The Changing Italian Cities: Emerging Imbalances and Conflicts

GSSI Urban Studies-Working Papers, 2014|6

128 Pages Posted: 16 Sep 2014 Last revised: 8 Nov 2015

Date Written: September 10, 2014


Under the pressure of a complex configuration of interdependent factors – economic, demographic, technological, institutional and cultural – Italian cities are experiencing profound structural changes. The heterogeneity of the Italian urban system makes this process highly place-specific. The structure (and size) of the Italian cities, the rationality of their political-administrative elite, their resistance and resilience capacity, and the shocks hitting them are very different. Consequently, the adjustment strategy that cities will implement and the development trajectories that they will follow may be expected to be rather different as well. The Italian urban landscape will undergo a profound transformation in the next decade and beyond.

There is a manifest ‘lack of knowledge’ about the on-going process of Italian cities’ structural changes, and it has straightforward negative implications concerning the capacity of local and national policy makers to forecast cities’ future development trajectories and to design appropriate regulation policies. This collection of papers – presented at the workshop “The Changing Italian Cities. Emerging Imbalances and Conflicts” (L’Aquila, 10-11 December 2013) – is the first, preliminary result of a research programme in progress at the Gran Sasso Science Institute on the state and potential evolution of the Italian urban system. The papers explore structural changes in Italian cities from an interdisciplinary perspective, conducting empirical investigation and field studies focused on long-term trends and the policy challenges that they raise.

Keywords: Italian urban system, cities, urban crises

Suggested Citation

Calafati, Antonio, The Changing Italian Cities: Emerging Imbalances and Conflicts (September 10, 2014). GSSI Urban Studies-Working Papers, 2014|6, Available at SSRN: or

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