Area vasta 2.0 a new form of localism in Italy: challenges, risks and opportunities for spatial planning across local boundaries

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The papers aims to understand the forms and outcomes of cooperative spatial planning practices at a supra-local level in Italy. Assuming co-operation as one of the key challenges for planning strategically across local boundaries, the research will deal with the rescaling of formal planning activities carried out by joint local authorities, under a cooperative attitude that, in a Localism era, is supposed to replace sub-regional planning strategies. The research focuses on the changes occurring in the Italian planning system after the Laws n. 135/2012 and 56/2014 that, in the name of the spending review, obligate the 10 main regional cities to form joint metropolitan city governments by abolishing the provincial level, and municipalities with certain population requirements to come together into “Unions of competences”, including spatial planning. Of course, the need of co-operation on strategic issues is not new in Italy. Some institutions have an old history of working together to address planning issues of common concern. Nevertheless, the emergence of cooperation as a duty certainly poses some questions concerning the redefinition of planning spaces and responsibilities, the role of the planner, the access to the cooperative arena, the need for regional design practices. Through the analysis of some medium cities socio-economic and spatial planning contexts, the paper discusses the forms of governance in place, the different boundaries they assume and the responsibilities they encounter. The aim is to contribute to a better understanding of the way strategic spatial planning can works in Italy, in order to define the issues to tackle and further directions for research.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Definite Space – Fuzzy Responsibility, Prague, 13-16th July, 2015
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