Dynamics of north italian historic centers and their meaning for the urban structure

Ezio Micelli*, Paola Pellegrini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book or Report/Conference proceedingConference Proceedingpeer-review


The paper investigated the role of the historic centers in the cities and presents the findings of the analysis of statistical data on population, housing and economic activities in 15 historic centers of small and medium size cities in Northern Italy. Between 1991 and 2011 a significant shrinkage of population and high rate of vacancy of housing units is found in the centers, what used to be the core of the Italian culture and where heritage is mostly concentrated. The paper compares these indicators with the same ones elaborated for Milan, the largest city in Northern Italy and discovers different trends: the centre is less under-utilized and the shrinkage of population is not a character of the centre only. Milan performs much better than the small and medium cases also for the great growth of economic activities between 1991 and 2011, despite the 2008 economic crisis. The dynamics of the historical centers can reveal wider urban transformations and concur to describe the changes in the urban structure of the Country. The radically different phenomena presented by the paper allow to advance the hypothesis that size matters and resources are neither equally distributed nor achievable – as the idea of the urban structure as an network long proposed by geographer, planners and economic researches – but get concentrated in large metropolitan places.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNew Metropolitan Perspectives - Knowledge Dynamics and Innovation-driven Policies Towards Urban and Regional Transition, Volume 2
EditorsCarmelina Bevilacqua, Francesco Calabrò, Lucia Della Spina
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9783030482787
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event4th International Symposium on New Metropolitan Perspectives, NMP 2020 - Reggio Calabria, Italy
Duration: 26 May 202028 May 2020

Publication series

NameSmart Innovation, Systems and Technologies
Volume178 SIST
ISSN (Print)2190-3018
ISSN (Electronic)2190-3026


Conference4th International Symposium on New Metropolitan Perspectives, NMP 2020
CityReggio Calabria


  • Historic centre
  • Urban dynamics
  • Urban structure


Dive into the research topics of 'Dynamics of north italian historic centers and their meaning for the urban structure'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this