CONGRESS COMMONS: CITIZENS, LAW AND GOVERNMENTS – From the “Government” to the ”Governance”

CONGRESS COMMONS: CITIZENS, LAW AND GOVERNMENTS – From the “Government” to the ”Governance”

IMG_20151207_130834On the 4th of November the think tank Oikos in collaboration with Etopia and GEF (The Green European Foundation), held the event “Congress Commons: citizens, law and governments”.

The conference took place at the Royal Library in Brussels. It was the closing seminar of the “Reclaim the Commons” project event series, which is organised with the goal to examine the transformative power of the Commons.

The conference was attended by experts on the topic of Commons such as Tine De Moor (Professor at University of Utrecht), with her speech “Setting the stage: challenges and prospects”, and Christian Iaione (Professor of Public Law, Director of the LabGov, Laboratory for the Governance of the Commons, LUISS Roma; member of the International Association for the Study of the Commons), amongst others.

During the second part of the conference Christian Iaione’s speech (Professor of Public Law, LUISS, Rome) focused on the topic of “governance”: a new “tool” to manage territories and communities. Professor Iaione, LabGov’s coordinator, consider the “collaborative governance” as a paradigm for overcoming the traditional dichotomy between public and private. The Collaborative Governance is a partnership of five actors: social innovators, public authorities, businesses, civil society organizations and knowledge institutions.

The Collaborative Governance could be described as having three main characteristics:

– interactive;

– experimental;

– adaptive.

It is interactive because is the result of the collaboration and interaction of the above – mentioned actors. It is experimental since there is not a standard model but, as demonstrated at the LabGov’s Labs (Governance Labs), it is a constant work in progress. Furthermore the collaborative governance is adaptive in the sense that it is not possible to propose the same “format” in every community: it is fundamental to take into account the peculiarity of each community or territory. As the Italian examples of co – Bologna, co – Mantova, co – Battipaglia, co – Palermo, co – Roma, every city needs to find its dimension on its own: a setup which works in a city does not necessarily work in others. The “Regolamento sulla collaborazione per la cura e rigenerazione dei beni comuni urbani” of the Comune di Bologna ( here is the English version), for instance, is not automatically applicable in other cities.

The process of “Collaborative Governance” is divided in five steps: first and foremost mapping where and how the collaborative governance will impact; after this it is important to co – design a project of governance with all the stakeholders/actors (public, private, social, knowledge, commons). With these elements at hand it is then crucial to prototype solutions: testing and adapting the design principles to the challenges and characteristic of each city. The next step consists in amplifying the experimentation in different areas of the governance and to spread the positive results of each local experience. Finally it is fundamental to evaluate the results of the experimentation.

We can also consider collaborative governance as a tool to fight corruption and organised crime, safeguard the territory and promote legal economic growth and social progress. It is also an instrument to promote the concept of sustainability in local development, in particular thanks to the more active and participative role of citizens, who are much more involved through this process. The use of collaboration and governance to best manage cities and local economies was recently recognised at European level on the Committee of Regions (CoR) opinion on Sharing Economy “The local and regional dimension of the collaborative economy”, by member Benedetta Brighenti (IT/PES), approved with a large majority on the 4th of December 2015 at the CoR’s Plenary Session.


Il 04 dicembre 2015 si é tenuta a Bruxelles, presso la Biblioteca Reale, la conferenza “Congress Commons: Citizens, Law and Governments”, organizzata dalla think tank Oikos, in collaborazione con Etopia e GEF (The Green European Foundation).

L’ evento é stato proposto in chiusura del ciclo di seminari “Reclaim the Commons”, organizzati in diverse città europee, per approfondire il potenziale e l’impatto dei Beni Comuni e della maggior partecipazione attiva dei cittadini, nell’amministrare i territori.

Durante la seconda parte della conferenza é intervenuto il Professor Christian Iaione (Professore di Diritto Pubblico, LUISS Roma) parlando di “Collaborative Governance”: nuovo strumento per la gestione dei territori, dei Beni Comuni, delle comunità, che permette di andare oltre la dicotomia pubblico – privato e porta piuttosto alla collaborazione tra più attori che partecipano attivamente alla governance della città.