Today we had a call with my old friend Michele D’Alena, who leads the Fondazione per l’innovazione urbana. The foundation’s partners are the city hall and the university of Bologna; with its Urban imagination office, and supported by a city hall who has accepted the requests of Extinction Rebellion, it represents the tip of the spear of advanced urban governance in Italy.
Michele was one of the speakers in the panel organized by Edgeryders at the Creative Bureaucracy Festival in Berlin in September. We had the opportunity to catch up; he liked where Edgeryders seems to be going with EarthOS, and forewarned me that he would get in touch to discuss possible collaborations.
Areas for collaboration
They are working on:
- A “proximity” governance model. The Foundation (with a staff of 20-25 people) assigned individual people to each neighborhood. Staffers spend most of their time in the hood, getting to know the local people and the very rich tissue of small NGOs and informal groups. This seems a great way to foster trust, and to govern a diverse, democratic society (for example, Bologna is the only European city with a strong movement against Airbnb.
- Spaces. They just acquired from Rete Ferrovie Italiane a 2,000 square meter hangar, formerly used for railway materiel. They are trying to develop a “mixed” model which is not residential+work+social, like our own Reef, but (precarious) work + sport and leisure + services. Their goal is to serve the 4,000 workers of the gig economy in Bologna, which are already a political subject in town (the riders are even unionized). A brilliant intuition by Michele and his team is the idea to talk to Unipol, Italy’s cooperative insurance giant, to “bundle” social insurance and access to credit with the use of the space. I would like to bake this idea into The Reef!
- Urban greening, as per Extinction Rebellion’s goals.
Of course, this is a super interesting and prestigious partnership for Edgeryders. Over the last seven years, Bologna has been very successful in attracting European money: 70 million EUR!
What they need is money for their projects. We reckon we can get them from Horizon projects, Climate-KIC’s funds and others.
Bologna plans to apply to a Horizon 2020 GOVERNANCE call (deadline: March 12 2020). They already applied to the same call last year; they did not win, but got a high scoring and were encouraged to re-apply. They propose we join the partnership, which includes Barcelona and others. Valeria (Foundation) is going to get in touch with us with the relevant information and the concept note (ping @marina).
@ilaria to connect with Mauro (Foundation) on possible participation to C-KIC’s own calls. This interaction should also figure out if Bologna is interested in The Reef as a model.