Sheila R. Foster and Christian Iaione have been recently guests of David Bollier on his podcast “Frontiers of Commoning” (episode 37). The interview was an opportunity to present their last publication, “Co-Cities: Innovative Transitions Toward Just and Self-Sustaining Communities”, discussing the recent developments of their studies and remembering previous achievements. In this regard, it was very interesting to hear about the “Bologna Regulation for the Care and Regeneration of Urban Commons”, a formal legal and bureaucratic system for coordinating citizen collaboration with the city government, developed by professor Iaione.

Leveraging citizen energies coordinating it in an horizontal relationship with governments, civic and private players and knowledge institutions is also the core principle of  “LabGov  – the Laboratory for the Governance of the City as a Commons, which in Bollier’s opinion represents a virtuous example of a new form of civic collaboration.

Different urban settings lead to different possible ways to build urban commons, this was the following topic discussed, this meaning that taking into account the specific uniqueness of every urban context is the only way to create a socially balanced and inclusive contest. A larger conceptual able to embrace different histories and personalities, which Foster and Iaione call “co-city protocol”:  knowing, mapping, practicing, prototyping, testing, and modelling are its elements.

Iaione particularly stressed out the point of testing affirming that despite failure is always behind the corner in this type of projects, it doesn’t have to be a brake but an incentive. In fact, failure in the end has led to the “neighborhood-based energy co-ops” in Italy and elsewhere in Europe, giving communities a crucial role in the decision making process about energy production and distribution.


At this link you can find the podcast conversation:

And here you can find a blog on the conversation, by David Bollier: