Antonio Calafati |

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Berlin 2009



The Italian Urban System

The Italian urban system has been my main research theme since the early 2000s. In Italy there has been a strong emphasis on regional and macro-regional growth, whereas cities have not received much scientific attention. In my research I have focused, firstly, on the identification of the unit of analysis and regulation, at different territorial scale, to be redefined as a consequence of the profound change in Italy’s territorial organisation that turned administrative boundaries into ‘ceremonial institutions’. Secondly, I have researched the long-term growth trajectories of Italian cities, making visible the very large differences in the growth performances that have manifested since the 1950s. Thirdly, I have focused on the structural changes taking place in the ‘structure’ of the Italian cities and the questions that these changes raise as to cities’ regulation policies.






Cities in Time

With different drives (research, research action, reportage) in recent years I have been engaged in the analysis/description of the development strategies and trajectories of single cities: Torino, Milano, Napoli, L'Aquila, Salzburg, Freiburg, Weimar, Jena, ...




Architecture of Subsistence. Architecture of Innovation

Two contiguous neighbourhoods rapidly – and differently – changing are being studied: Tortona and Giambellino. In Tortona – where the Design Week and the Fashion Week take place – the focus is on the 'architecture of innovation', that is on architectures – in most cases already existing and transformed – that seems to characterise small and innovative start-ups of the advanced tertiary sector.

In Giambellino the focus is on the use that immigrants and low-income families make of the residential buildings, public and collective spaces, infrastructures and on the changing social morphology of the neighbourhoods.

In both cases at the centre stage are the molecular physycal transformations the city fabric is undergoing and on its long-term sustainability.


Understanding Cities’ Development Trajectories

In my writing I have occasionally explored from a meta-theoretical and methodological perspective the interplay of the factors that may explain cities’ development trajectories.. In particular I have focused on the growth/development potential of cities and on their ability to use coherently with the local and national (and European) social preference function.