Publication: Corruption and organized crime in the field of urban planning
Although corruption and organized crime are the focus of a great many recent studies published in political science, sociology, and criminology, very few of these studies pay much attention to the spatial dimension and urban scale of these phenomena (Hall, 2013; Weinstein, 2008). For example, the inquiries that pivot specifically on the problems of corruption and organized crime in the domain of urban planning are a handful1. This omission is somewhat bizarre given the extent of the phenomena in question. For instance, according to Transparency International (2013), some 21% of people interviewed in countries all over the world admitted they had paid bribes for “land services”, and another 21% had greased palms for “registry and permit services”, which includes land registry and building permits. In fact, many researchers have noted that corruption is particularly rife in the planning sector (Chiodelli & Moroni, 2015; Cullingworth, 1993; Gardiner & Lyman, 1978; Murray & Frijters, 2016). Moreover, the research available at present entirely lacks in-depth case studies that would provide greater insights into the real mode of operation of corruption in a specific political-institutional system. The present paper is a first attempt to fill this gap. In particular, it conducts a detailed study on some recent episodes of corruption in the field of urban planning in the municipality of Desio, close to Milan (Italy). These episodes took place in an environment characterized by the rooted presence of a mafia-type organization known as the ’Ndrangheta2. The analysis aims to shed light on the various types of corruption that prevail in the planning field related to the case in question. It outlines the main issues at stake, the key public agents involved, and the stages of the planning process most vulnerable to corruption. This makes it possible to formulate some general hypotheses about the main institutional factors determining corruption in the planning domain, and about the role of mafia-type organized crime within this framework.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Spaces of Dialog for Places of Dignity, Lisbon, 11-14th July, 2017
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