Italy 2011: Territory Without Policies, Policies Without Territory

  • Carlo Salone EU-POLIS Dipartimento Interateneo Territorio Politecnico e Università di Torino


The paper aims at discussing from a critical perspective the state of art of territorial policies on the national scale, through the political geography approach, interested in the restructuring processes of the role of the State and regional governments, and using the key of de-territorialisation/territorialisation effects of physical infrastructures.

The last decades are thus analyzed as a set of missed opportunities for the Italian territorial development, where the central government’s approach has essentially been led by engineering and economical logics, with no ability to take into account the territorial implications of technical choices.

The history of spatial planning at national level has proved, in short, a history of broken promises: in spite of exceptional richness and variety of armor urban settlement and regional frameworks of regional economic structures, public action to conduct central level have rarely crossed the issues of territorial expansion and enhancement, and when that occurred, as the experience of Project 80 and in that, therein, regional strategic platforms at MIT initiatives have been undertaken without any real ability to affect the sore spots of our land imbalances in allocation of resources between North and South of the country, "poverty" of equipment of Italian cities, land use and landscape resources increasing over the decades.

While Europe is trying - with difficulty - to respond with crosssectoral programming to complex problems, in Italy seem to prevail industry solutions and dominated by a logic "economist" and not territorialized, which actually eludes concrete points raised by the financial crisis and budgetary constraints.

This is even more true if you intentionally look through the lens of the geographic infrastructure initiatives undertaken by the central government, after an intense phase of concentration of financial resources in the frame construction of infrastructural base of the peninsula, the issue has undergone variations only technological and economic no capacity for reflection on the relevant territorial implications of the choices made. While in other European countries, the integration between infrastructure development and regional development was seriously taken into care, emphasizing the aspects of "territorial project" - the French experience is, as always, eloquent in this respect - in the last fifteen years, the territorial aspect choices of infrastructure has been sacrificed on the altar of rationality engineering and financial calculations. Far from asserting that these issues are minor, we believe that the dynamics of de-territorialization and selective territorialization generated by the various infrastructure options that require attention, until now, is completely lacking.


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Author Biography

Carlo Salone, EU-POLIS Dipartimento Interateneo Territorio Politecnico e Università di Torino
He is associate professor of Political and economic geography at the University of Turin, Faculty of Economics, where he is teaching Territorial policies (1st level of M.A. degree in Economics, Territory and Environment) and Local development (2nd level degree in Economics of Institutions, Territory and Environment). He has taught as a visiting lecturer in France (Paris 10 and 12), Spain (Girona, Doctoral School of Geography and Planning) and Finland (Oulu, Doctoral School of Geography). Before reaching his university position, he was responsible for the technical secretariat of the Department for Urban Areas, Presidency of the Italian Council of Ministers in 1997 and 1998, when he also worked as an expert of the OECD, Territorial Development Service, Urban Affairs Division. Over the last five years, he has also worked as a consultant of local and regional authorities of Piedmont for metropolitan strategic planning (Torino Internazionale) and regional policies (Provincia di Torino and Regione Piemonte).


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How to Cite
SaloneC. (2011). Italy 2011: Territory Without Policies, Policies Without Territory. TeMA - Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment, 4(1).