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There is a very high interest in international literature about the governance of common goods related to a redefinition of representative democracy. Scholars like Sheila Foster and Christian Iaione have proposed new models of governance enhancing the preservation and management of the commons in order to overcome problems and contradictions of complex contemporary cities, such as social exclusion and land privatisation. The aim of this paper is to verify, through a recognition of administrative documents, if in the example of Rome, the political actors, the municipal government, and the civil society, could be able to take part in a collaborative governance inspired reform. To answer this question, the relationship between the policy making process, the economic production model and the normative claims arising from social groups will be investigated. What is emerging is a difficulty of the administration in implementing collaborative principles. This is reflected in the issuance of discordant administrative measures, stemming from problems in relaying to civil society and active citizens the role that these principles assign. The reasons for this mismatching might be identified in the distinctive urban regime of Rome and the political and economic set that fosters social exclusion and does not consider the positive effects and the value of collaborative-oriented policy, enhancing sharing economy and social cohesion. The constant recall in the political discourse of concepts such as common goods, citizen’s participation and collaboration values takes the characteristics of a discursive resource, a ‘common washing’, which institutions and politics seem to re-propose and consolidate the traditional mode of public action, though apparently declaring its inadequacy and ineffectiveness.
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