Urban Pooling

By Iaione, Christian; De Nictolis, Elena | Fordham Urban Law Journal, July 2017 | Go to article overview

Urban Pooling


Iaione, Christian, De Nictolis, Elena, Fordham Urban Law Journal


Introduction                                                         666 I. A New Urban Age?                                                  669       A. Visions of the Twenty-First Century City                    669          1. The Knowledge-Based City: The City as a Market           670          2. The Sustainable City: The City As An Ecological System             or Environment                                           671          3. The Tech-Based City: Smart Cities, Sharing Cities, and             the City as a Platform                                   673       B. Complications                                               677 II. The Fourth Vision                                                680       A. The Rebel City                                              684       B. The Co-City                                                 688 III. Pooling as the Design Principle of a Rights-Based City          690       A. Pooling as the True Essence of Urban Communing              690          1. The Tragedy of the Congestible Commons                   691          2. The Comedy of the Constructed Commons                    693          3. The Tragicomedy of the Infrastructure Commons            694 Conclusion                                                           698 

INTRODUCTION

The body of scientific knowledge focused on cities is extensive and rapidly expanding. Academic contributions identifying urban visions or urban paradigms are plural and diversified. There are three main paradigms which suggest the perspective from which the city should be studied and depict how the city would be conceptualized in the future. Some think that cities will leverage the power of knowledge as the key economic driver for urban development and envision the city as a marketplace. Others think that technology will be the main factor shaping the destiny of cities in the future and envision the city as a platform. Finally, the literature adopting a nature-based perspective envisions the city as an ecological system or environment.

This Article argues that all three visions or paradigms lack a rights-based approach and therefore are not able to explain, nor govern, many of the social and economic phenomena generating conflicts at the local level. They, for instance, do not tackle the issue of divisions between cities and regions, urban and rural areas, nor do they make an attempt to face the questions raised by power asymmetries and wealth redistribution within a city. In order to overcome the shortcomings of the three main visions one needs to take into account a fourth vision developed by the "right to the city" literature (1) and reconceive the city as a commons (2) to implement that vision. This approach envisions the city as an infrastructure enabling city inhabitants' right to equal access to, management of, or even ownership of some urban essential resources and ultimately the city. (3) This reconceptualization requires however embedding "urban pooling" as a design principle of a new economic, legal, and institutional framework for the city. It therefore implies the recognition of the right of multiple urban and local social actors, in particular city inhabitants, civil society organizations, and knowledge institutions like universities, to be part of partnerships with the public and the private sector to run or own urban assets or resources. (4)

The aim of urban pooling is to deploy cooperative actions, practices, institutions, and ventures to share existing urban resources, collaborate to generate new resources, and coordinate in using urban networks or producing public services. (5) Urban pooling by mixing and matching urban resources dispersed across the city expands capacity of these resources and the city as whole. (6) Urban pooling blends individual or organizational capabilities and legal authorities that different urban actors hold and use in distinct and separate realms or ways. …

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