Urbanists and the Environment Between Technique and Politics: The Case of Italy from the Sixties to the Present
Global Environment 10 (2012): 138–155
Beginning in the Sixties, a trend in town-planning studies known as “reformist” developed in Italy, largely revolving around the Istituto Nazionale di Urbanistica (national institute for town-planning studies). This trend marked a deep change in land management concepts. Its adherents sought to “reform” – rather than merely rationalize – the economic growth to limit its negative social and environment impact. This was to be achieved by controlling the real estate market and the regulation of land rent processes. Thanks to the strong ties they formed with public administrations and left-wing parties, many exponents of this trend became leading figures in the public debate on cities of the Seventies and early Eighties, and were responsible for many institutional decisions adopted in this period at the national as well as the local level (e.g. the land law of 1977 and the ten-year housing plan of 1978). In the Eighties and Nineties, in spite of the spread of a private conception of urban planning - the so-called “contrattata” (negotiated) urban planning – the exponents of this trend were still able to carry out programs and plans – e.g. in Bologna, Roma, and Naples – aimed at safeguarding the physical integrity of the land. This was achieved through a juridical and legislative evolution (as in the case of the Galasso law of 1986 and subsequent measures) that provided public administrations with new instruments for the protection of natural resources and the landscape, even within urban areas.
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