Cities as Commons

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= "The project “Cities as Commons” has demonstrated that a partnership between public administrations and citizens is today possible".



"Labsus – Laboratorio per la sussidiarietà, Centro Antartide with the support and involvement of the municipality of Bologna and through the founding of Del Monte Foundation have launched in the city of Bologna, during this year, several labs within the project “cities as commons“, officially unveiled on October 17 during a press conference." (


"The project “Cities as Commons” ( has demonstrated that a partnership between public administrations and citizens is today possible. Public administrations shall no longer govern only on behalf of citizens, but also together with citizens, acknowledging that citizens may represent a powerful and reliable ally capable of unleashing a great source of energy, talents, resources, capabilities and ideas that may be harnessed to improve the quality of life of a community or help contribute to its survival.

The Cities as Commons project started in June 2012 thanks to the support of Fondazione del Monte di Bologna and Ravenna. The City of Bologna was advised by Professors Arena and Iaione, respectively president and director of the Laboratory for subsidiarity – Labsus. Labsus in the last ten years devoted all its efforts to support, collect and analyze cases of collaborative governance through its website ( with the aim to demonstrate how this model of government could be useful to update the traditional paradigm of government. The project applied an empirical approach and, after a training program with City officials and local civic leaders, facilitated the birth of partnerships between the City and local residents with regards to the management of three urban commons (e.g. a public square, a piece of the lengthy network of the so-called “portici” and a public building, all assets in need of cooperative placemaking). On the basis of the lessons learned on the field and all the necessary tests and analysis on the current regulation, three City officials and Labsus experts, Arena and Iaione, received from the Mayor of Bologna the mandate to draft an innovative piece of local regulation form. The draft was then subject to public consultation and reviewed by some of the most prominent Italian scholars of administrative law." (