Moving Cities
Inspiring Approaches

NaplesThe Urban Commons Charter

What is inspiring?

The city has launched an innovative urban commons charter (one of its kind in Italy) to create self-managed collective spaces. As a result, plots of land and properties owned by the City are considered part of the commons to be used for social purposes.

How does it operate?

The urban commons are defined through a process of collaboration between the city council and civil society. When a vacant building is or starts to be used informally by the local community for social, political, or cultural purposes and is recognised by the local Naples government to be of common public interest, a provision regulating its “civic use” is made. The provision defines the rights, duties and responsibilities for using the particular vacant building as a common good. The provision also defines the self-management structures, guarantees of public access and collective use, the principles of cooperation and co-management, financial resources for the site management, and sustainability principles. On the grounds of this provision, the initiative is officially allowed to use the building complex.

What is the outcome?

As a result of the charter, several services and initiatives aimed at migrants set themselves up in premises falling under the urban commons scheme. The most important of these is a social centre that serves as a venue for political organising on migrant rights and the political representation of migrants and refugees.

Who initiated the project? How?

“During the last decade, the city of Naples has been experimenting with new urban governance tools to give new life to abandoned and/or deprived buildings. Different movements and informal organisations have highlighted the need for such spaces to be used and managed by city inhabitants in common through self-organization mechanisms. The city of Naples carved out the policy based on several city council resolutions bringing city inhabitants to the centre of the decision-making process. By revisiting the legal institution of ‘civic use’ and adapting it to the urban context, the administration has formalised a new form of participatory governance that intends to go beyond the classic ‘concession agreement model’ which is based on a dichotomous view of the public-private partnership.”

All inspiring approaches