Community Financing in Collaboration with the Administration


Banner_Rome_WEBSITECommunity financing in collaboration with the Administration. This was the theme of the first event in the three-day long workshop “Funding the Cooperative City – Rome” Nuovi modelli per spazi comunitari, which took place in Rome (@Casa della Città) on 5th May.

In front of the audience, Daniela Patti, Managing Director of Eutropian GmbH in Vienna and Founder of Eutropian association in Rome, introduced local and international speakers:

Afrikaanderwijk Cooperative and Freehouse bring existing workspaces, entrepreneurs, producers, social organizations and the market together. They promote sustainable local production, knowledge, cultural development and entrepreneurship based on shared responsibility and participation. The primary purpose is for people in the Afrikaander district to reclaim the right to develop their own neighbourhood.

Afrikaanderwijk Cooperative and Freehouse are working in Rotterdam-Zuid’s Afrikaander district to create a stronger and wealthier area for residents and businesses. In order for the Afrikaander district not become the victim of the expansion of the creative city, Freehouse set up small-scale projects to regenerate the districts and its market from within. In collaboration with residents, artists, and fashion designer Freehouse created a workshop for making and designing clothes, a communal kitchen area and a shop selling local products and offering small-scale delivery services. Another crucial element is the Afrikaander Market, which has been in decline for several years because it is not possible to combine products and services on the same stall.  With over 300 acts of civil disobedience, they found a solution: red carpet fashion shows presented the work of young local designers and alongside items available on the market. In addition, the one-sided market assortment was expanded with local quality products. At the present, they offer over 48 jobs and various internship to the community.

Fondazione Cascina Roccafranca, founded by Turin municipality and participated by associations and informal groups is an innovative, social and cultural civic centre designed to citizen participation. It is a “container” that provides service: such as an accommodation centre, advice shops, a restaurant and a cafeteria that contribute to economic sustainability. There is also an Eco-museum and activities about ethical consumption, courses (theatre, dance, painting, diction …) reading groups, cinema clubs, foreign language courses, after-school programs, etc. Both the Foundation and other actors organize the activities and the services.

There are 100 courses involving over 3500 people, not only from the neighbourhood but also from the entire city. Actually, 40 volunteers and 20 specialists work in the Foundation. Through the improvement of relationship among different ages, cultures and actors, the Foundation wants to encourage citizens to be a part of their community and to work not only for their private needs but also for the commons. To do this, it is necessary to focus on citizen rights, social cohesion and new models of cooperation (especially PPP).

Zo-Ho is Rotterdam’s makers’ quarter. In 2013, owner Havensteder, Stipo and Municipality cooperated and decided to develop the area in a gradual process called slow urbanism. The area has been the opportunity to redevelop itself for 10 years. Havensteder offered tenants the chance to use and develop their property in an appropriate manner. The municipality provided spaces for experimentation and invested in social strategy and public spaces. Tenants found suitable neighbours and provided frameworks for the development of buildings and public spaces. Thus, users of the area, companies, organizations, inhabitants, and visitors can get involved with the development plans.

Two examples of improving Zo-Ho at eye level are Restaurant Gare du Nord (a successful organic vegan restaurant in a former train wagon on a derelict building site. The staff came from the neighbourhood) and residents from the Noord district starting an area cooperation to improve their district in an economic sustainable way. Zo-Ho become an experimenting and prototyping area and the success of the project persuaded other people to join the district.

LabGov Luiss is a place of experimentation, created to train the “experts in the governance of urban commons”. The goal is to create a new institutional and economic system based on the model of “civic collaboration”, “collaborative governance of the commons” and “circular subsidiarity”, according to which public institutions shall favor all citizens (individuals or in associative forms). In order to achieve social and institutional regeneration, it is necessary to create collaborative relationships between citizens, administrations and businesses to share the scarce resources and to take care of the commons, whether tangible or intangible, in urban and local community.

Prof. Iaione talked about the experiences of Pilastro, Co-Bologna and Co-Roma underlining some key points. First, the scheme of experimentation concerns reproducing institutions in the street (it is a matter of co-design; the results are new forms of social institutions). Then, it is a tension between social norms and formal rules because bureaucracy doesn’t work in the same direction (public procurement is different from co-design) but it is necessary a collaborative approach between internal and external actors to agglomerate knowledge. LabGov’s work is an experimental research on the field; it is natural that there are problems and imperfections in the process because we are in a transition from dualistic to cooperative paradigm. The city could be seen as a laboratory. There is not one solution, it’s a process.

Area Studi ANCI is a part of Cittalia – Fondazione Anci Ricerche and it is a network dedicated to research and study activities on issues of major interest for Italian Municipalities. The Foundation initially got involved in environmental, institutional and innovation programs and then focus on welfare, social inclusion, local governance, public and urban policies. The mission of Cittalia is to support Italian cities and Municipalities in facing the challenges of a changing society, so that they can develop effective public policies and improve their capacity to plan, manage and assess their actions.

Regarding the state of art of the co-city, Dr. Allulli agrees with the previous speaker. He talked about three assumptions: city rulers intend Co-city as a mere replacement of the role of PA (it is not correct because Co-city is more). The second assumption concerns the lack of understanding between politicians and social innovators because the former talks about money, the latter about legitimization, spaces and resources. Then he affirms that, although the contradictory situation, Italy is a land of pioneers: a lot of PA are changing their mind, they think in term of resources not only money. According to this, good news are the crowdfunding growing experience, participatory budgeting and exchanging best practices.

WithYouWeDO is a TIM’s Social Responsibility Enterprise programme. It is a crowdfunding platform, c’est-à-dire a method of web funding by large numbers of people, or crowds, with the goal of raising funds, even of small amounts, to finance projects placed on a platform/website. This platform is available for the non-profit sector and the public. WithYouWeDo promotes and supports the funding of initiatives, ideas and projects in the following areas:

  • Social Innovation: from innovative projects for solidarity to building new models for integration.
  • Spreading Digital Culture: schools, art and literature, from protecting heritage to innovation in the expression of creativity.
  • Environmental Protection: everything that relates to environmental sustainability.

The platform includes two types of support:

  • Reward Based Crowdfunding is form of fundraising to support a project in exchange for non-monetary recognition or reward on achieving the objective set out at the start of the campaign.
  • Donation Based Crowdfunding on the other hand is a way of donating to support a given idea or campaign, without receiving anything in return: a sort of ‘intellectual investment’.

An example of this, it is Mappina.

In conclusion, we can affirm that this event has been an opportunity to discover citizen spaces and new economic models for community-led urban development with initiatives from Italy and Europe.

Funding the Cooperative City – Rome è stata un’occasione per conoscere nuovi modelli economici per uno sviluppo urbano promossi dalla cittadinanza con iniziative italiane e straniere. In particolare, l’evento del 5 maggio intitolato “Finanziamento di comunità in collaborazione con l’Amministrazione” si è caratterizzato come una chiacchierata tra esperienze italiane (LabGov e Cascina Roccafranca), internazionali (Afrikaanderwijk Cooperative e Zo-Ho) e contributi tecnici (Area Studi ANCI e WithTouWeDo).