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.

FEDERCASALAB – a call for ideas

FEDERCASALAB – a call for ideas

FedercasaLAB recently launched a call for ideas in the context of a broader and innovative process on housing strategies: “Public houses at the time of urban regeneration“.  The call aims at investigating the connection between public housing-based neighborhoods and urban regeneration processes.

The deadline to send proposals is set on July, 12; the proposals will be evaluated by Federcasa Advisory Hub.

FedercasaLAB is a research and experimentation lab promoted by Federcasa working on exploring the actual role of public housing in urban regeneration processes. It is composed by an Advisory Hub and a multidisciplinary research unit.

With this call for ideas, Federcasa wants to broaden the discourse around the role of public housing and of its managers in urban regeneration processe, in order to open up to a confrontation with theoretical follow-ups and innovative practices. Public housing often encounters the deep social discomfort caused by the increase of economic inequalities as well as the tentatives put in place to re-think the city in a regenerative way; from the recovery and requalification experiences of the existing building heritage, to the revitalization of the socio-economic fabric, to the interventions aimed at increasing environmental sustainibility.

In this context, what are the strategies to follow in order to put public houses at the heart of regenerative processes involving whole neighborhoods?

FedercasaLab is going to tackle this and other question through three guiding themes:

  1. Urban spaces: what are the material and immaterial elements that contribute to build the contextual value of urban places?
  2. Innovation: how to abilitate social and technologic innovation that are still not adequately recognised?
  3. Governance: which economic and administrative tools can raise the efficiency of the management of houses and the quality of life of their inhabitants?

The process will follow those steps:

  • 12 June: launch of the call
  • 12 July: deadline of the call
  • 31 August: selection of proposals
  • 3 September/3 October
  • 8 October kick-off of the research unit
  • 31 July 2019: closing of the first cycle of FedercasaLab’s activities

Read the full text of the call here: http://cms.federcasa.it/download.aspx?id=38f501db-d51e-4688-bc72-d2b4672851bd

Experimenting Civic Collaboration between commons in the South East of Rome

Experimenting Civic Collaboration between commons in the South East of Rome

On Saturday, May 5th, the South East Co-District of Rome has been crossed by Civic Collaboration, urban redevelopment and co-governance of urban commons paths in a whole day full of activities, meetings, debates that has been organized by LabGov in the context of the Co-Rome, in collaboration with V Municipio, ENEA, LUISS University, Comunità Parco Pubblico di Centocelle and several organizations and associations from the district

An itinerant community made of students, academics, stakeholders and active citizens started its path from Parco degli Acquedotti, in Don Bosco neighborhood, to reach Torre Spaccata where, in the green area next to Biblioteca Rugantino, the labgovers and students from the master degree in Landscape Architecture of La Sapienza University inaugurated the third satellite of LUISS’ community garden #OrtoLUISS.

An horticulture lab, the valorization of urban vertical gardens an of “in-the-box” gardens and thoughts on the importance of concrete experimentations of circular economy enriched a morning where people of every age shared a new contact with public and natural spaces of the district

In this direction, the third step of the day was in the permaculture project oh Municipio V “Il sogno trasformato”, that consented to the participants to visit Parco Giorgio de Chirico, in Tor Sapienza neighborhood, and to discuss on how public institutions and communities can try together to look for solutions for environmental redevelopment and social re-activation of those territories where urban inequalities are much stronger.

The rain didn’t stop the seek for experimentation and collaboration, and the participants continued their path in the library “L’ora di libertà”, where they first admired the exhibition “100 piccoli volti di Centocelle” by Giorgia Capatano, and where they then sat down to discuss together the future of Centocelle district

Representatives of ENEA’s #fuTure and Centoc’è labs presented their new ideas to design and manage together the territory while ensuring environmental and social sustainability.

At the end of the day, at FusoLab 2.0, the last emotional step of the day with Valentina Correani sharing with Silvio Bruno (President of Centocelle Neighborhood’s Committee) and Vinceno Luciano (Director of Abitarearoma) stories and poems on the history and the beauties of urban suburbs, starting from the South East of Rome. During the evening the short film by Myrice Tansini “La Prima Volta“, starring Mario Caldaro (beloved honorary member of the Comunità Parco Pubblico di Centocelle) was shown to the move public.

And then: party and music! The musical event #RomaSudfEst was opened by the young Coro Cantering, who sang several folk songs from Italy and Europe (and Rome, of course), and continued with a space all dedicated to #Orto17 with three young roman songwriters, Emilio Stella, Gianmarco Dottori and Andrea D’Apolito, that shared an hymn to the Rome that we hope to be able to build together.

5th May 2018 | Third Civic Collaboration Day and RomaSUDfEST

5th May 2018 | Third Civic Collaboration Day and RomaSUDfEST

The Heritage Walk through the neighbourhoods in the South-East suburbs of Rome during a one day event to enjoy the city experiencing civic collaboration practices 

The EDU@LabGov academic year 2017-2018 – the LUISS Educational Lab is the urban clinic for students to experiment on the field the urban commons theories and collaboration practices – is coming to an end and, for the third year, the labgovers will be committed to a one day experience of civic collaboration and cultural and environmental heritage regeneration of urban commons in the South-East of the city of Rome.

On Saturday, 5th May 2018, the Third Civic Collaboration Day and the RomaSudfEst will represent a unique opportunity to meet, discuss and spread a message of environmental, economic and social sustainability.

A programme full of activities – open to participants of all ages – will engage a variety of local actors and urban stakeholders in living different places and public spaces of the entire district, experiencing new practices of civic collaboration, and pushing forward the local public debate.

The Civic Collaboration Day will start at 9 a.m. in the Degli Acquedotti Park (Don Bosco neighbourhood) and from there will cross through the neighbourhoods of Torre Spaccata, Tor Sapienza, Centocelle and Alessandrino; in each of them are scheduled different activities and events organized by associations and active citizens in collaboration with public and knowledge institutions, as Municipio V, Rome Municipality, ENEA and LUISS University.

The initiative is one of the outputs of the work carried on by EDU@LabGov in different urban experimentation sites in the framework of Co-Roma, a project aimed at building an integrated model of urban smart district based on the development of new co-economies: economies with a circular, social, supportive and collaborative nature and on an active and cohesive citizenship.

Amongst the many activities scheduled during the day:

>> At 10.30 a.m., in the green area next to the Rugantino Library (Torre Spaccata), the labgovers – together with the students of the Master in Landscape Architecture of La Sapienza University of Rome – will bring the University outside its doors by setting up the third satellite of the University’s community garden #ortoLUISS and leading a horticulture lab for children.

>> At 3 p.m. in the Centocelle Park – which, for the first two years, has been the centre of the Co-Roma project – will take place different activities for kids about urban mobility, together with a series of heritage walks (organized by the Comunità Parco Pubblico di Centocelle Odv), as defined by the Faro Convention framework, to discover together and showcase to all the participants the beauty of several archaeological and cultural resources of the district.

>> The Collaboration Day will close at FusoLab (Centocelle) at 19.30 with the RomaSudfEst where many people from the district and from the whole city will gather to celebrate with the music the conclusion of this important collective moment.

Click here to download the full programme of the event

 

Culturability 2018 in Rome

Culturability 2018 in Rome

Culturability – regenerating spaces to share is starting its tour with the aim of presenting the 2018 call promoted by Fondazione Unipolis in ten italian cities.

On Monday, March 26th, at 5.30 PM, the call we be presented in Rome at Fusolab2.0 (Viale della Bella Villa 94, Rome), in collaboration with LabGov – LABoratory for the GOVernance of the City as a Commons and Legacoop Nazionale.

During the event, the participants will be able to go through and deepen all the details of the call and ask question at a general or more specific level. It will also be an occasion to talk about the themes linked to the initiative – culture, social innovation and cohesion, collaboration and sustainability.

Fondazione Unipolis allocates for this call 450.000 euro for innovative cultural projects with a high social impact, aimed at regenerating and giving new life to abandoned spaces, buildings or ex industrial sites. 15 selected projects will have the opportunity of participating to a training path in June and July. In September, an evaluation committee will select between those the 6 finalists, that will receive 50.000 euro each and will continue the mentoring activity. The remaining 150.000 euros will be used to realize the training activities for the teams’ empowerment, for reimburses and support programmes.

Participants must register on Eventbrite to book a seat: http://bit.ly/2FqFKEF.

The call will be open until April, 20th. The call is open for NGO, private entreprises operating in the cultural field and informal teams with a majority of under 35 members. Projects must be sent online through the dedicated section on the website.  For more information, please visit the official website https://culturability.org/

The initiative is in partnership with MIBACT (whose General Direction for Art, Contemporary Architecture and Urban Suburbs makes available economic resources for the sixth winning project, one more respect to the last call), Avanzi/Make a Cube³ and Fondazione Fitzcarraldo.



Culturability sta iniziando il tour 2018 per presentare il suo quinto bando, promosso da Fondazione Unipolis, in in dieci città italiane.

Il 26 marzo alle 17.30 la call sarà presentata a Roma presso Fusolab2.0, in collaborazione con LabGov e Legacoop Nazionale.

Nel corso dell’incontro sarà possibile approfondire tutti i dettagli della call e fare domande di carattere generale o legate alla propria idea. La serata sarà anche un’occasione per confrontarsi sulle tematiche al centro dell’iniziativa – cultura, innovazione e coesione sociale, collaborazione, sostenibilità – assieme agli ospiti presenti.

La Fondazione Unipolis stanzia 450 mila euro per progetti culturali innovativi ad alto impatto sociale finalizzati a rigenerare e dare nuova vita a spazi, edifici, ex siti industriali, abbandonati o sottoutilizzati. Fra le proposte pervenute, ne saranno selezionate 15 che avranno l’opportunità di partecipare a un percorso di formazione nei mesi di giugno e luglio. Tra queste, nel mese di settembre, una Commissione di Valutazione selezionerà i 6 progetti finalisti che riceveranno 50 mila euro ciascuno e continueranno l’attività di accompagnamento e mentoring. Gli altri 150 mila euro stanziati saranno utilizzati per realizzare le attività di formazione e accompagnamento per l’empowerment dei team, rimborsi spese per partecipare ai programmi di supporto.

Iscrizione obbligatoria su eventbrite a questo link: http://bit.ly/2FqFKEF

La call è aperta dal 22 febbraio alle ore 13 del 20 aprile 2018. Al bando possono partecipare organizzazioni no profit, imprese private che operano in campo culturale ricercando un impatto sociale e team informali con prevalenza di under 35. I progetti dovranno essere inviati online tramite la sezione dedicata del sito Culturability.

L’iniziativa si avvale della collaborazione del MIBACT (la cui  Direzione Generale Arte e Architettura Contemporanee e Periferie Urbane  ha messo a disposizione le risorse economiche per finanziare un sesto progetto vincitore, uno in più rispetto allo scroso anno), e della partnership con Avanzi/Make a Cube³ e Fondazione Fitzcarraldo.