Collaborative cities: Gorenflo launches the first Sharing School

Collaborative cities: Gorenflo launches the first Sharing School


The sharing economy is growing faster than ever and becoming a hot policy issue these days. Casa NeturalCollaboriamoRENA and LabGov have for this reason decided to launch the “Sharing School”. Thanks to the collaboration between these organizations and with the support of OuishareAvanzi and Societing, the School has been able to host highly qualified professionals and experienced innovators. The guest star of the event has been Neal Gorenflo from Shareable, an American leading organization in the field of sharing economy and collaborative practices.

The event held in Rome at Porta Futuro, had the main objective of dealing with the mainstream tendency of sharing economy and to understand if such trend can become the leading paradigm of the new economy. Andrea Fusco, Director of Department III – Services for placement and quality of life of the Province of Rome, the future Metropolitan City, was very happy to host the Sharing School initiative.

Minister Counselor for Public Affairs of the US Embassy in Italy Elizabeth McKay, reminded how the sharing economy has already changed things; it is no longer a new phenomenon and thanks to technological interactions and social media, we are exploring a potential that can disrupt traditional forces. Customers become service providers themselves, acting as catalysts for phasing into the system resources and goods that are normally not exploited.

We were used to think about sharing economy as some “nerd stuffs”, while nowadays there is a sort of “media bulimia” that affect the topic of sharing economy – says Francesco Russo, President of RENA. It is undeniable that we are assisting to a growing tendency of the concept of collaboration, as we simply trust strangers. However, the problem is that we shall distinguish what sharing is really about, and that is the aim of the Sharing School. There is a paradigmatic change of society and in the next future, 40% of the online staffing will be served through services provided by the sharing economy. Then, the approach of the initiative is not only about telling the story of a new economic trend.

As Neal Gorenflo recognizes, we are all here to learn how to gather people and create a common homogeneous vision about the sharing economy. But here we encounter obstacles, since we need to dissolve the gap between trans-formational economy and trans-action sharing, which basically maintains social hierarchies. Neal Gorenflo talked about making a choice between the red pill and blue pill like in The Matrix movie. The blue pill is a story about the re-adaptation of the old capitalist paradigm to the new economic trends, where Uber and AirBnB are the concrete examples of how initiatives of such strand of the sharing economy can still create monopolies. On the other hand, the red pill is the one that inspired our research. It is about the resurgent collaborative experimentation and it is what can wake up reality. We need to open cities, to make them available for use and to activate citizens by creating an economy “by and for” the people. We need to invest on transformational sharing much rather than transactional sharing.

However, as Matteo Lepore – Commissioner to Economy, Development of the City, Tourism, International Relations and Digital Agenda of the City of Bologna –  underlined, if we talk about social order and sharing economy, we are inevitably bound to themes such as politics, democracy and participation. In fact, even taking the red pill has the risk of initiating a debate between citizens and the political representation. It is all about a systemic change, otherwise there would be no way back from the loss of collaboration between citizens and institutions. Step by step, we are loosing the sense of citizenship, by projecting a vision of citizens as the residual assets of society. Fortunately, the City of Bologna was able to initiate a process of human capital reactivation, thanks to the implementation of the “Bologna Regulation on public collaboration for urban commons” that seeks to transform the Public Administration in an enabling factor. The City of Bologna is thus a starting point for understanding how collaborative practices can rehabilitate citizens and regenerate urban networks, for instance with the instrument of the “pact of collaboration“. The underlying idea is that important results can only be achieved through effective practices of co-working, which involve citizens and professionals through a platform of mutual exchange of skills and knowledge.

Starting from the community to build competences and deliver effective results on the territory is also the strategy of the City of Milan , says Renato Galliano, Director of Smart City Service in Milan. We have to recognize that it exists a network of collaborative urban cities, which is itself a new form of infrastructure. This is the confirmation that collaborative economy is not only about isolated and scattered projects of mobility sharing, start-ups and civic crowdfunding. The social innovation entails a renaissance of the cities in a wider context, whereas citizens are the locomotives of change and public administrations are the habilitating infrastructure.

As Christian Iaione, Coordinator of LabGov, reminded we have to reinforce the processes of active citizenship and active entrepreneurship, to foster a steady dialogue between the five actors of collaborative governance and to create an “Italian way” to sharing. Indeed, the real sharing is centered on the restitution of value to the community. This is a good opportunity also for the City of Rome. Daniela Patti – from the staff of the Comminisioner to the Urban Transformation in Rome – affirmed that we need to create a network of collaborative cities, to develop instruments to regenerate abandoned urban spaces and to consolidate practices for exploiting the latent potential of the great cultural heritage.

Alex Giordano (Societing and Rural Hub) warned against the dysfunctions that an incorrect practice of sharing economy can create. In this sense, we should not only focus on the quantitative approach and upon capitalist mechanisms. It is in fact essential to reason on communities and social impact. If we have a look at territorial distributions, it is possible to notice how people are divided by interests and have lost the sense and ethic of community building. Fortunately there are breeding grounds of innovation that create value, even if their outreach is limited by disabling institutional leaderships. The problem is that those who have the courage to produce social innovation are constantly marginalized, as Simone Cicero of Ouishare, noticed. Even Enrico Parisio, of Coworking Millepiani says that we need to express such new exigency, as a pedagogic stimulus for social innovation. When we started talking about sharing economy, nobody believed it could be real, reminds Ivan Fadini of Impact Hub Roma. For this reason we are strongly committed today on avoiding the reiteration of traditional economic capitalism.

The commoners will be the heroes of social innovation.

Stay united!

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Presentata a Roma la prima edizione della Sharing School.

Si è tenuto il 22 gennaio 2015 l’evento di presentazione della Sharing School di Matera, la prima scuola sulla sharing economy e sulla condivisione per promuovere in Italia un nuovo paradigma sociale, economico e istituzionale. L’incontro, ospitato da Porta Futuro e reso possibile grazie alla collaborazione tra Casa NeturalRENA, Collaboriamo e LabGov, con il supporto di Avanzi, OuiShare e Societing, ha visto la partecipazione, grazie al supporto dell’Ambasciata americana in Italia, di Neal Gorenflo co-fondatore di Shareable.

L’evento, incentrato su temi dell’ economia collaborativa e innovazione sociale, ha rappresentato un importante punto d’incontro tra ospiti internazionali, attori istituzionali, accademici e società civile. Se si vuole sviluppare un nuovo concetto di economia, è necessario rivedere gli orizzonti sociali e promuovere spazi innovativi di collaborazione. E’ in un contesto di inclusione sociale e di promozione della cittadinanza attiva che la sharing economy deve prendere piede perché, come ricorda Neal Gorenflo, le persone devono rappresentare lo snodo per un’economia collaborativa.

Dobbiamo cominciare a comprendere come l’implementazione di un modello di governance condivisa non ruba potere alle amministrazioni, semmai ne rinvigorisce la struttura e la riempie di nuovi contenuti. Per questo il prof. Christian Iaione, coordinatore di LabGov, invita a pensare all’economia come un bene comune che possa essere curato e messo a punto con interventi di animazione da parte di tutti quei soggetti coinvolti nell’ambito della sharing economy, inclusi i cittadini.