A consequence of the crisis for several European countries is the return of cities and urban policy within the national agenda. It is not a uniform process, since the emergence of political priorities related to the urban areas may be influenced by several domestic factors, including the legal framework, institutional organisation, approaches to planning and other issues for policy-making. An interesting perspective to observe these processes is to analyzing the question of metropolitan areas and city-regions which, despite the difficulties, all over Europe are increasingly seen as a crucial government scale to cope with some old (decentralisation, economic competitiveness, social cohesion) and new challenges (resilience, climate change) for regional development.Italy is a well representative case of this trend for the convergence of two processes that have recently refocused on urban regions new political expectations after decades of failed attempts and inertia. The first is an institutional reform, approved in 2014, that have established fourteen metropolitan cities (MCs) across the national territory that will gather relevant planning competencies over a broad range of sectors. The other process, closely interconnected with the previous, is the decision of the government to target to the emerging metropolitan cities a series of planning initiatives, including a national programme under the 2014-2020 structural funds (PON Metro). With these processes on the background, the paper aims to discuss the evolution of the urban question in Italy, between institutional reorganisation, post-crisis strategies and emerging demands from the local level.After an introduction devoted to explore the debate on urban-city-regions in Europe, the work is structured into three main sections. A first section provides a review of the recent Italian debate around the question of cities’ developement and the problematic implementation of an urban policy at national level. A particular attention will be paid to the role of major cities within the country’s pattern of development, whose institutional role have been often debated as a source of conflict for regional development. In a second section, after introducing the role and competencies of metropolitan cities, the new urban geography provided by the reform is put into question under the light of the deep territorial diversity that characterizes city-regions in the country. In a third section, some recent attempts of policy innovation at the metropolitan level – top-down initiatives like the PON Metro, as well as strategic plans among the bottom-up initiatives – are presented in order to underline their role in the shift of priorities and methodologies around the urban issues. In the conclusion, the risks and opportunities deriving from these different innovation processes are discussed in the perspective of the future of metropolitan government.
|Number of pages||0|
|Publication status||Published - 2016|