The LABoratory for the GOVernance of Commons (“LabGov“) is a place of experimentation in all respects. However, instead of alembics and tubes you can find students, scholars, experts, activists thinking and discussing about the future shapes that social, economic and legal institutions may take.
LabGov was created, on the impulse of the LUISS Guido Carli Department of Political Science to train a brand-new breed of professionals, the “experts in the governance of urban commons.” These are young women and men able to create forms of partnerships between citizens, NGOs, public administrations, and local business fostering the smart specialization of urban and local communities. Today, LabGov is an independently run organization that continues with its roots of collaboration and the urban commons.
The crisis has impoverished all of us from an individual standpoint (i.e. the institutional capability, the property of private goods). Thus, the only way to be able to maintain a high quality of life is to create a new institutional and economic system based on the model of “civic collaboration”, “collaborative governance of the commons” and “circular subsidiarity”, according to which public institutions shall favor all citizens, as individuals or in associative forms, willing to care for the general interest. The implementation of this model requires specific competences that are exactly those that LabGov aims to create.
As part of its activities, LabGov involves about thirty students in a yearly series of workshops mixing theoretical training, soft skills training and real in-the-field action. Considering its nature as an in-house clinic and place of experimentation, LabGov continues its work beyond these workshops acting as a “gymnasium” for future social and institutional designers, engineers and innovators, engaging them in research, training, project management, and communication activities.
LabGov is based on the idea that, in order to achieve social and institutional regeneration, it is necessary to create collaborative relationships between citizens, administrations and businesses to share the scarce resources and to take care of the commons, whether tangible or intangible, in urban and local communities.
LabGov also engages with organizations and local governments in order to develop projects, regulations, and policies surrounding the urban commons. After significantly contributing to “Le città come beni comuni” Fondazione del Monte project and the drafting of the “Bologna regulation on public collaboration for urban commons“, the establishment of the CO-Mantova cultural and knowledge commons-based territorial pact of collaboration, the collaborative urban land use regulation “Battipaglia Collabora“, LabGov is currently working on the “Bologna città collaborativa” Fondazione del Monte project to implement the Regulation and foster the idea of public collaboration in the city of Bologna, the CO-Roma project to design a collaborative urban mobility plan to regulate and run the urban roads as a commons, and the CO-Palermo project to establish a regeneration agency for industrial and cultural commons. In November 2015, LabGov hosted a global conference on the urban commons entitled “The City as a Commons,” which successfully brought hundreds of international scholars on the urban commons together in Bologna, Italy.
LabGov’s activities are currently developed under the umbrella of a joint venture between two world-renowned research institutions, LUISS International Center on Democracy and Democratization led by Professor Leonardo Morlino and Fordham Urban Law Center led by Professor Sheila Foster. This partnership will enable LabGov to develop the international research and experimentation protocol “Co-Cities” to design the city of the future based on the governance of urban commons, collaborative land use, social innovation, sharing economy, collaborative economy. LabGov’s activities are coordinated by professor Christian Iaione.
The P2P Foundation is a global network of researchers, activists, and citizens monitoring and promoting actions geared towards a transition to a Commons-based society. It is a decentralized, self-organized, globally distributed community building an information-commons ecosystem for the growing P2P/Commons movement. It examines both the digital and the material worlds, their freedoms and restrictions, scarcities and abundances. It is an incubator and catalyst, focusing on the “missing pieces” and the interconnectedness that can lead to a wider movement.
Sheila R. Foster is University Professor and the Albert A. Walsh Professor of Real Estate, Land Use and Property Law at Fordham University. She is also the faculty co-director of the Fordham Urban Law Center and the founder of the Fordham University Urban Consortium. She served as Vice Dean of the Law School from 2011-2014 and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from 2008-2011. Professor Foster is the author of numerous publications on land use, environmental law, and antidiscrimination law. Her early work was dedicated to exploring the intersection of civil rights and environmental law, in a field called “environmental justice.” Her most recent work explores the legal and theoretical frameworks in which urban land use decisions are made. Land use scholars voted her article on Collective Action and the Urban Commons (Notre Dame Law Review, 2011) as one of the 5 best (out of 100) articles on land use published that year. Professor Foster is the recipient of two Ford Foundation grants for her on environmental justice and urban development. Professor Foster is also the coauthor of a recent groundbreaking casebook, Comparative Equality and Antidiscrimination Law: Cases, Codes, Constitutions and Commentary (Foundation Press, 2012). She has taught and conducted research internationally in Switzerland, Italy, France, England, Austria, Colombia, Panama, and Cuba.
“Michel Bauwens is the founder of the Foundation for Peer-to-Peer Alternatives and works in collaboration with a global group of researchers in the exploration of peer production, governance, and property. He has co-produced the 3-hour TV documentary Technocalyps with Frank Theys, and co-edited the two-volume book on anthropology of digital society with Salvino Salvaggio. Michel was Primavera Research Fellow at the University of Amsterdam and external expert at the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences (2008, 2012). In Belgium, he published a best-selling interview transcript, with Jean Lievens, ‘De Wereld Redden, met peer to peer naar een post-kapitalistische samenleving’, which is nearing its third printing after a few weeks (February 2014), with an updated French-language edition, ‘Sauver le Monde’. Palgrave-Macmillan produced an academic book, co-written with Vasilis Kostakis: “Network Society and Future Scenarios for a Collaborative Economy”
Michel Bauwens is a member of the Board of the Union of International Associations (Brussels), advisor to Ouishare (Paris) and Shareable magazine (San Francisco) and ShareLex. He is also scientific advisor to the “Association Les Rencontres du Mont-Blanc, Forum International des Dirigeants de l’Economie Sociale et Solidaire” (2013-) and advized the Advisory Board for the ‘Fourth International Conference on Degrowth for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity’. He functioned as the Chair of the Technology/ICT working group, Hangwa Forum (Beijing, Sichuan), to develop economic policies for long-term resilience, including through distributed manufacturing. He has written editorials for Al Jazeera English  and other media outlets. He is listed at #82, on the Post Growth Institute (En)Rich list, http://enrichlist.org/the-list/ .
In the first semester of 2014, Michel Bauwens was the research director of the transition project towards the social knowledge economy, an official project in Ecuador (see floksociety.org). This project produced a first integrated Commons Transition Plan for the government of Ecuador, in order to create a ‘social knowledge economy’, with fifteen associated policy papers. The strategic framing of the plan is available at http://commonstransition.org . In the spring and summer of 2016, Michel was Honorary Fellow/Visiting Scholar with the Havens Center at UW-Madison, as an ‘activist in resident’ funded by the Link Foundation, to produce a major rewrite of the 2005 P2P Manifesto, ‘P2P and Human Evolution’, in the context of the Real Utopias series edited by Erik Olin Wright. The manuscript will outline a coherent ‘multi-modal’ approach to the commons transition.
Michel currently lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand, has taught at Payap University and Dhurakij Pandit University’s International College, as well as IBICT, Rio de Janeiro. He is a founding member of the Commons Strategies Group, with Silke Helfrich and David Bollier, organizing major global conferences on the commons and its economics. In his first business career, Michel worked for USIA, British Petroleum, riverland Publications, Belgacom, and created two internet start-ups, respectively on intranet/extranets (E-Com) and interactive marketing (KyberCo), which were sold to Alcatel and Tagora Holdings.”
Christian Iaione is associate professor of public law at Guglielmo Marconi University of Rome, fellow of the Urban Law Center at Fordham University, and visiting professor of governance of the commons at LUISS Guido Carli where he directs LabGov – LABoratory for the GOVernance of the Commons (www.labgov.it). He has been the expert of the EU Committee of the Regions who drafted the opinion on the “Local and regional dimension of the sharing economy“. He is member of the Sharing Economy International Advisory Board of the Seoul Metropolitan Government and e advisor of several Italian local governments and institutions (Tuscany Region, City of Rome, City of Bologna, City of Reggio Emilia).
Graduated in Law at LUISS Guido Carli, he earned an LL.M. in Government Economic Regulation at NYU School of Law and received his PhD in European and Comparative Public Administration at Sapienza Business School. In 1999 he has been visiting at Boalt Hall University of California, Berkeley, and in 2000-2001 he was intern for the European Commission in Brussels and at the International Law Institute in Washington D.C. From 2002 through 2006 Christian practiced law with Allen & Overy and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. From 2002 through 2008 he has been research fellow in public law and economics at Sapienza Business School. In 2005-2006 Christian has been land use professor at LUMSA University in Rome. In 2006-2007 he has been Emile Noël Fellow at la NYU School of Law Jean Monnet Center. In 2007-2008 he has been visiting scholar at the Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management of the NYU Wagner School of Public Service. From 2009 through 2014 he was assistant professor at Cusano University. In 2011-2012 he taught Federalism and multilevel governance at Sapienza Business School. From 2008 through 2011 he has been editor-in-chief and from 2012 through 2014 director of Labsus – Laboratorio per la sussidiarietà. In 2010-2011 Christian directed the Rock Your School project and in 2011-2013 the City as a Commons project and was on the working group drafting the Bologna Regulation on public collaboration for urban commons. In 2014 he directed the Co-Mantova project, the first pact of collaboration for a community-led economic development process based on cultural, knowledge, environmental and urban commons, sharing economy and social innovation. In 2015 he is leading the Battipaglia Collabora project, the first urban strategic planning based on social innovation, regeneration of cultural, environmental and urban commons and sharing economy, and the CO-Bologna process, the second stage of the Bologna City as a commons project. As part of the CO-Bologna process, Christian was co-chair of the first IASC thematic conference on the urban commons “The City as a Commons“.
Christian has published several articles in the field of public and administrative law and, in particular, land use, public goods and the commons, public services and public contracts, urban law and local government. He has authored two books on In house publicly-owned companies. Contribution to the principle of self-organizatin and self-production of local governments (Jovene, 2007 – 2012, II ed.) and The regulation of urban mobility (Jovene, 2008) and has co-authored Italy of the Commons (Carocci, 2012) and The Age of Sharing (Carocci, 2015). Iaione’s current research focus is on the governance of the commons, in particular urban commons and knowledge commons, sharing economy, collaborative economy, social innovation, and public-private-commons partnerships.