CO-Reggio Emilia is a process promoted by the municipality of Reggio Emilia in collaboration with the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia and with the scientific, strategical and organizational support of LabGov (LABoratorio per la GOVernance dei beni comuni) and Kilowatt.

The CO-Reggio Emilia process begins with #CollaboratorioRe, a co-design path that will lead to the creation of the Open Laboratory (Laboratorio Aperto) of Reggio Emilia. #CollaboratorioRe aims at creating the first incubator of sharing and pooling economy of Reggio Emilia, a new urban actor that will revolutionize the way we think about the city and will emphasize the role that civic collaboration should play in the care and management of the urban commons.


The path of #CollaboratorioRe will enable us to collectively define the subject that will take care of both the physical space (The Saint Peter Cloister, Chiostri di San Pietro, part of an historic monastery and built in the Renaissance -1524, 1584- that will be  regenerated by the Reggio Emilia Municipality, through a regional program) but also of a new economic institution. The Saint Peter cloisters will host the Open Laboratory, a public-private structure for experimenting innovative solutions the field of social services and innovative entrepreneurship.The Open Laboratory will be a place for experimentation, a space where new forms of democracy and economy will be practiced, employment and new  skills  will be created, innovative solutions able to answer to the needs of individuals and  the community of Reggio Emilia will be collaboratively created.

The Open Lab will therefore constitute an infrastructure through which the principles of  local economic democracy, outlined in the Italian Constitutions, might be implemented. The Lab will be open to all those actors who believe in the importance of fulfilling their “political, economic and social solidarity duty” (Art. 2, Italian Constitution) and are willing to contribute to the “material or spiritual progress of society” (Art. 4, Italian Constitution). The Open Lab aims at generating cultural and cognitive institutions that will be open and collaborative (Art. 9 and 33, Italian Constitution) but also at creating “workers and users communities” or autonomous initiatives dealing with activities of public interest (Art 43 and 118 Italian Constitution.

For this place to come into existence, the CO-Reggio Emilia process has structured #CollaboratorioRe, a path of collaborative design composed of three different phases.

The Process:collaboratorio-path

Phase 1 – The first phase, which got to his conclusion in the beginning of November 2016, consisted in launching a public call to allow all the actors to express their interest in participating in the co-design process and to propose their ideas. Alongside with this, a series of thematic workshop of presentation took place and saw the participation of hundreds of citizens. The first phase of the process ended with two co-design sessions where the participants analyzed the numerous projects (more than 60) that had already been proposed and tried to define together how to make their collaborative energies converge towards tangible actions.

Phase 2 – The first phase saw the emergence of themes, values and suggestions that allow us to identify those elements that could become the foundations of the open laboratory. Between them we find the creation of a cultural and creative enterprise, the construction of community cooperative and of new forms of welfare, the creation of programs to spread a form of “urban pedagogy” (starting from the already famous Reggio Approach) and the formation of a “community observatory” to measure and monitor the impact of the new initiatives.

Following the co-design sessions a second phase began, a phase that saw the transformation of Reggio Emilia into a field of experimentation for collaboration, where the multiple realities involved worked together to produce immediate solutions to the needs that have been identified. During the months of November and December the participants, organized into four different communities, worked on the development of four different prototypes.

Phase 3 – Building on what emerged from the whole process, in the third phase it was possible to define the guidelines for the Open Laboratory and to design the identity, the methods and the form of governance of the future actor.

On the 14th and 15th of March 2017, the conference Innovazione sociale, beni comuni, modello di collaborazione. Le città e lo sviluppo delle comunità locali took place, and in this occasion the outcomes of the collaborative path were presented.

In the next months the Municipality of Reggio Emilia, working in synergy with the regional administration, activated a procedure to locate the subject which will take care of the Open Laboratory and of the space of the St. Peter’s cloisters.

Additional informations on the process of #CollaboratorioRe and of its current developments can be found here (English) and here (Italian).