The LABoratory for the GOVernance of Commons(“LabGov“) is a place of experimentation in all respects. However, instead of alembics and tubes you can find students, scholars, experts, activists thinking and discussing about the future shapes that social, economic and legal institutions may take.
The Commons Post
East Harlem: An Exemple of Community-led Development Plan
The problem of neighborhood change, due to movement of people, public policies, investments, and flows of private capital mediated by conceptions of race, class, place and scale is a fundamental factor affecting the development of modern cities. Scholars from University of California, Berkeley and University of California, Los Angeles, have studied this phenomenon and its consequences, such as gentrification and displacement related to urban renewal, and they have identified some important findings: Neighborhoods change slowly, but over time are becoming more segregated by income, due in part to macro-level increases in income inequality. Neighborhood decline results from the interaction of demographic shifts, public policy, and entrenched segregation, and is shaped by metropolitan context. Gentrification results from both flows of capital and people. The extent to which gentrification is linked to racial transition differs across neighborhood contexts. Cultural strategies can transform places, creating new economic value but at the same time displacing existing meanings. Displacement takes many different forms—direct and indirect, physical or economic, and exclusionary—and may result from either investment or disinvestment. These results show us how complex the situation is in terms of economic differences, racial transition, cultural displacement and public policies. Moreover, on the subject of affordable housing, […]
The Sharing Economy Act: a process of change.
The sharing economy is an urban phenomenon that is spreading worldwide and is changing the way we conceive commerce, social relations and economic development. During the last two years, this issue arrived also in the judiciary rooms as in the case of Germany ( if you are interested read on The Guardian article). Recently, political institutions, both at the EU level and at the national level in countries like France and Italy, recognized the relevance of the phenomena and decided to intervene with legislative measure. In Italy, a law proposal the “Sharing economy act” is currently under discussion in the Parliament. The EU Commission has recently given guidelines to ensure that member countries pose an appropriate collaborative economy normative regulation. The EU Commission’s definition for the collaborative economy refers to “business models where activities are facilitated by collaborative platforms that create an open market for the temporary use of goods and services, often provided by private individuals”. The guidelines of EU contain some mains point. First of all to harmonize the rules of EU countries in order to have a legislation on sharing economy guided by common rules and objectives. Brussels criticized some measures such as those designed by Berlin […]
Participatory Budgeting in New York City
Participatory budgeting is a democratic practice that was first implemented in Latin America in the late 80’, traveled the world and it’s now been instituted in 1500 cities worldwide. Several scholars highlights the positive impact of participatory budgeting for the quality of life in cities and for democratic legitimacy and in particular his potentiality to include vulnerable communities. On the other side, scientific studies also reveals limits of this democratic innovation, due for instance to the intensity of worldwide diffusion, and put the lights on the riks of transforming a democratic process into a sterile set of procedures. In the European Union Context, a relevant example is the Paris case, the bigger in the EU, and in Italy this experiment is been conducted in some middle size and small size cities, mainly through the Bipart platform. Participatory budgeting in New York City In the USA and Canadian context, participatory budgeting in recently been implemented, in Toronto, Chicago and New York City. The PB in New York was first implemented as a pilot project from 2011 to 2012 and was initiated by four members of the New City Council, three Democrats and one Republican: Brad Lander, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Eric Ulrich, and […]
Cooperation in technology
On Friday, July 29th, something remarkable (and perhaps unprecedented) happened in the stock market. Most days, Exxon Mobil is one of the top four most valuable companies in the world; but, on that day, both Amazon and Facebook eclipsed the petroleum giant in market capitalization. This meant that, even if for a short time, the five largest companies in the world by market cap were all technology companies (Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook). This result has no direct impact on anything, other than public perception. The outspoken venture capitalist Marc Andreessen declared back in 2011 that “software is eating the world“. While that’s a hard claim to define empirically, a top five like that of that Friday seems a pretty compelling anecdotal evidence—if not that software has eaten the world, then at least that investors are convinced it will. Tech analyst Patrick Moorhead said that the top five “says investors are bullish on the future of tech. It also says they’re less bullish on energy.” Investors aren’t alone in relying their confidence on the future prominence of tech companies. Given the evidence of their fast growth during the past five years, the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) has vowed to listen and lead some tech […]
Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate Change & Energy, the New Global Coalition of Cities Committed to Fighting Climate Change
Brussels, 22 June 2016. The EU Covenant of Mayors and the Compact of Mayors announced the formation of the first international initiative of cities and local governments in matter of climate change. Since they are the primary city-led climate change initiative, this project will create the largest global coalition of cities engaged in climate leadership: we are talking about more than 7,100 cities from 119 countries and six continents, representing more than 600 million inhabitants, over 8% of the world’s population. This initiative, called Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate Change & Energy is a result of the historic Paris climate change conference (December, 2015) where cities and local governments played a crucial role for the final agreement. The aim of the world’s largest coalition of mayors is to promote and support voluntary action to combat climate change and move to a low-carbon economy. It is important to remember that the Covenant of Mayors was launched in 2008 by the European Union after the adoption of the 2020 European Union Climate and Energy Package. The Covenant of Mayors covers 6800 cities in 585 countries with an investment of over €110 billion and currently is operated by CEMR, Climate Alliance, Energy […]
2-Week Study Program “Transition to Co-operative Commonwealth: Pathways to a New Political Economy”
Synergia is an international network of individuals and organizations united together with the aim of implementing new models of economic and social practices which can be able to transition societies to a more sustainable, democratic and social just model of political economy based on the principles of cooperation and the common good. In order to explore those models and to share the experiences of some of the leading experts and practitioners in those fields, the Synergia Institute will organize a two-weeks Summer School in September, titled “Transition to Co-operative Commonwealth: Pathways to a New Political Economy”. The Summer School will take place in Monte Ginezzo, Tuscany, from September 11th to September 23rd. The overarching focus of the Synergia program is to answer the question: What is the ethical economy and how does it work? The program blends together lectures and workshops with site visits to leading co-operatives and common activities in Tuscany and Emilia Romagna, in order to unite the global with the local through the diffusion of ideas, models and practices. The instructors of the courses will be some of the very finest minds and practitioners in their respective fields of study and practice: Michel Bauwens: Founder, P2P Foundation; Co Author, […]
Narratives of Inclusion: Can Urban Commons Help us Live Together?
Cities are paradoxical spaces. On one hand, it is commonly known that, for instance, migration has been one of the most effective ways to increase the standard of living. In theory, when coming to the big cities, people are offered a surplus of opportunities to work, get educated, create a family and enjoy the lives they want. Therefore, the rush to settle down in cities, particularly in emerging economies, has been sparked by the image of a better life, full of diverse opportunities and, hence, as the economies have concentrated in the cities, so have the people. On the other hand, it is not a secret that the cities of today are extremely unequal places having a major part of their population, usually characterised by the poor and uneducated, excluded from the above-mentioned image. Disturbingly, exclusion has not only been relevant to the new-comers, but also to the residents who have lived in the urban centres for generations, and this is linked to the process of gentrification. Thus, who owns the city? – a question addressed by S. Sassen, a Dutch-American sociologist – is very relevant today. Due to the growing foreign investment the major part of cites, in particular the central infrastructure, is now owned by foreign […]
The United Nations risks stifling its own progress on sustainable urbanization
There will be no sustainable development without action by local authorities. Habitat III needs to discuss a new U.N. council or other body representing cities and regions. “This story originally appeared in Citiscope [available here] and was republished via the Habitat III Journalism Project.” The United Nations’ behaviour toward local authorities and non-state stakeholders is ambivalent. The body’s view on the importance of NGOs is highlighted in numerous U. N. resolutions and declarations, but when it comes to decision-making and other commitments, member states recall theU. N. Charter’s principle of “sovereign equality of all its Members” — and continue to focus on relations between national governments. For at least some member states, there remains a palpable fear: Giving stakeholders a stronger voice will result in a loss of control over the global agenda and its implementation. Unfortunately, time and again this has prevented ambitious visions from transforming into a result-oriented enabling environment. Most recently, this was repeated ahead of last year’s agreement on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the framework that will guide global anti-poverty and sustainability efforts over the coming decade and a half. Now, it’s being repeated again in the current process toward Habitat III, the major urbanization summit taking place in October. Although local authorities […]
The city of the future according to Maurizio Carta
Maurizio Carta, Architect, PhD in Urban and Regional Planning, Full Professor of urban and regional planning at the Department of Architecture at the University of Palermo and advisor for a number of public national and international bodies, is the author of “Creative City – Dynamics, Innovations and Actions“. In his work, Carta tries to condensate his studies on urban regenation based on culture, innovation and creativity. The result is a review of the most innovative processes of urban regeneration undertaken across Europe, an “atlas of urban, landscape and architectural projects”. Evocative and inspiring is the quote by Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw which the author decided to open the book with: “Some men see thing as they are and say, ‘Why?’. I dream of thing that never were and say, ‘Why not?’” Admittedly, the book is the outcome of a “trip” across current best and most innovative urban practices and a hopeful insight into the future of territorial bounds, communities and cities. The wide set of maps, data and figures that complement the analysis not only helps to better figure out how cities are evolving nowadays in Europe; they also give a strong evidence of the fact that the future […]
Culturability: Sheila Foster and Christian Iaione on Urban Commons and City as a Commons
On the 15th of July, Unipolis Foundation in collaboration with Fitzcarraldo Foundation and Make a Cube association organised a second mentoring workshop for the 15 finalists (the description of finalists see below, or at: http://culturability.org/notizie/finalisti-bando-culturability/) who have been selected from the “Culturability” call – an Italian national call to support innovative projects in cultural and creative fields to promote urban regeneration processes (see more about Culturability at: http://culturability.org/). The third day of the workshop series was complemented by Urban Law professor at Fordham University Sheila Foster and LabGov coordinator, prof. Christian Iaione’s presentation as well as an interactive discussion with the audience. Scholars focused on bringing the attention of the 15 progressive cultural innovators to the idea of urban commons and, more specifically, addressing the collaborative governance of commons as the main target in the urban regeneration processes of today. Coming from the school of thought on commons, Sheila Foster began with questions of what exactly an urban common is and what does it mean to the society and the city as a whole. “Urban commons are what city inhabitants share daily, in fact, these commons are of a deeply democratic nature, because they have an open access meaning that the […]