Urban Clinic LabGov EDU 2019 1st community gardening session

Urban Clinic LabGov EDU 2019 1st community gardening session

Save 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.

The 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!

During 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 their project.

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.

Stay tuned!

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 giorno!

L’obiettivo 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.

Restate Connessi!

Assets confiscation to combat organized criminality

Assets confiscation to combat organized criminality

Nowadays, we are witnessing an ever-changing[1] evolution of ordinary citizens’ position. Individuals and groups are no longer mere beneficiaries of administrative acts and procedures but – in a way – parts of them. In this very context, the regeneration of urban commons can be located, not only in renewal purposes, but as well in the involvement of city inhabitants. More specifically, urban regeneration is described[2] as «the recycling, transformation and innovation process of urban commons», contributing to promoting “urban creativity”, with the aim of ensuring and improving quality and accessibility.

Particularly, this writing wants to tackle the problem of “final use” of confiscated urban assets which are in a state of disrepair and neglect.

Before getting into the issue in question, it is necessary to clarify the meaning of confisca and “urban commons”.

In the Italian legal system, the antimafia confisca is a preventative property measure, introduced in 1965 and currently regulated by the so called Antimafia Code[3].

According to code provisions, in order to apply antimafia confisca two elements are required.

Starting from the subjective element, the individual who acquires the relevant asset must be recognized as “socially dangerous” at the moment of acquisition, irrespective of whether such status ceases or the person dies.

There are two objective elements: direct or indirect accessibility by the individual to the asset and existence of sufficient evidence in relation to the unlawful origin of the confiscated asset (such as the disproportion between the asset’s value and the income declared by the individual for tax purposes, as established by the legislator).

On the other hand, the “urban common assets” are generally defined[4] as «material, intangible and digital assets recognized by citizens and Public Administration as useful for individual and collective well-being.»

In the light of the foregoing, considering that confiscated assets are (usually) private assets which can be classified as “urban commons”, ordinary citizens’ involvement to administrative acts can be applied and procedures can play a role.

Pursuant to what discussed above, if it is true that private assets (both real estate and companies) can be classified as “urban commons”, the question is: Is it possible to apply the same art. 190, Codice dei contratti pubblici to confiscated assets so that they could be subject to the contract on social partnership and its procedure?

Art. 190, Codice dei contratti pubblici[5], introduced in the Italian legal system the so-called contract on social partnership, whose criteria and conditions can be defined by local authorities «on the basis of projects presented by individuals or groups as long as with regard to a specific territorial scope.»[6]

As clarified also by Antonella Manzione[7], the contract on social partnership provides for a call for tender where “a competition of ideas” occurs for the final use of common assets. It must be borne in mind, though, that this must happen within the limits established by the Italian Court of Auditors[8], which requires compliance with some elements previously identified by the local authority itself, such as the ratione personae scope.

More precisely, whereby there are “urban common assets” in a state of disrepair and neglect and the local authority intends to ensure their exploitation «through cultural initiatives, urban renewal, restoration and refurbishment for general interest objectives»,[9], it should issue a call for applications and then conclude the contract on social partnership.

Carlo Pezzullo


[1] In this connection, CHITI E., La rigenerazione di spazi e beni pubblici: una nuova funzione amministrativa?, in DI LASCIO F., GIGLIONI F., La rigenerazione di beni e spazi urbani. Contributi al diritto delle città, Il Mulino, Bologna, 2017.

[2] According to art. 2.1, Regolamento del Comune di Bologna.

[3] The d. lgs. 159/2011 as reformed by the Law 161/2017.

[4] According to art. 2.1, Regolamento del Comune di Bologna.

[5] The d. lgs. 50/2016, as revisited by d. lgs. 56/2017.

[6] Art. 190 Codice dei contratti pubblici.

[7] The Italian Consigliera di Stato Antonella Manzione, during a lesson at LUISS Guido Carli with Prof. Christian Iaione, 2018 nov. 20.  

[8] Court of Auditors, sez. reg. Emilia-Romagna, 2016 march 23, n. 27; sez. reg. Lombardia, 2016 sep. 6, n. 225. 

[9] Art. 190 Codice dei contratti pubblici.

House as a commons: from collaborative housing to community housing

House as a commons: from collaborative housing to community housing

Housing is one of the most serious urban issues: the Housing Europe 2015 Report described a dramatic situation marked by the lack of adequate housing, the increasing of social and housing polarization, phenomena of housing deprivation and  the reduction of affordability. In Italy, the last Federcasa-Nomisma report too has let emerge a difficult situation: the housing discomfort in 2014 involved 1.7 million households, touching both the Public Residential Building (ERP), and the non-ERP rentals. The social housing, even if able to offer leases lower than the market, cannot keep up with the growing demand; the Real Estate Funds System did not create enough accommodation to meet the housing demand. In addition, the last ISTAT report (2018) revealed the highest peak of absolute poverty since 2005, foreshadowing a possible increase of the housing emergency.

An important gathering to reflect about the Italian housing situation has been held in Matera (Basilicata) during the General Assembly of Federcasa[1], last June 27th -28th. A two-day conference introduced by a seminar event “House as a common. Public housing as a social infrastructure for urban regeneration and development”, organized by Federcasa in collaboration with LabGov – LUISS Guido Carli University and the ATER of Potenza and Matera. The event, with an international approach, was opened by the Federcasa President, Luca Talluri and moderated by the General Director, Antonio Cavaleri. It saw the presence of institutional actors and academic experts discuss the potentiality and critical issues of the new management and financing models for the public real estate. Among them also Professor Christian Iaione, which coordinated a recent research developed in collaboration with Federcasa to understand how to make the use of the existing housing stock more efficient and to investigate new models able to increase the availability of housing units and guarantee new ways of access.

The research “House as a Common: from collaborative to community housing”, presented during the conference and to be published in the next months, focuses on the analysis of new forms of living, currently under testing both in Italy and abroad, able to promote or facilitate initiatives of urban regeneration through processes of social, cognitive and technological innovation and to generate new forms of urban governance. In particular the national and European contexts, both in terms of legal systems and practices, analyzed in the report, have highlighted the relevance of new housing models in which the cooperation, sharing and collaboration are predominant. The report started from the Elinor Ostrom’s design principles, glimpsing in the cooperative and collaborative management model of living and in self-organized communities of residents an alternative way potentially able to give a new and effective answer to the housing problem. The Ostrom’s approach has been developed by Sheila Foster and Christian Iaione to adapt it to the urban context and the research used the five design principles identified by the two scholars through the field work of the “City as a Commons” approach to analyze the housing sector. Applying the Co-City approach to the housing sector means reading the current problematics through a different lens paving the way for the hypothesis that new housing models based on cooperation and collective forms of management can represent a concrete answer to the current housing shortage.

The research in particular analyzed and codified 73 Italian case studies, using the five design principles (urban co-governance, enabling state, economic and social pooling, experimentalism and tech justice) as empirical dimensions operationalized with qualitative indicators, taking inspiration from the Ostrom’s institutional analysis and from the Co-City database analysis, together with a hypothesis-generating and refining case studies methodology (Yin, 2014; Swanborn, 2010; Stake, 1995). In addition, an in-depth analysis through semi-structures interviews was made on 9 cases considered significant, extracted among those better able to show the main features and the dynamics to monitor under the Co-City protocol, and the main patterns emerged from the case selection.

In particular, in terms of co-governance, translating this Co-City reasoning at the housing level, allowed to retrace a three stages model: the simple building sharing (first degree of the co-governance gradient, sharing), collaboration or co-production of services operated by the actors involved in the housing project (second degree: collaboration) and co-management and co-ownership of the buildings by the actors involved (third degree: plycentrism). From the analysis emerged a tendency towards the polycentrism even if there are not completed forms of it. In Italy, in view of interesting experiences, they still situated at the first and second degree but allow to understand some crucial aspects: first of all how the implementation of complex levels of co-governance in the housing sector required to develop new multi-actors social partnerships forms (i.e. public-civic, public-private-civic, etc.) and an ecosystemic approach to realize the transition towards new forms of affordable housing. The role of the public actors (enabling state) appears as a key element that favors the success of the housing projects and the presence of economic and social pooling processes through collaboration enables positive externalities of public utility for the local community. In addition, the civic element seems to be a better guarantee in the creation of truly collaborative projects and the presence of the private actor can influence the development of the project especially in economic terms.

Nevertheless, there are some critical aspects underlined by the research: 1. A geographical imbalance in the distribution of the innovative experiences (the main innovative projects are located in the North and Central Italy, while the South still strive to find solutions in terms of housing affordability, the involvement of the public actor is still very marginal and the offer proposed by the active actors on the housing sector remains mainly private in nature); 2. Beneficiaries are mainly part of the so-called grey segment of population (people that cannot access to the traditional real estate market and not even to the public housing) and not the weakest; 3. Urban regeneration does not necessarily go through the re-circulation of disused public or private buildings; 4. With the Integrate Fund System often the public actors provide the land or the real estate but at the end the public resource benefits mainly the private actors and the fund becomes in this process a kind of privatization of the ERP system, hence the system should be rethought in order to avoid the risk to reproduce the same market fails of the public-private partnerships.

What emerges from the research is that the public support becomes more effective when combined with the private sector and the civic component in order to favor the shared use of the commons, maintain a high level of experimentalism, encourage the use of technological innovations and the spirit of collaboration. What is still missing is a widespread administrative favorable context, that is the enabler infrastructure required to spread these emerging models (Aernouts and Ryckewaert, 2017). Therefore implementing models that enhance the universalistic role of the public housing agencies considering the activation of multi-stakeholders partnership inside new co-governance models, could help to face the more dramatic situations and cover more segments of population looking for a housing solution (Aernouts and Ryckewaert, 2018).

From the analysis, the research identified the Community Land Trust[2] as the tool better able to reach the level of polycentrism, since it is a model of property cooperativism able to realize stable partnerships among the public institutions and the so-called “public as community” – inhabitants, civil society organizations, cognitive institutions). The CLT is a community-centered model that tends to connect the diverse autonomous centers of a city, foreseeing a property scheme; while the sharing and collaborative experiences observed in Italy are mainly based on the use and management of the housing property without opening to the wide community. The research suggests that in Italy this solution could be introduced experimenting the potentialities of legal forms such as the community cooperatives, the participatory foundations, and other forms of social partnership and administrative tools already existing in the Italian legal background. What is required is a contextual-based method applied through a preliminary experimental process inspired by the principle of the administrative self-organization of the local authorities and by the civic autonomy considering the specific variables of the urban social context and the institutional capacity. In this sense adopt an Advisory Board could be helpful to support the local governments and the agencies of public housings.

Besides the research “House as a commons: from collaborative to community housing” the conference saw the speeches also of other experts: Laura Fregolent from the IUAV University presented a research on Venice estimating the crisis impact on the housing sector and suggesting to rethink the city starting from a wide-ranging knowledge of the local contexts. Alice Pittini, research coordinator of Housing Europe, explained how the principles of self-management, empowerment and co-creation can be integrated in the housing theme. Joaquin the Santos from the CLT Brussels presented the Community Land Trust operating in Brussels.  Nestor Davidson, professor of law at the Fordham University, via skype call, explained how the American public housing works, going throw historical and political steps, stressing the concept of neighborhood effect, highlighting how the crisis is generating new housing models, talking about the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program, presenting some best practices such as the Common Property Funds or the New Yorker’s legislation to provide low-income citizens with access to counsel for wrongful evictions. In particular Nestor Davidson emphasized how the uncertainty of federal funding, as well as the political polarization, have led to social innovations and new models demonstrating that public and private can work together simply finding new tools to do it at best. Edoardo Reviglio from Cassa Depositi e Prestiti remembered the success of the old GESCAL founds and the importance to rethink the Piano Casa in order to consider the weakest segment of population.

Professor Iaione proposed some closing food for thought for the future:

  1. Knowledge: it’s important to note that a new social pact is already being re-established between those who manage the housing projects and those who live there and today there are already new solutions in the housing sector, hence we should start from the critical issues to understand how overcome them;
  2. Pluralism: the public actor is not alone, it can count on the communities and on a plurality of emerging solutions, actors and tools, from which the public houses should be reconceived as social infrastructures;
  3. Neighborhood effect: the housing agencies can be urban, but also social end economic, regeneration agents acting as engine of local development;
  4. Institutional capability: testing before and evaluating after, should be the guiding concepts before any concrete action or change in the normative frames.

The conference was closed by the President of Federcasa which also stressed the importance to start from what already exist in the Italian context to experiment new solutions, looking to processes of regeneration that are urban as well as social and economic.

[1] Federcasa is an association bringing together 114 public housing companies and housing bodies at the provincial, communal and regional level. Members of Federcasa provide over 850.000 social dwellings to low and middle income households, partly financed by public funding.

[2] TCP’s articles about CLTs available here.


Il mondo delle case popolari si è incontrato a Matera il 27/28 Giugno 2018 in occasione dell’Assemblea Generale di Federcasa. Un appuntamento arricchito dal convegno “Casa Bene Comune. Le case popolari come infrastrutture sociali per la rigenerazione e lo sviluppo urbano”, organizzato da Federcasa in collaborazione con l’Università LUISS Guido Carli e le ATER di Matera e Potenza. Diversi esperti, tra cui anche il prof. Nestor  Davidson in collegamento skype dalla Fordham University di New York, sono intervenuti per discutere delle potenzialità e delle criticità delle nuove formule di gestione e finanziamento dell’edilizia residenziale pubblica. In particolare è stata presentata la ricerca “Casa Bene Comune: dall’housing collaborativo all’housing di comunità”, coordinata dal prof. Christian Iaione che ha investigato nuovi modelli di abitare capaci di aumentare la disponibilità abitativa e garantire nuove formule di accesso.

Citizen engagement in Science and Policy-Making: the EU Joint Research Center Perspective

Citizen engagement in Science and Policy-Making: the EU Joint Research Center Perspective

The idea of proactive citizen engagement in Science and Policy-Making has recently attracted the institutional interest at the European Union level. In particular, the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission has often dealt with the topic in recent years. Worth to be quoted is the JRC Science for Policy Report “Citizen Engagement in Science and Policy-Making” released in 2016 [1]. The report shows an open and welcoming approach from the Commission towards citizen-driven contributions to science and policy. The JRC explicitly affirms (JRC, 2016, 3) that citizen engagement in heavily ‘expert-based’ sectors can “boost in democratic legitimacy, accountability and transparent governance”. Furthermore, the JRC acknowledges the potential of citizen involvement for enhancing “trust building among citizens and institutions as well as ownership of policy outcome. The Centre recognizes a shift from the mere “info-giving” to increasingly participatory deliberation practices “at each stage of the policy-making process” (JRC, 2016, 3) and, even more relevant, a push from “asking the citizens” to “co-creating with citizens” (JRC, 2016, 32).

Apart from increasing legitimacy and trust, the JRC stresses the benefits for the EC’s strategic planning itself, by underlining that people’s inputs “can offer a unique understanding of societal concerns, desires and needs” and thus a better targeting of EC’s actions. Moreover, the value of this contribution is identified in the provision by citizens of “evidence for policy-making and evaluation of policy decisions” as well as “ideas for new policies or services.”

The JRC in its report (JRC, 2016, 4) identifies also the main challenges to a proper inclusion of inputs from laymen’s knowledge in science and policy. First, the Centre stresses how the “predominant paradigm for policy-making is based on expert inputs (evidence based) in detriment of non-expert or lay knowledge coming from other parts of society.” The advice from the JRC to the Commission seems encouraging for more participatory practice and for a reconsideration of the “usefulness and validity of non-traditional inputs coming from citizens, communities or other groups”.

However, data quality and reliability of the knowledge fed by the lay people when it comes to inclusive science and policy seems crucial, together with transparency and disclosure of possible conflicts of interests. The modalities for gathering laymen’s input should be clearly defined and integration strategies properly agreed. Lastly, the need to go “beyond usual suspects” (the tech-connected wealthy citizens) in this inclusive science and policy is underlined by the report. At p.9 of the document (JRC, 2016, 9) a series of practical examples of citizen engagement in EU’s policy and science are illustrated, such as the initiatives ‘MakingSense’, ‘MyGEOSS’ and ‘DigitalEarthLab’.

The call of the JRC for a “dialogue across co-existing worldviews and knowledge production spaces in science, society and policy” (JRC, 2016, 7) seems particularly timely in present times in which the need of a dialogue between top and bottom stakeholders seems increasingly urgent. Facing Science and Policy-Making challenges through an inclusive and open-minded approach would contribute to the establishment of this dialogue. In the end, both top and bottom players share common interests or, at least, can constructively face each other’s needs to reach together a compromise, towards the establishment of a shared interest. In cases of post-normal science problems, the achievement of this shared or common interest will be even harder. However, those problems are highly of public interest and demand for the inclusion of all the concerned stakeholders in their governance.

[1] Figueiredo Nascimento, S., Cuccillato, E., Schade, S., Guimarães Pereira, A. 2016. Citizen Engagement in Science and Policy-Making. EUR 28328 EN, doi: 10.2788/40563.

Il presente articolo illustra la crescente necessità di coinvolgere il cittadino nei processi politici e scientifici, come percepita dalle istituzioni a livello europeo. In particolare, l’articolo focalizza l’attenzione sulla prospettiva del Joint Research Center (JRC) dell’Unione Europea sul tema. Viene illustrata la posizione del JRC, il quale incoraggia la creazione di un dialogo condiviso nell’interazione tra scienza, società e politica. Tale appello sembra di particolare attualità oggigiorno, in considerazione della complessità dei problemi che la nostra società deve affrontare. In effetti, le sfide odierne spesso riguardano interessi comuni a più attori sociali, ed il compromesso tra loro, come anche il reciproco ascolto, sembrano gli unici mezzi per raggiungere una definizione di “interesse comune”.

Rigenerare la rigenerazione – AUDIS

Rigenerare la rigenerazione – AUDIS

On Tuesday, December 5th, Milan will host the national AUDIS convention “Rigenerare la rigenerazione” (regenerating regeneration): a moment of confrontation on the new ASTRID’s proposals to overcome the obstacles that are restraining a widespread urban regeneration process all over Italy.

From 9.30 AM to 1.30 PM, in Fondazione Caseilla, AUDIS and its hosts will try to answer three fundamental question:

  1. What exactly is the role of urban regeneration for the development of the country? What are its economic and social consequences and are they strong enough to justify an effort from the cultural, administrative and economic point of view?
  2. What are the strongest brakes that are slowing down and sometimes preventing its implementation? What are the main roadblocks involving both Public Administration and private sector?
  3. Is it possible now to draw some guidelines in order to loosen the main knots?

LabGov’s co-founder prof Christian Iaione is going to attend the event during the session dedicated to AUDIS’ proposals.

The full program of the event is available here: http://www.audis.it/index.html?pg=10&sub=14&id=538&y=2017


Martedì 5 gennaio si terrà il convegno nazionale AUDIS, dedicato alla rigenerazione urbana e alle proposte per ripartire e riavviare il processo iniziando dal superamento dei maggiori ostacoli incontrati in Italia nella pubblica amministrazione e nel settore privato