Impacts of the Covid-19 Pandemic in inner areas

Remote work and near-home tourism through mobile phone data in Piacenza Apennine

Keywords: marginal territories, Covid-19, Mobile phone data, Remote working, near-home tourism


While the impacts of the Covid-19 outbreak on urban areas have been deeply investigated, the effects of the virus on sparsely populated and marginal areas are still poorly explored. In Italy, those “inner” areas are often characterized by processes of marginalization due to aging and loss of population, low occupational rate and income, a progressive deprivation of local know-how, and the shrinking of essential services. Yet, a reverse migration from urban centers to rural and peripheral areas has been reported worldwide among the main effects of the Covid-19 pandmic, being in some cases an opportunity to slow down and even reverse the process of marginalization. By combining mobile phone and socio-spatial data, this paper aims to analyze the space-time variability of human presence before and during the Covid-19 lockdown in the Apennine area of the e province of Piacenza, a representative case of Italy's inner areas, to read if and how the pandemic has contributed to modify the rhythms and trends of those territories. Two dynamics have been investigated: remote and near-home tourism. In addition to provide a picture of the changes that occurred in these marginal contexts, the outcomes have shown the great potentiality of mobile phone data, along with some limits that may prejudice their usability, particularly for territorial research in low-density areas. 


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Author Biographies

Giovanni Lanza, Politecnico di Milano

PhD in Urban Planning, he is post-doc Research Fellow at the Department of Architecture and Urban Studies, Politecnico di Milano. His research focuses on the interplay between (im)mobility and accessibility and its implications for land use planning and policy. Besides his research activities, he is also teaching assistant at urban design and planning Master courses at Politecnico di Milano since 2018.

Paola Pucci, Politecnico di Milano

MS in Architecture and PhD in Territorial Planning, she is Full Professor in Urban planning and Research Director (from 2013 to 2018) of the PhD course in Urban Planning at the Politecnico di Milano (Italy). She teaches in both thematic courses and Design Studio at the Master and PhD level being the supervisor of several PhD theses. Her research focuses on urban mobility and accessibility, transport justice, and electric transition.

Luigi Carboni, Politecnico di Milano

He is Research Fellow at the Politecnico di Milano (Italy), Department of Architecture and Urban Studies. He achieved an MSc in Urban Planning and Post-graduate Advanced Traineeship in GIS for Urban and Territorial Planning. His research activities focus on studying and representing urban mobility and accessibility through spatial data and quantitative methods in GIS. He  collaborates with the Mapping and Urban Data Lab as a geospatial analyst and has been a teaching assistant in Master courses at Politecnico di Milano since 2018.

Bruna Vendemmia, Politecnico di Milano

PhD in Urbanism, she is an architect and urban designer. She is post-doctoral fellow at DAStU (Politecnico di Milano). Her main research interest focuses on spatial transformations engendered by contemporary changes in mobility practices. In her research she combined qualitative methods with interpretative mapping and spatial analysis to explore the consequences of mobile lives on the configurations of spaces and territorial relations.


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How to Cite
LanzaG., PucciP., CarboniL., & VendemmiaB. (2022). Impacts of the Covid-19 Pandemic in inner areas. TeMA - Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment, 73-89.
Mobile phone data for exploring spatio-temporal transformations in contemporary