Harvard University School of Design hosting the Sylvester Baxter Lecture on co-cities with Sheila Foster

Harvard University School of Design hosting the Sylvester Baxter Lecture on co-cities with Sheila Foster

On Thursday, November 19th from 7:30PM until 9:30PM EST (US and Canada), the Harvard University School of Design will host the Sylvester Baxter Lecture with Sheila Foster. The online workshop will deal with “Co-Cities: Reimagining the City as a Commons”

In the U.S., and around the world, vacant and abandoned urban land and structures are more ubiquitous than most people realize. In this lecture, Professor Foster will argue why we should think about this urban infrastructure as a “commons” capable of meeting the social and economic needs of the most vulnerable urban populations. Thinking of the city as a commons recognizes as legitimate, even innovative, the collective action of urban actors who utilize land and other infrastructure to construct informal settlements, community gardens and urban farms, mesh wireless networks,  and new limited equity housing and commercial spaces that are then collaboratively stewarded by an identified community or group of people.

Sheila R. Foster, is the Scott K. Ginsburg Professor of Urban Law and Policy at Georgetown University. She holds a joint appointment with the Law School and the McCourt School of Public Policy. She is also the faculty advisor of the Georgetown Project on State and Local Government Policy and Law(SALPAL) and lead researcher for the Georgetown Global Cities Initiative’s City Diplomacy Project. Together with prof. Christian Iaione, Sheila R. Foster is co-director of LabGov.City in GeorgeTown University.

The lecture will be followed by a Q&A session. You may ask questions during this time using the Q&A feature on Zoom, or you may submit questions for the speaker beforehand using this link: https://harvard.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_1ESdavyfqGjDbRX

Click here to read more

Click here to directly register for this event.

Towards Community Welfare – The economic issue in the public-private partnership

Towards Community Welfare – The economic issue in the public-private partnership

Urbinclusion Local Support Group. Towards the community welfare. The economic question in the public-private partnership: regulation, responsibility, governance.

A workshop of the Local Support Group of the Urbact Network Urbinclusion takes place today, Tuesday 10 July 2018, from 3.30 to 6.00 pm. The workshop will be held at Corso Castelfidardo 30 in Turin.

Institutional greetings by Marco Giusta and Paola Pisano will open the day. Then, the URBinclusion Implementation Plan – LSG will be presented by the Special Project, Innovation, Smart City, the European funds of the City of Turin. This will be followed by the presentation of the UIA Co-City Project by the AxTO Project Service, Beni Comuni, Periferie of the City of Turin.

The interventions section will follow: S & T and SocialFare will talk about “Economic models applied to public-private partnerships in the case of community welfare projects”. Subsequently, a representative of the Neighborhood Houses Network of Turin on “The management of economic activities: opportunities and constraints”. Finally, Alessandra Quarta, a researcher of the Department of Law of the University of Turin will make an intervention on the “Legal and governance aspects in the forms of public-private collaboration, from the grant to the collaboration agreements”.

The second part of the event consists in a Roundtable on the issue “What governance?”. The roundtable is composed by representatives of the institutional and civic actors participating in the Urbinclusion network and are now active in the implementation of the UIA Co-City Project. Both policy programs are funded by the EU and aimed at promoting social and economic inclusion in the City’s outskirts and are facing the related economic sustainability challenges.

Progetto Speciale, Innovazione, Smart City, fondi europei della Città di Torino; Servizio Progetto AxTO, Beni Comuni, Periferie della Città di Torino, Valter Cavallaro, Gianni Ferrero; Servizio Area Patrimonio della Città di Torino; Servizio Area Partecipazioni Comunali della Città di Torino; Attori del tavolo Azioni collettive del progetto Boostinno; Compagnia di San Paolo; UIA Expert, Christian Iaione; ANCI, Simone D’Antonio; Beneficiari di Co.City (tipologia A e B); Unito- Dipartimento di Informatica, Guido Boella; Città Metropolitana, Claudia Fassero. Moderatori: Fabrizio Barbiero (Città di Torino) e Matteo Tabasso (SiTI)



Urbinclusion Local Support Group. Verso il welfare di Comunità. La questione economica nella partnership pubblico-privato: normativa, responsabilità, governance.

Si svolge oggi,  martedì 10 luglio 2018 dalle ore 15.30 alle 18.00 il workshop del Local Support Group del Network Urbact Urbinclusion. Il workshop si terrà presso Corso Castelfidardo 30 a Torino. 

Dopo i saluti istituzionali a cura dell’Assessore Marco Giusta e Paola Pisano, sarà presentato l’ URBinclusion Implementation Plan -LSG a cura del Progetto Speciale, Innovazione, Smart City, fondi europei della Città di Torino. Seguirà la presentazione del Progetto UIA Co-City Torino a cura del Servizio Progetto AxTO, Beni Comuni, Periferie della Città di Torino.

Seguirà la sezione degli interventi: S&T e SocialFare parleranno dei “Modelli economici applicati a partnership pubblico-private nel caso di progetti di welfare di comunità”. Successivamente, un rappresentante della Rete delle Case del Quartiere su “La gestione delle attività economiche: opportunità e vincoli”. Infine, la ricercatrice del Dipartimento di Giurisprudenza UniTo farà un intervento sugli “Aspetti giuridici e di governance nelle forme di collaborazione pubblico-privato, dalla concessione ai patti di collaborazione”.

La seconda parte della giornata prevede una tavola rotonda: Quale governance?

Alla tavola rotonda parteciperanno rappresentanti di realtà civiche e istituzionali impegnate in Urbinclusion e adesso nel progetto Co-City Torino, entrambi finanziati dall’Unione Europea ed entrambi focalizzati sulla promozione dell’inclusione sociale ed economica nelle periferie della città di Torino: Progetto Speciale, Innovazione, Smart City, fondi europei della Città di Torino; Servizio Progetto AxTO, Beni Comuni, Periferie della Città di Torino, Valter Cavallaro, Gianni Ferrero; Servizio Area Patrimonio della Città di Torino; Servizio Area Partecipazioni Comunali della Città di Torino; Attori del tavolo Azioni collettive del progetto Boostinno; Compagnia di San Paolo; UIA Expert, Christian Iaione; ANCI, Simone D’Antonio; Beneficiari di Co.City (tipologia A e B); Unito- Dipartimento di Informatica, Guido Boella; Città Metropolitana, Claudia Fassero. Moderatori: Fabrizio Barbiero (Città di Torino) e Matteo Tabasso (SiTI).

RELAZIONI. Ecosistema città, governance diffusa, comunità creative

RELAZIONI. Ecosistema città, governance diffusa, comunità creative

Creative regeneration of public spaces and innovative public policies will be at the center of the reflection that the public meeting “RELAZIONI. Ecosistema città, governance diffusa, comunità creative” will activate.

The Municipality of Ruvo di Puglia is inviting its citizens, local associations and political groups to participate in the event, which will take place on Saturday the 4th of February in the hall of Palazzo Caputi.

The public meeting will see the participation of Christian Iaione (UniMarconi e LabGov – LABoratorio per la GOVernance dei beni comuni) and Annibale D’Elia (Comune di Milano, Associazione INnovare X INcludere), two experts who, since a long time, have been practicing and experimenting with innovation in governance and public policies. Starting from examples of local creative regeneration experiences, the discussion will explore the opportunities generated by political innovation, which has the potential to multiplicate human and social relations and to strengthen urban life dynamics. This meeting will allow for a deeper reflection on how citizens’ involvement can be stimulated through innovative public policies aiming at assessing the value of common goods and at structuring their collective management.

As explained by Monica Filograno, Councillor in charge of the city’s Culture Department whose speech will open the meeting, this event will be an important occasion to draw hypothesis on the future administrative path to be followed by the Administration and to discuss together the value of the commons in city’s life. The innovation process that the local Administration intends to activate in order to strengthen collaboration and sharing in city management requires us to reflect on the best direction to take, understanding also the broader international and national context in which “efforts to rethink cities as ecosystems in which everyone can find a space to express himself” are being made. The meeting will be then concluded by a speech of Pasquale Chieco, Major of Ruvo di Puglia.


Rigenerazione creativa degli spazi urbani e innovazione nelle politiche pubbliche saranno al centro dell’incontro pubblico “RELAZIONI. Ecosistema città, governance diffusa, comunità creative” che avrà luogo sabato 4 febbraio presso la sala eventi di Palazzo Caputi a Ruvo di Puglia.

Durante l’evento, organizzato dall’Amministrazione comunale, queste tematiche saranno affrontate attraverso un dialogo con due esperti e “pratici” che da tempo sperimentano con l’innovazione nella governance e nelle politiche pubbliche: Christian Iaione (Roma UniMarconi e LabGov) e Annibale D’elia (Comune di Milano, Associazione INnovare X Includere).

A partire da alcune esperienze concrete di rigenerazione creativa di spazi pubblici, nel corso dell’incontro si racconteranno le tante possibilità di moltiplicazione delle relazioni umane e sociali e delle dinamiche della vita cittadina che possono essere generate dall’innovazione politica”.

Bologna as a Laboratory for Urban Commons? – Urban Change Talk, Berlin

Bologna as a Laboratory for Urban Commons? – Urban Change Talk, Berlin

When looking for examples of innovative experiments in urban governance and collaborative practices, many observers are turning to the city of Bologna and to its experience with the Regulation on public collaboration between citizens and the city for the care and regeneration of urban commons and with the legislation “Collaborare è Bologna”. In the last years the city has dedicated a lot of efforts to the promotion of a culture of collaboration and has tried to fill a legal gap, reducing the distance between the local administration and its citizens and bringing all urban actors to work together around the city’s common goods. These efforts are not going unnoticed, and numerous observers are looking at the city with curiosity, recognizing it as an innovative experimentation which could lead to creation of a new urban governance framework based on collaboration.

In a similar perspective, the Bologna case will be presented and discussed in Berlin on Friday the 27th of January during the Urban Change Talk: Bologna – a Laboratory for Urban Commons?, an event organized by Actors of Urban Change, a program aiming to achieve sustainable and participatory urban development through cultural activities, in cooperation with the Urban Research Group ‘Urban Commons’ at the Georg Simmel Center for Metropolitan Studies of Humboldt University.

The event will consist in a conversation between Dr. Martin Schwegmann, member and founder of the Urban Research Group “Urban Commons” and program manager of “Actors of Urban Change”,  and different actors engaged in research and practice around the urban commons, coming both from Bologna and from Berlin. Professor Christian Iaione, LabGov’s coordinator, will take part in the event and, together with Giovanni Ginocchini, (Director of the URBAN CENTER BOLOGNA), will present the case of Bologna, while Marco Clausen, (Prinzessinnengarten), and Dr. Mary Dellenbaugh from the Urban Research Group “Urban Commons” will contribute to the conversation by also considering the experiences that are taking place in Berlin.  


Venerdì 27 Gennaio avrà luogo a Berlino l’evento Urban Change Talk: Bologna – a Laboratory for Urban Commons?, organizzato da Actors of Urban Change con il supporto dell’ Urban Research Group ‘Urban Commons’ del Georg Simmel Center for Metropolitan Studies della Humboldt University.

L’evento consisterà in una conversazione tra diversi attori impegnati nella ricerca e nella sperimentazione sui commons urbani che analizzeranno il caso della città di Bologna, considerato un esempio di pratica innovativa attraverso cui viene promossa una cultura di collaborazione e si sviluppa un nuovo modello di co-governance urbana. Il caso bolognese verrà presentato dal Professor Christian Iaione, coordinatore di LABGov, e da Giovanni Ginocchini, Direttore dell’Urban Center di Bologna, che racconteranno il percorso di CO-Bologna, dal Regolamento sulla collaborazione tra cittadini e amministrazione per la cura e rigenerazione dei beni comuni urbani e la politica “Collaborare è Bologna” alla sperimentazione nei cantieri.

NYCommons: A Tool To Help Grassroots Groups

NYCommons: A Tool To Help Grassroots Groups

In urban development, gentrification is a very important process that can transform the city, both socially and economically. Gentrification process in urban areas has several positive aspects (buildings are renovated and beautified, there are more jobs opportunities, more retail and service business, etc.) but also some negatives ones such as the loss of affordable housing and public assets (including parks, park buildings, former schools, library buildings, community gardens, etc.) and city-owned vacant lots are in the crosshairs of developers. This is the case of the Lower East Side in NYC that it is now one of the hottest real estate markets in Manhattan.

According to Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause New York, the state chapter of the national civic engagement and government accountability organization, in urban development, communities play the role of underdog, on the contrary, the government and real estate developers run the show (especially the latter).

So, it is important to analyze what set of organizing tools community-led organizations have built to help grassroots groups compete with private real estate developers when it comes to determining the future of publicly owned assets across the city.

An interesting example is given by Community Development Project at the Urban Justice Center, a group that provides legal, participatory research and policy support to strengthen the work of grassroots and community-based groups in New York City to dismantle racial, economic and social oppression and 596 Acres, an organization that builds tools to help neighbors see vacant lots as opportunities and create needed green spaces that become focal points for community organizing and civic engagement. These groups, in collaboration with Common Cause New York, are working on a huge project, named NYCommons.

According to the website, NYCommons is basically a new online map and database of all the public assets that helps New Yorkers impact decisions about public land and buildings in their neighborhoods and provides some type of potential real estate development opportunity. According to this statement, it’s hard to define precisely what it includes, but Paula Segal, founder of 596 Acres claims that, if it is true that in cities most of infrastructure and assets are shared (the subways, the roads, the sidewalks, the water, housing, etc.) so, the platform goes on and on to the point where privately owned property can start to seem like the real outlier.

This idea was born about three or four years ago, Mrs. Lerner says, when NYCommons partners started to see a pattern in the organizing around the future of public assets (i.e. a proposed soccer stadium in Queens, the Midtown Library in Manhattan and the main Brooklyn Public Library Branch). They “started thinking about the fact that all of these separate challenges had similar underlying policy issues that have to do with how does government think about commonly owned, shared assets.” In fact, although residents were spending a lot of time and energy, often they didn’t received benefits from these proposals involving public assets.

At the same time, there was some movement: 596 Acres supported some grassroots groups that organized around 36 former publicly owned vacant lots, which turned in declared permanent parks at the end of 2015. In addition to this, 596 Acres has developed a number of tools and created resources around city-owned vacant land: we are talking about Living Lots NYC and Urban Reviewer. The former is an online map and database that provides a useful platform for organizers to connect and maintain records of organizing activity around each lot, the latter is a catalogue of over 150 urban renewal plans that NYC adopted to get federal funding for making way for new public and private development.

In accordance with that, the specific purpose of NYCommons is indeed to create an expanded tool set to serve grassroots organizing around the broader universe of public assets in NYC. They decided to start by asking people in 10 neighborhoods and they finally found a great deal of interest for sharing best practices and connecting with others doing similar work. For testing their job, NYCommons chose three neighborhoods for pilot including the Sara D. Roosevelt Park in Lower East Side. This park presents a very strong story of citizen empowerment and, over time, that participation has contributed to the creation of Sara D. Roosevelt Park Community Coalition (SDRPC) with the aim to bring “together local stakeholders who seek to foster community-based stewardship by providing a voice for all who love the park and the communities it serves”.

Kathleen Webster, long-term resident on Manhattan’s Lower East Side and president of the SDRPC affirms that documentation, workshop facilitation and other resources to begin developing a tool kit provided by NYCommons were very helpful as a draft basis from which to go. The fact that all pilot sites will continue to shape the final NYCommons tool kit and the online platform and this pushes other sites to upload their data into the platform is the strenght of this project. Organizing track records provide vital talking points for future hearings and op-eds and community meetings.

In conclusion, the words of Mrs. Lerner are suitable to describe the characteristics of this projects: “Hopefully NYCommons can provide an entrée into a fairly sophisticated, experienced, citywide network of groups who are all thinking along the same lines, putting pressure on government to be responsive, with a similar vocabulary and set of expectations about public assets serving the public”.



NYCommons è solo l’ultimo degli strumenti forniti ai gruppi grassroots di New York che lavorano per garantire ai cittadini la libera fruizione di spazi pubblici con un alto valore sociale. Nello specifico, si tratta di una mappa e un database online continuamente aggiornati secondo la dinamica bottom-up per mappare gli assets pubblici di NYC.