The concept of CO-city is an applied action research and experimental program run by LabGov – LABoratory for the GOVernance of the Commons in several Italian cities (Bologna, Mantova, Battipaglia, Palermo, Reggio Emilia and Rome). It was inspired by the work of Elinor Ostrom but it is grounded in a slightly different and broader theoretical and empirical framework, which takes into account the different nature of the commons under investigation through the project, namely the City and the Urban Commons. That is why its work and achievements have been linked to the Sharing Cities Network. The CO-city is implemented following a scientific field research approach based on empirical experimentation in line with a defined, constantly updated “Co-City Protocol”. This protocol generally has five to six phases:
In the case of the cities mentioned the innovation unit that spearheads the empirical experimentations envisioned in the Co-City Protocol was the Laboratory for the Governance of the Commons (LabGov) that was started-up as an urban clinic within LUISS Guido Carli University of Rome and is led by an international scientific committee and advisors, strategists, designers, managers and university students. Each experimentation run by LabGov leads “to the design of governance tools, tailored to the specific urban context. The tool could be imported; however, it should never be applied without some form of adaptation to the specific urban context” (Iaione, 2016:439).
The protocol is so far rooted in six main pillars that together produce collaborative services for neighbourhoods and communities: living together, growing together, making together, governing together, imagining together, and learning together.
The co-city’s underlying principle is that of public/civic collaboration, “whereby public institutions foster collaboration among citizens and with public administrations. As a result there is increased social capital, satisfaction with democracy, sense of belonging to the community and trust in institutions” (Iaione, 2016:437).
The CTPs presented in this timeline deal with the creation of Co-Bologna and LabGov, as key manifestations thanks to which other Co-City processes are becoming possible.
Iaione, C. (2016) “The Co-City: Sharing, Collaborating, Cooperating, and Commoning in the City” in American Journal of Economics and Sociology Vol. 75(2):415-455
Co-Cities Website: http://www.collaborative.city/
This CTP is about translating the concept of common pool resources from the natural resources sphere to the urban space and realising the importance of the “urban commons” for today’s cities.
This CTP is about the beginning of the CO-Bologna project and the communication and dissemination events organized to amplify the message that Co-Bologna is different from other co-city projects.
The seminar of December 11th 2011 called ‘The City as Urban Commons’ in Imola was a CTP in the Co-City project because it laid the theoretical and cognitive foundations of Co-Bologna.
This CTP is about the first experimental workshops in Bologna triggered by the need to put theory of urban common goods into practice following the Imola seminar of December 2011. These workshops precede the Bologna regulation of May 2014 and are conducive to it.
The establishment of LabGov and its evolution (from single faculty to multiple faculties of the LUISS Guido Carli University, Rome) are described here. LabGov was created to train a brand-new breed of “professionals and experts in the governance of urban commons”
At the beginning of 2015 LabGov began the process of stock taking and learning about opportunities and challenges encountered in the implementation of the Co-Bologna process following the Co-City Protocol including the implementation of the collaboration pacts.
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