The rights belonging to the community are one of the oldest and deepest forms of legal reality and social ties. In Roman law they concern the forms of collective use of land not assigned to private individuals and available to the entire community.
Their use, their rediscovery, is important both from a legal point of view and from a cultural and social one that draws inspiration from the past for a more harmonious coexistence among people and between people and the environment of which they are part.
The theme of the valorisation of public goods, oriented towards public interest purposes, is closely intertwined with that of urban regeneration and the theme of the temporary use or re-use of public spaces and buildings.
In this sense, the commons represent a theoretical and practical test case for the effectiveness of rights.
In October 2021, the Municipality of Padua approved the Commons Regulation, which, alongside cooperation Agreements with citizens, recognises the declaration of civic and collective use with reference to commons.
In Padua, since 1973, a large community has been active in the area of the Ex-Macello in Via Cornaro. This community was inspired by the extraordinary cultural and educational work of Francesco Piva, founder of the Comunità per le Libere Attività Culturali (CLAC). On 23 December, the reference assembly of this community presented the City of Padua with a draft declaration of civic and collective use of the Ex-Macello area as a commons, with extensive documentation of the activities and processes of care of the area between 1973 and 2021, and declared itself willing to interact with the local administration to verify and finalise the recognition through a public and shared process.
Unfortunately, the reply received from the municipality on 18 January did not reveal any recognition of the civic activity carried out and documented in the area of the former slaughterhouse. Nor is there any procedural attention to the provisions of the Regulation: the Declaration of Civic and Collective Use, submitted to the Municipality, on the basis of Article 7, paragraph 4 of the Regulation on Common Goods, provides for two executive decisions (by the Sector Head of the organisational unit responsible for the process and the Sector Head concerned by the definition of the same). Paragraph 3 of Article 7 also states that the identification of the common good must be approved by the municipal council before being approved according to paragraph 4.
Despite the willingness of the assembly of reference for the area to initiate a process of comparison that urged the Municipality to define the modalities and timing, no indications were received either on the procedure and documentation relating to the executive determinations, or on the approval of the common good by the Municipal Council.
However, the reply from the municipality indicates that a project for the area has already been drawn up. This project has not been disclosed and does not seem to have been conceived in the knowledge that it concerns an area already perceived as a commons, characterised by civic use, a reference point for many citizens, and on which consultation and proposal processes have already been carried out, documented and disclosed: did these processes and documents not deserve a public response and discussion?
To date, despite the fact that CLAC has been evicted on the pretext of \’building safety\’, it continues to pay bills for utilities relating to the buildings of the former slaughterhouse, in line with the way in which it initially occupied the area, having been given the keys to open the gate by the municipality, which is evidence of \’consensual\’ occupation.
We recall the importance that this area has had for the schools of this city from a formative and educational point of view and for the people who have passed through and inhabited this space over decades. We consider the recognition of this form of intangible heritage as equally important as other cultural representations and as the bearer of a conception of prestige rooted in the conscience and memory of the community.
The undersigned ask the Municipality for the recognition and dialogue with this fundamental decades-long experience of civic and collective use of the former slaughterhouse as a commons of the city of Padua.