The current planetary era, as the Covid19 outbreak is demonstrating, is marked by the “localization of the global” and simultaneously by the “globalization of the local” (see, e.g., Eade, 1996; Lovink and Riemens, 2001). The pandemic, just like other “forces” as climate change, is highlighting this double dimension pushing for a reshaping of the glocal scenario. During the lockdown, thousands of people all over the world had to work, study, buy food, communicate with loved ones using an Internet connection, and we witness the emergence of disconnected communities able to be internally cohesive and at the same time interconnected as social units, expression of forms of community engagement (Fedorowicz et al. 2020). As Saskia Sassen already wrote in 2001, “recovering how the new digital technology can serve to support local initiatives and alliances across a city’s neighbourhoods is extremely important in an age where the notion of the local is often seen as losing ground to global dynamics and actors” (p.415). In this changing scenario, cities and their communities represent the privileged unit of analysis in the tension between global and local (Storper et al. 2012, Sennet 2018): they are the crucial spaces where to rebuild the access to basic activities in a necessary new urbanity (Boone et al. 2014), where to face glocal issues – as the virus one – while pursuing a fair, inclusive and sustainable development for all. To do it, the cities functioning needs to be rethought and reimagined around two axes: one related to urban planning and to the concept of proximity (that matches with the local level) and the other one related to the Internet and the digital tools (which connects to the global/cosmo level). In terms of proximity, the Covid19 lockdown has demonstrated that citizens need to live in polycentric cities in order to access services from lots of centres inside a city (among the others: Mela 2018); in terms of Internet connection and digital tools, cities can fruitfully rely on those key assets (Kunzmann 2020) as long as they consider their double orientation – market-based and society-based – since it brings to different outputs at urban level; how cities respond to this double soul and to the challenges related to redistributive justice and inequalities posed by digital networked technologies (Robinson et al. 2020) should be embedded in the rethinking of urban governance. This allows to understand whether and how technologies can enhance equal access, social justice and the protection of human rights, reducing digital divide and favouring sustainable, fair and inclusive development. Starting from these considerations, the following section proposes a reflection on the existing tension between proximity and technology, relying on different streams of literature that somehow have already investigated this connection. Section three presents the theoretical framework of the Cities as a Commons (Foster and Iaione 2016, 2019) as an urban vision able to solve the tension between proximity and technology in a more structured way, leading to a fair, sustainable and inclusive development. The Foster & Iaione’s theory serves as background to read, understand and highlight the importance of community-based solutions and technological assets, and new governance models to build and deliver social infrastructure and services such as housing, food, energy, mobility and education; and to face the digital divide in deprived areas. Section four briefly presents some empirical expressions of the self-sufficient/self-sustaining city: urban experimentations that embodies new ways of community’s creation and management that guarantee diversity and inclusion. The contribution has an explorative nature based on a theory formulation and wants to open a reflection on the importance of creating and implementing self-sufficient and self-sustaining communities able to react to further future shock. It stresses that, within the currently dominant urban visions of the smart and sharing city, and in light of the effects of Covid19 in cities, an urban co-governance model based on sharing, collaboration, cooperation, polycentrism, can allow co-creation and social-digital innovations oriented to a sustainable, fair and inclusive development. Nevertheless, commoning processes should be based on technological justice principles, intended as legal and empirical dimensions to steer city policies towards a more just and democratic city.

Commoning for a self-sustaining city: experimentations between technology and proximity towards a commons-based urban welfare state / Iaione, Fernando Christian; Bernardi, Monica; De Nictolis, Elena. - (In corso di stampa), pp. ---.

Commoning for a self-sustaining city: experimentations between technology and proximity towards a commons-based urban welfare state

Christian Fernando Iaione
;
Elena De Nictolis
In corso di stampa

Abstract

The current planetary era, as the Covid19 outbreak is demonstrating, is marked by the “localization of the global” and simultaneously by the “globalization of the local” (see, e.g., Eade, 1996; Lovink and Riemens, 2001). The pandemic, just like other “forces” as climate change, is highlighting this double dimension pushing for a reshaping of the glocal scenario. During the lockdown, thousands of people all over the world had to work, study, buy food, communicate with loved ones using an Internet connection, and we witness the emergence of disconnected communities able to be internally cohesive and at the same time interconnected as social units, expression of forms of community engagement (Fedorowicz et al. 2020). As Saskia Sassen already wrote in 2001, “recovering how the new digital technology can serve to support local initiatives and alliances across a city’s neighbourhoods is extremely important in an age where the notion of the local is often seen as losing ground to global dynamics and actors” (p.415). In this changing scenario, cities and their communities represent the privileged unit of analysis in the tension between global and local (Storper et al. 2012, Sennet 2018): they are the crucial spaces where to rebuild the access to basic activities in a necessary new urbanity (Boone et al. 2014), where to face glocal issues – as the virus one – while pursuing a fair, inclusive and sustainable development for all. To do it, the cities functioning needs to be rethought and reimagined around two axes: one related to urban planning and to the concept of proximity (that matches with the local level) and the other one related to the Internet and the digital tools (which connects to the global/cosmo level). In terms of proximity, the Covid19 lockdown has demonstrated that citizens need to live in polycentric cities in order to access services from lots of centres inside a city (among the others: Mela 2018); in terms of Internet connection and digital tools, cities can fruitfully rely on those key assets (Kunzmann 2020) as long as they consider their double orientation – market-based and society-based – since it brings to different outputs at urban level; how cities respond to this double soul and to the challenges related to redistributive justice and inequalities posed by digital networked technologies (Robinson et al. 2020) should be embedded in the rethinking of urban governance. This allows to understand whether and how technologies can enhance equal access, social justice and the protection of human rights, reducing digital divide and favouring sustainable, fair and inclusive development. Starting from these considerations, the following section proposes a reflection on the existing tension between proximity and technology, relying on different streams of literature that somehow have already investigated this connection. Section three presents the theoretical framework of the Cities as a Commons (Foster and Iaione 2016, 2019) as an urban vision able to solve the tension between proximity and technology in a more structured way, leading to a fair, sustainable and inclusive development. The Foster & Iaione’s theory serves as background to read, understand and highlight the importance of community-based solutions and technological assets, and new governance models to build and deliver social infrastructure and services such as housing, food, energy, mobility and education; and to face the digital divide in deprived areas. Section four briefly presents some empirical expressions of the self-sufficient/self-sustaining city: urban experimentations that embodies new ways of community’s creation and management that guarantee diversity and inclusion. The contribution has an explorative nature based on a theory formulation and wants to open a reflection on the importance of creating and implementing self-sufficient and self-sustaining communities able to react to further future shock. It stresses that, within the currently dominant urban visions of the smart and sharing city, and in light of the effects of Covid19 in cities, an urban co-governance model based on sharing, collaboration, cooperation, polycentrism, can allow co-creation and social-digital innovations oriented to a sustainable, fair and inclusive development. Nevertheless, commoning processes should be based on technological justice principles, intended as legal and empirical dimensions to steer city policies towards a more just and democratic city.
Commoning for a self-sustaining city: experimentations between technology and proximity towards a commons-based urban welfare state / Iaione, Fernando Christian; Bernardi, Monica; De Nictolis, Elena. - (In corso di stampa), pp. ---.
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