IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Rendita fondiaria e dinamica urbana: le determinanti dello sviluppo urbano nel caso italiano


  • Roberta Capello

    (Università del Molise, Campobasso e Politecnico di Milano)


Urban dynamics was studied during the eighties in terms of the so-called ‘urban life cycle theory’ which was launched by the Vienna group within the CURB (costs of urban growth) project. The main elements of this theory, as well as its limits, are already well known. It provides an elegant way of describing urban trends and dynamics by interpreting them as the result of a natural process of physical diffusion of urban population from core areas to the periphery. The opposite movement, from periphery to core, is explained on the other hand by the existence of scale diseconomies. However, some aspects remain unresolved: for example, is there a city size threshold at which the process of decentralisation starts? At what city size do scale economies become scale diseconomies? At what point in time does this happen? Should we expect cities like Milan and Rome to grow to the size of London and Paris before they start to decline? Many empirical analyses have proved the existence of an optimal city size through the measurement of economies or diseconomies of scale, generally applied either to the costs of urban services or to elegant econometric estimates of urban and sectoral production functions. But, unfortunately these studies have never produced a common result, and have often been subject to criticism for their restrictive hypotheses. The aim of the present paper is twofold. First of all, we describe urban dynamics in Italy through an indicator of urban costs and advantages, i.e. urban rent. House prices are in fact a good indicator of the attraction of an urban area, as they are synthetic and avoid a time lag between the occurrence of phenomena such as demographic change, and the availability of data to capture these phenomena. This study is based on the idea that the difference in house prices between large and small cities is a measure of their relative attraction (and thus their relative location advantage). The second aim is to highlight the determinants of this urban dynamics, and especially to understand whether urban development patterns are similar in cities of different size. For this second issue, the paper enters the debate on the existence of an optimal city size for all cities and draws attention to other possible determinanats of urban development.

Suggested Citation

  • Roberta Capello, 2001. "Rendita fondiaria e dinamica urbana: le determinanti dello sviluppo urbano nel caso italiano," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, vol. 91(1), pages 75-118, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:rpo:ripoec:v:91:y:2001:i:1:p:75-118

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gyourko, Joseph & Voith, Richard, 1992. "Local market and national components in house price appreciation," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 52-69, July.
    2. Catin, M., 1991. "Economies d'agglomeration et gains de productivite," Papers 133, Universite Aix-Marseille III.
    3. Grenadier Steven R., 1995. "Local and National Determinants of Office Vacancies," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 57-71, January.
    4. Camagni, Roberto & Diappi, Lidia & Leonardi, Giorgio, 1986. "Urban growth and decline in a hierarchical system A supply-oriented dynamic approach," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 145-160, February.
    5. Segal, David, 1976. "Are There Returns to Scale in City Size?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 58(3), pages 339-350, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • R14 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Land Use Patterns
    • R20 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - General


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rpo:ripoec:v:91:y:2001:i:1:p:75-118. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sabrina Marino). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.