Commons Protection as a Development Tool

I’ll be in Milano next week, moderating a session that focusses on „cultural heritage, environment and mafia-confiscated assets“ through a commons lense. Sounds like there will be new perspectives to learn from.

„Commons protection as a development tool: Cultural heritage, environment and mafia-confiscated assets“ 

Designed by Fondazione CON IL SUD and Enel Cuore Onlus

The organizers write:

We strongly believe that commons made available to local communities, through civil society organisations, allow citizens to regain possession of spaces, ethics, shared values, beauty, history and culture, but also to trigger viable development processes.

Three concrete case studies will be presented to foster a lively, colourful and engaging debate:

  • How a gorgeous sea view villa seized from Mafia can support both youth education to the rule of law and economic local development through the creation of a school of cooking; the thesis is, that mafia confiscated assets are common goods that can create opportunity for the civil society; and here is an example: Cambio Rotta.
  • How a former slaughterhouse can be converted into an arts centre that promotes community development, cultural and historical heritage;
  • Urban organic garden as a way to improve communities’ quality of life, reducing environmental impact and promoting sustainable behaviour.

So, through powerful case studies and debate, this session explores the role of philanthropic foundations (good to know they have an eye on the topic) and the scope of investing in commons protection in three main areas:

• Fostering youth education to promote the rule of law, also through the social and economic exploitation of assets seized from the mafia;

• Helping community development through the protection and exploitation of cultural and historical heritage;

• Social agriculture, zero impact living, and environmental protection – ideas to improve communities’ quality of life, reducing environmental impact;

Wednesday, May 20th at 2.30pm

MiCo – Milano Congressi, Milan 

Piazzale Carlo Magno, 1, Room Yellow 2


Silke Helfrich – Commons Strategies Group


Giovanna Di Girolamo, Vice President of Consorzio Ulisse;
Francesco Orsini, Researcher at the Dept of Agricultural Sciences of Bologna University;
Carlota Alvarez Baso, director of Matadero Madrid.

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