Spatial asymmetries, cities and constitutional law

Growing socio-economic inequalities are rapidly becoming a challenge of our time, not only in developing countries in the Global South but also in the Western world: here several countries are now experiencing an increased economic divide between the rich and the poor due to a shrinking middle-class. One way of studying this phenomenon is through the lens of spatial asymmetries, meaning the different level of economic development and enjoyment of basic rights within specific spatial boundaries. Such spatial asymmetries may affect the functionality of the urban context and the combining of diversity with social cohesion. Against this rapidly evolving backdrop, public law in general, and constitutional law in particular, have left cities almost powerless. This paper offers a broad overview of cities as unique examples of spatial asymmetric areas and suggests how public law could contribute to strengthening their role and powers, thus help building trust in public institutions.

THE CITIZENSHIPS' WALTZ or how citizenship turns local and global: a comparative perspective across EU countries

Across Europe migration governance involves a number of actors that play their role according to different tasks and competences. This multilevel scheme has generally exacerbated the fragmentation of migrants' rights and increased the discretionary power of each actor, but it has also paved the way for more inclusive approaches. This is the case of laws and policies promoted by specific regions, provinces and local municipalities, in contrast with the overall tendency carried out at the national level. By mapping cases of local policies decoupling from national ones across EU countries, we aim at exploring on which legal basis and in which specific fields the multiplication of responsibilities related to the different regulators ended up with promoting a top-down and bottom-up construction of citizenship. The paper will examine the “citizenships' waltz”, that is the contrivances that expand or restrict individual rights created by local and global understandings of citizenship.

Which perspective for the development of the right to the city in Europe?

The right to the city can be defined as the right of all inhabitants to use, occupy and produce just, inclusive sustainable cities, defined as a common good essential to a full and a decent life. This right has been recognized at supranational level. At national level it finds an express recognition, among others, in the Ecuador’s Constitution and in the Brazil’s City Statute. So the question is, in which way the right to the city has been granted and implemented in Europe? This presentation aims to illustrate the most significant experiences in the implementation of the right to the city at local level in Europe, with a particular attention to the forms of institutional participation. We will examine the Italian, the Spanish and the French cases, without neglecting other relevant examples, in order to demonstrate how an higher level of participation can determine an increasing trust in public institutions.

Cities and cultural rights

Nowadays cultural rights have acquired a fundamental importance considering that they are essential for the identitarian definition of communities. Furthermore, cultural rights are a specific element that need to be considered by public actors to grant a peaceful coexistence of different communities. Indeed, the protection of cultural rights has acquired a growing importance in multicultural societies. This importance is particularly significant at local level where the attention to cultural rights is essential to fulfil integration policies and to contrast forms of discrimination and social exclusion. This is the reason why in this presentation we will examine how the protection of cultural rights at local level can impact upon the integration process.

“Glocal” Comparative Law in Action: the Role of Cities in Facing Environmental Issues

Actually, humankind is the major driving force in shaping the environment, and recent scientific studies demonstrate how Earth resilience is not able to cope with the potential arms deriving from an uncontrolled expansion of human activities. The presentation aims to discuss the engagement of main cities and city-networks in facing contemporary environmental issues, analysing the adaption and mitigation policies within different legal frameworks (local, national and international).