Communitarian Management Framework - Barcelona

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GeCo Living Lab:

“In this line, the City of Barcelona passed a municipal ordinance setting up and protecting the “communitarian management framework” called “Patrimoni Ciutadà”. According to the Spanish and the Catalan legal system, “communitarian management” is a quite innovative formula enabling citizens and neighbors to manage, control, arrange, run, and decide which kind of activities and which kind of management they want for their “citizen heritage”, mostly referring to old urban voids and important historical buildings. Although this might constitute a “de facto” social practice taking place in various municipalities from a long time ago, this is the very first time this “customary” practice has been translated into formal legal norms. The common ground of these public policies is to set forth a new way of conceiving the relationship between public administrations and communities. Indeed, they implement a relationship which is not vertical (or top-down), but rather authentically horizontal and inspired by the principle of subsidiarity.

Put in other words, these policies enact a legal regime which is based on the peer collaboration of communities and public bodies in the management and stewardship of the public space. We call this kind of agreements public-civic partnerships. This phenomenon is extremely relevant, since it overturns the traditional underpinnings of administrative and public action, which sees the only possible alliance with the private sector in terms of “public-private partnership”, where the private partner is usually a market stakeholder set up in the form of an incorporated actor. Public-civic partnerships arising from the co-management of urban commons show how the public can find an ally in another form of non-public actor: local communities and groups (even informal groups) of citizens. Precisely because of this innovative strand, the concept of private-civic partnership has started to be debated both in legal scholarship and administrative practice. However, publications on the matter are not as many as could be expected. This is mostly due to a lack of a reasonably comprehensive database of the main experiences enacting this innovative way of urban governance, which being very local is, of course, likewise very scattered.” (