How Bologna is Regenerating the Urban Commons



(with thanks from Wendy Brawer of Green Map!)

“Here’s the problem: There is a crucial legal gap in the management of cities — it is often illegal for citizens to improve or maintain public spaces, parks, abandoned buildings, and other urban commons that directly impact their lives. Regulation using institutional technology and public collaboration is necessary to mitigate this issue.


Here’s how one organization is working on the problem: In 2014, the city of Bologna in Italy adopted the Regulation on Collaboration Between Citizens and the City for the Care and Regeneration of Urban Commons and launched “the city as a commons” project. The regulation and project represent a new and important legal and administrative framework for citizens to directly care for urban commons in Bologna and beyond.

Behind the scenes, the Fondazione del Monte di Bologna and RavennaLabGov, and innovators within the city paved the way with two years of field experiments applying co-governance methods to the management of urban commons. The bulk of the learning was accomplished through three “urban experimentation labs” with citizens and essential urban resources such as green spaces and abandoned buildings. The output of the research was the world’s first regulation and administrative process outlining how cities and the citizens can collaborate to co-manage urban commons.

A key tool supporting the regulation are “collaboration pacts.” A collaboration pact defines the specific commons in question and the rules for collaboration between stakeholders, including the city government. Collaboration pacts can be designed and signed by a single individual, informal groups, communities, and nonprofit organizations. They regulate both single, short-term interventions and long-term care of the urban commons. The regulation also fosters the creation of hyperlocal institutions for urban co-governance like community cooperatives, neighborhood foundations, and block consortia. Importantly, the regulation provides for the transfer of technical and monetary support from the city government to citizens. It also promotes citizen action in five categories: social innovation and collaborative services, urban creativity, digital innovation, collaborative communication, and collaborative tools and practices that foster urban commoning.


  • More than 180 collaboration pacts have been signed in Bologna since the approval of the regulation. The regulation, collaboration pacts, and associated administrative processes have become an “administrative good practice” on a global basis. The regulation has also triggered the design of a broad urban co-governance program. Building on the success of the regulation, Bologna launched “Collaborare è Bologna” (CO-Bologna), an innovative public policy with two main purposes:
    • Coordinating several projects and policies on the regeneration of the urban commons through social innovation and collaborative economy….
    • The long-term goal of the project is to lay the foundation for the transformation of Bologna into a co-city with a robust collaborative ecosystem. Building on the care and regeneration of the city, efforts will now to focus on meeting people’s basic needs by developing the local collaborative economy and leveraging collaborations between the public, private, and commons sectors.

Learn more from:


This case study is adapted from our latest book, “Sharing Cities: Activating the Urban Commons.” Get a copy today.”

State Senator Brian Kavanagh’s Community Convention

Take advantage of this opportunity!! (Spanish, Chinese, English flyers below)

….breakout groups focusing on various topics including public housing, civic participation, resiliency, senior rights, preserving our communities and much more…!


Ban Income Bias in NY – Deadline to Register is Today!

“Revising the People’s Charter with Open Minds”

This is an important read for NYC:

(Gale Brewer is Manhattan Borough President and Letitia James is Public Advocate)


Revision of the City Charter, our central governing document, should not be a one-person show, focused on a single issue. Over the last 25 years, charter …[r]evisions have largely been narrow and myopic…

We believe this city can do better. A new charter revision commission, which was approved Wednesday by the City Council, can and should be truly democratic and capable of broad systemic reform without predetermined conclusions.

We support campaign finance reform, but also believe that the city’s land use, budget, and planning processes must be overhauled. We want to see the creation of a charter revision commission…we proposed a commission…that would examine the charter as a whole, without preconditions or marching orders.

…what we really want is a truly independent commission that will enter the process with open ears and open minds – something that the entire City Council agrees with. Everything should be on the table, nothing should be off limits, and the final product should not be preordained by anyone. We proposed this as elected officials whose very offices have been threatened with elimination in past revisions, so it should be clear we have the courage of our convictions…

…The people of this city deserve an independent commission that will not be directed to take a specific action, but charged with the responsibility to look at the whole picture and bring its recommendations to the people….

…The mayor’s commission can move forward and pursue the ‘democracy agenda’ he envisions. Meanwhile his four appointees can join our commission for an open discussion of what else our charter needs to do to grow and change along with the city. The City Council has already expressed its support and, if the mayor will join us, we can all come together to do what’s best for the people of New York.”


Spring 2018 Rivington House

Spring Beginnings SDR Park

Photo: Justin Ladda of Allen Street Mall

Tompkins Square Park Recycle E-Waste!

Fresh Farm Fruits, Veges, and More! Saturday April 21st in the M’Finda Kalunga Garden!!!



From October 9, 1996 Villager Article on SDR Park


Tyrone, Bob, James, Jenifer, Kate


Pay particular attention to the quote from Bob Humber in the last column.


Bob Humber Soul of M’Finda Kalunga Garden and his Crew!

Cathy, Debra, Bob, Nikisha