Local manufacturing systems in the piedmont area. New scenarios for an inland metabolism

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The Italian alpine foothills territory (IAFT) has gone through various "seasons of manufacturing" that determined different representations of it. Today, in the context of an exceptional transition phase, foothills local manufacturing systems (FLMS) need an overall reinterpretation. Even if we can still recognize the IAFT as one of the most economically relevant areas of Italy, we are unable to understand its complex transformation, due to the large amount of investments, their transience, and their multifaceted implications on the territory as well as on the environment as a whole. After the economic crisis of 2008, interesting possibilities for coexistence and collaboration were vexed by a set of important and hardly controllable forces, mostly due to the imposed combination of divergent local clusters’ FLMS evolving levels and their relation to different types of economies. Apart from the traditional type of FLMS, some types are constantly growing, taking in consideration the proximity between diversified and specific industrial basis that allows for new complex products to be invented and for the economy to grow in the long run. Conversely, other FLMS have suffered a setback, which is related, firstly, to the exhaustion of resources that drew on the adjacent mountain environment, and, secondly, to the lack of local adequate competences and skills. Finally, a third type of FLMS follows a “third road”, based on an innovative approach to handicraft and to the cultural industry, which favors new forms of experiential tourism. My research aims to elaborate on a set of efficient modalities, combining the existing knowledge of the biophysical flows together with an informed insight into the socio-economic transitions of the different FLMS, which are understood as part of an unique system, oriented towards a circular metabolic perspective.
manufacturing, transition, territorial metabolism