, a football school, set up by the legendary Lebowski team (the only soccer club owned by fans in Italy) and guided tours for local children, to remind them that they are the guardians of the rich history of Florence, wherever their parents may have been born.
Children’s concert at the Nidiaci
The second strand concerns the name of Florence, supposedly derived from the Latin flos, “flower”: a city founded, according to legend, during the Roman festival of Floralia, an image which immediately brings to mind Flora in Botticelli’s Primavera, so beautifully thinned out in Evelyn De Morgan’s painting Flora, sold to a Scottish patron.
Evelyn De Morgan, Flora
On the bottom right of the painting, the small tag, written in rhymed medieval Italian, says,
“I come down from Florence and am Flora,
This city takes its name from flower
Among the flowers I was born and now by a change of home
I have my dwelling among the mountains of Scotia
Welcome me, and let my treasure amid northern mists be dear to you.”
The heraldic symbol of the city-state of Florence, since before Dante, has always been the fleur-de-lys, as it appears on the town banners. Here you can see it in one of those ambiguous events where true Florentines wear, with enormous commitment, authentically fake Renaissance costumes, partly to attract tourists, but mainly because they have a tremendous desire to express a deeply felt identity.
People all over Italy do similar things, like the Chivalry Joust of Sulmona, which has no spectators because nearly everybody in town is an actor and nobody knows where Sulmona is.
The fleur-de-lys of Florence is actually an iris, the humble giaggiolowhich until not so many years ago used to grow everywhere along the banks of the Arno, but has now nearly disappeared.
Next to Piazzale Michelangelo, where tourists enjoy a splendid view over the city, there is another little known garden, kept open only a few weeks a year by a group of enthusiasts and dedicated exclusively to the iris.
The third strand is the University of Florence, where Professor Stefano Mancuso has opened a new field of research, that of plant sensitivity, establishing the International Laboratory of Plant Neurobiology.
Mancuso is also the inventor of the fascinating and somewhat frightening Jellyfish Barge, a kind of Noah’s Ark to help us survive the Anthropocene we have created.
Right now, probably the most prominent cultural event in town is an unlikely experiment set up by Mancuso and a German artist, in the courtyard of the Renaissance Palazzo Strozzi, on the relations between plant and human psychology.
The Florence Experiment is a research project where visitors slide down a structure from a height of 20 metres; their emotional reactions will be recorded and compared with those of plants to examine the empathetic possibilities between humans and plant organisms.
The issue of relations between plants and us, is of course enormous, quite simply because without plants, we would cease to exist; and our future therefore depends on how we relate to them.
This takes us to the fourth strand. Professor Mancuso has launched an interdisciplinary master’s degree, called “Plant Future” – Futuro Vegetale, – bringing together scholars from very different fields (biology, sociology, architecture, political science) who are seeking a way out of the suicidal course we are currently engaged in.
Then there is the fifth strand, Florence’s Calcio fiorentino, a no-holds-barred form of football developed in Florence in Renaissance times, played between the four historic districts of the old part of Florence,
Though it is a rediscovered tradition (dating back to the 1930s), it is firmly rooted in local culture, and is the strongest source of identity of the Oltrarno district, which is of the “White” colour, and where a hardy group of unpaid bar keepers, electricians and carpenters risk their lives every year for this match dedicated to Saint John, the city patron.
The official matches are a municipal institution, so fans and players have set up an independent organisation, recreating the fourteenth-century fraternity of the “Whites”, the Compagnia dei Bianchi, one of the countless lively community organisations of medieval Italy, to develop local solidarity and help the countless people whose very survival is in doubt in these hard times.
The scholars of Plant Future decided that the most symbolic place in all Florence to launch a new idea of how to found a city was the Nidiaci garden, its plants, trees and human community.
The first irises would be there, then they would be gradually planted wherever people took care of community gardens.
So they went to the Iris Garden, where the organisers immediately understood, and gave forty of their best rhizomes, kept for international competitions, to plant in the Nidiaci, recreating the original Florentia or flowering.
The minute beginning of a renewal of a whole city, based on commoning.
The Plant Future scholars came over to visit the garden.
An Albanian mother, who sells shirts in the market at San Lorenzo and teaches the children how to grow tomatoes and melons in the Nidiaci garden, decided where the rhizomes should be planted.
Then the organisers got in touch with the Compagnia dei Bianchi, because it was fundamental for them to be present in such a special moment.
All of this is very small, and very concentrated.
And smallness, and concentration, is exactly what we all need.
The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Conference Program hosted a retreat: “Accelerating Citywide Civic Entrepreneurship: An Exercise in the Co-City Approach” from December 11-15, 2017. The retreat is hosted by the LABoratory for the GOVernance of the Commons (“LabGov“), with the aim of providing a first methodological trans-geographical test of the Co-City algorithm, a new mode of civic entrepreneurship that empowers the public, private, and social sectors to govern urban commons collaboratively for the public good and better meet the needs of city residents through an experimentalist approach.
The retreat brought together leaders in urban innovation and civic entrepreneurship, with representatives from the City of Amsterdam (the Netherlands; urban innovation officer); the city of Barcelona (Regidoria de Participaciò i territorio) the City of Boulder (Colorado,Chief Resilience Officer (CRO); the city of Turin (Italy, the Co-City project funded by the EU Urban Innovative Action program as part of the Regional Development Fund); the city of Madison (Wisconsin, which dedicated capital funds to support a worker cooperative development initiative aimed at supporting people of color and others with barriers to formal employment to create worker cooperative businesses); the City of New York (NY, NYCx Co-labs program of the Mayor’s office of New York City, participating via Skype); Habitat International Coalition; the National Association of Italian Cities (ANCI) as National Contact Point of the EU Urbact program; Cooperation Jackson (network of cooperatives and worker-owned enterprises; Archiafrika (NGO based in Accra, Ghana, that promotes both the built and cultural spaces on the African continent and aims at contributing to the understanding and development of design within the continent and encourage the investigation and education of African architectural history); the German Marshall Fund of the United States (the Urban and Regional Policy Unit); the Brookings Institution ( the Project on 21st Century City Governance); the Laboratory for the City, Laboratorio para la Ciudad (experimental arm and creative think tank of the Mexico City government); SPUR (an NGO operating in the San Francisco Bay area). The retreat was facilitated and co-chaired by Alicia Bonner Ness, Sheila Foster and Christian Iaione.
During the five days in Bellagio, the participants were introduced to the last research output of LabGov, the Co-City process/cycle and the five design principles developed by Sheila Foster and Christian Iaione for the design and implementation of a co-city. The participants were involved in a simulation of the Co-City process and engaged in an exchange of experiences and mutual learning exercises. As recalled by Simone D’Antonio1 in a recent article on the Rockefeller LabGov Bellagio retreat, the fruittul exchange of experiences showed the variety and richness of approached embraced by cities in different parts of the world to develop an innovative way of implementing urban governance; from the case of Turin, which through the Co-City project funded by the EU program UIA is experimenting with urban commons as a platform to tackle the issue of urban poverty, to the case of Mexico City where representatives of different urban stakeholders such as representatives of creative economy and urban planners are coming together to contribute to the re-design or the city or the city of Wisconsin, which which dedicated capital funds to support a worker cooperative development initiative aimed at supporting people of color and others with barriers to formal employment to create worker cooperative businesses, or the experience of international public institutions such as UN Habitat with the Safer cities program, launched in 1996 at the request of African Mayors seeking to tackle urban crime and violence in their cities and has evolved towards time is an integrated, multi-level government and multi-sectoral approach to improving the livability of cities and quality of urban life.
The aim of the Rockefeller Bellagio Retreat organized by LabGov was to gather representatives of different actors of what was called the Quintuple Helix governance of urban innovation at the global level in order to explore potential applications of the Co-city/city as a commons 2 model to co-create and sustain more just and inclusive cities. Among the potential outputs of a global experimental application of the Co-City process is the development a set of tools to design urban justice and democracy and thereby also measure the implementation of some of the New Urban Agenda goals, such as those i 13 and 91, or the Sustainable development goals (SDGs) 16 and 17, in particular the subgoal 16.7, 17.17 and 17.19.
L’algoritmo #CoCity è stato sottoposto a un primo test metodologico trans-nazionale nell’ambito del Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Retreat organizzato da LabGov dall’11 al 15 Dicembre 2017 “Accelerating Citywide Civic Entrepreneurship: An Exercise in the Co-City Approach”. Nel corso del retreat rappresentanti di città americane, africane, europee e latino americane, movimenti sociali, grandi società tech e ONG pubbliche internazionali si sono confrontate e sono state coinvolte in una simulazione del protocollo Co-City per discutere insieme di soluzioni collaborative per affrontare le nuove sfide delle città nel mondo.
Christian Iaione, LabGov Faculty Director, published a new study “The Right To the Co-city” on the Italian Journal of Public Law, Volume 9, Issue 1, 2017, p. 80.
This study is an effort to contribute to the current urban studies debate on the way to conceptualize the city by advancing a rights-based approach and to suggest that to build such vision one needs to reconceive the city as a commons, which is to say that the city serves as an infrastructure enabling the “pooling” of city inhabitants actions, energies, resources and the cooperation between city inhabitants and other four urban actors thereby embedding a “quintuple helix” or “pentahelix” approach in the governance design of the city. Part I articulates the most prominent visions or paradigms of the city of the 21st century and the “metaphors” that are currently used to conceptualize the city. From an interdisciplinary perspective, this part then discusses some complications and emerging key points that deserve further reflection. In Part II, the article argues that a rights-based paradigm or vision in the conceptualization of the city is emerging. It does so through the analysis of urban laws and policies adopted in exemplary case studies such as Naples and Barcelona, on one side, and Bologna and Turin, on the other side. Two main rights-based approaches seem to emerge: the rebel city model and the co-city model. In Part III, to better define this fourth urban paradigm and in particular the second approach, a focus on the key concept of commons and a review of the main bodies of literature is provided which are key to carve out the concept of “pooling” as a form of cooperation that encompasses both sharing of congestible resources to avoid scarcity and collaboration around non congestible, constructed resources to generate abundance. Building on the existing literature of a particular subset of studies on infrastructure commons, the concept of pooling is extracted from the observation of how pooling as a demand-side strategy can both expand or leverage the idle “capacity” of an infrastructure to avoid congestion and at the same time generate abundance. Pooling is particular effective in explaining the main features of a peculiar vision of the rights-based city, the co-city approach, ultimately envisioning the city as an enabling infrastructure for social and economic pooling. Part IV offers concluding remarks and proposes the idea of the “right to the co-city” to build a body of urban law and policies advancing “urban rights to pooling” as a key legal tool to structure a commons-oriented interpretation of the fourth vision of the city, the rights-based approach.