National Network Meeting of March, 24th 2015
NaNet members and participants
The first Italian National Network meeting was held in Naples on March, 24th April 2015. 33 participants took part to the meeting, and the Cittalia staff was composed of 7 people. Among the participants, five were employed in local public administrations, five were university researchers and professors, six were professionals in start-ups and social enterprises, while the remaining 16 participants were members of local associations and grassroots initiatives.
The plenary session
Agenda Setting in NaNet meeting
The meeting has been held in different venues in the city of Naples. The two plenary session (introduction and conclusions) were held in the Department of Architecture of University of Naples Federico II. The three working groups were held in three different symbolic places of the city, as shown further in this report.
The meeting was organized into three main session.
- The opening session was introduced by NaNet coordinator on behalf of Cittalia, Massimo Allulli, who introduced the main topic of the day and summarized the previous steps of SEiSMiC project. The introduction was followed by the intervention of Soraya Zanardo from Eurocities who presented the policy watch main results and offered some cases for fostering the debate about the relation between governance and social innovation.
- After the opening session, the participants have been distributed among three working groups, that were labeled “walking groups” because they have been held in three different sites in the city, so that the participants (most of whom coming from other cities) could enter in touch with the city and its most important places in what regard social innovation. The three walking groups have been focused on the following topics:
- Governance and new urban economy. This group was held in the offices of the association CleaNap. This association was born during the waste emergency in Naples in 2011 and is composed of young citizens who voluntarily contributed in cleaning the street and in promoting urban art and quality of public spaces. At the moment the association is managing the bike sharing project in Naples. This is why the working group on urban economy was held in this place: that of “sharing economy” is the potential new paradigm for a new urban economy, based on sustainable and cooperative relations among citizens. The group was coordinated by Nora Inwinkl from the University of Rome and activist in the Solidarity Based Purchase group of Esquilino neighborhood in Rome. As a keynote, Agostino Riitano, cultural project manager, highlighted the potential role of culture as a determinant for the rise of a new urban development model.
- Governance and collaborative mapping. The meeting of the group was held in the Architecture department of University Federico II, that is at the forefront of this topic since collaborative mapping is part of the teaching activities. This group was coordinated by Ilaria Vitellio from Mappi-Na, the “alternative map of Naples”, and Professor in the laboratory on spatial analysis and collaborative mapping in the Architecture Department. As a keynote speaker, Alex Giordano from the Digital Ethnography Research Centre highlighted how the spatial analysis of social phenomenon through the use of shared data can be of crucial importance for having a better knowledge of urban challenges and potential solutions. All the participants agreed on the potential role of spatial analysis and collaborative mapping in making urban governance more open and effective. Collaborative mapping is a powerful tool for the creation of a new model of collaborative governance within which city governments and citizens cooperate in creating data and proposing solution for contemporary urban challenges. Collaborative mapping can be a tool for improving public policy in what regards city planning, strategic planning, welfare services, transport systems.
At the same time, the diffusion of collaborative mapping raises relevant questions in what regards issues such as the property of data, the institutional validation of data, the use of data for producing public policies, the resources to be used for the implementation of maps.
- Governance, open data and civic hacking. This group was held in “Quartiere Intelligente” (Smart Neighborhood), a formerly abandoned area that has been recently recovered through the voluntary work of citizens and is now used for meetings, co-working, urban gardening. The working group has been coordinated by Daniela Vellutino, Professor at the University of Salerno and coordinator of the “Diritto di Accesso Civico” project, whose aim is that of training journalists and civil servants in using open data in executing their professional duties. As evidenced by the working group coordinator, public administrations should guarantee the quality of data through a “semantic vocabulary of data and metadata”. As a result, the working group highlighted the importance of a collaboration between public administration, researchers and practitioners in making open data available and reliable. The discussant in this thematic group, Gianluca De Martino, is among the promoters of the platform Confiscati Bene, promoting information and open data on the issue of the contrast of organized crime in Italy.
- After the working groups and the lunch break, a plenary session was held to draw the conclusions of the meeting. This session was aimed at creating a link between the results of the three working groups and at generating ideas and proposals on urban governance and social innovation. The speakers in the plenary session were:
- Paolo Testa. As director of Cittalia and responsible of Italian Observatory of Smart Cities (on behalf of ANCI, National Association of Italian Municipalities), he highlighted the importance of creating links of the “SEiSMiC community” and that of public officers already engaged in creating a network of smart cities.
- Alessandra Clementi, Deputy Mayor of Naples in charge of Innovation, Creativity and policies for young people, stressed how as a member of a city government she has the intention to rely on the innovative ideas and energies that emerged from the meeting.
- Mario Losasso, Professor and Director of the Department of Architecture presented an example of requalification of a public space conduced with a collaboration of University, City Government and citizens, that of the “Galleria Principe” in Naples.
- Christian Iaione, Professor of Law and Scientific Director at LabGov-Laboratory for the Governance of Commons, presented the concept of “collaborative governance” that, going beyond participation, is based on “collaborative relationships between citizens, administrations and business to share the scarce resources in their individual availability to take care of the commons, tangible or intangible, of urban and local communities” (www.labgov.it).
- Stefano Consiglio, professor of Business Organization evidenced the risk entailed by the diffusion of a discourse based on social innovation in governance processes. The risk is that of a de-responsabilization of local governments in providing public services. Social innovation and collaborative governance should not mean that local governments stop producing services but rather that new services integrate the existing ones. Moreover, citizens pay taxes and they should not be asked to do themselves what they have already paid for.
- Elena Guidorzi, from Centre for Strategy & Evaluation Services presented the activities and topics of the UK NaNet, highlighting the common interests of Italian and British NaNets and the possible transnational project to be carried on jointly.
Some conclusions on social innovation and urban governance
The innovation of governance emerged within working groups and plenary session can be summarized in the following points:
- Collaborative governance as a new paradigm going beyond hierarchy and simple participation to foster the involvement of citizens (as individuals or in organized groups) in all the phases of urban policy.
- New urban governance should proceed encourage the new paradigm of sharing economy and local sustainable economy in cities, through the facilitation (in terms of rules, opportunities, information, funding…) of experiences such as urban agriculture, social streets, co-working, fab-labs etc.
- Urban governance should make a massive use of data. These data should be open, transparent and reliable. The data should be produced both by public administration and citizens. There are many tools to share data and information with citizens. One of the most promising is that of collaborative mapping, through which citizens can upload data and information on the most important urban phenomena (waste, mobility, poverty, art, events, etc…) and share them with city governments and other citizens through their smartphone and computers.
- This new governance also entails the risk of a de-responsabilization of local governments in providing public services. Social innovation and collaborative governance should not mean that local governments stop producing services but rather that new services integrate the existing ones. Moreover, citizens pay taxes and they should not be asked to do themselves what they have already paid for.
The map of the NaNet meeting venues