The role of urban commons in the reactivation of urban voids: insights from the Danisinni case in Palermo, Italy
Ever since Elinor Ostrom’s theorisation of natural common-pool resources in 1990, the commons theoretical framework has been applied to a variety of resources, from cultural goods to urban assets. The research specifically investigates urban commons and their role in urban regeneration through the case study of Danisinni, a neighbourhood in Palermo which has been subject to a reactivation process for the past eight years: here, after an initial phase of isolation, commoners, municipal authorities and local arts institutions have engaged in a process of shared governance which resulted in the revitalisation of the local economy. The Danisinni case sheds a light on a multi-scalar “third way” in urban regeneration, encompassing the conventional dichotomy between top-down and bottom-up processes and opposing the notion of the urban commons as isolated, conflictual stances. The research advances commons theory by identifying a shift from ownership to relations of production in the commons definition and provides insights on how commons are more likely to survive in the urban environment by engaging with external stakeholders.