Bringing waste to the foreground of cities. Towards sustainable transition management in the urban region of Naples (Italy)

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Circular economy suggests new visions of how the urban space should be lived and managed. These visions depend on metaphors such as urban metabolism, that implies a completely rethinking of the governance model. Achieving such a transition will demand deep changes in dominant practices and ways of thinking, which will in turn call for new knowledge on the part of ordinary people and different responsibilities on the part of institutions. In this perspective, while the production of waste is being reduced through innovative practices, former industrial, rural or infrastructural areas are more difficult to include in a closed loop production cycle. Such wastelands, often merging into wastescapes, need to be completely re-imaged as a precondition for their sustainable transition. Assuming the metaphor of urban metabolism as a device to address the transition, turning the definition of “neglected area” into “wasteland” becomes a tactic for generating alternative policies and practices in urban regions. In exploring how the transition is affecting social actors, decision models, formal and informal practices in the urban region of Naples, the paper focuses on how turning wastelands into resources has the double potential of rehabilitating urban spaces and challenging the governance model in use.
wastescape regeneration, multilevel governance, waste circularity, transition management