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Beyond the 'Divided City': a manifesto for spatially-balanced, sprawl-free post-crisis metropolises


  • Zitti, Marco

    () (Department of Social and Economic Sciences, 'La Sapienza' University of Rome, Piazzale A. Moro 5, I-00185 Rome, Italy)

  • Efstathios Grigoriadis

    (Department of Planning and Regional Development, School of Engineering, University of Thessaly, Pedion Areos, EL-383 34 Volos, Greece)

  • Luca Salvati

    () (Italian Council of Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA), Via della Navicella 2-4, I-00184 Rome, Italy)


Going beyond traditionalist discourses on economic backwardness, uneven demographic growth and cultural secularism, this article proposes an interpretation of Mediterranean urbanities based on place-specific settlement morphology and characteristic socioeconomic traits, including unregulated regional planning, poorly-participated local governance and typical socio-spatial structures. By questioning the (supposedly weak) strategies containing regional disparities and the failed opportunities to promote scenic landscapes and cultural heritage of peri-urban areas, a framework investigating long-term urban dynamics in the Mediterranean was illustrated here and can be generalized to other metropolitan regions with similar morphological and functional traits. The proposed framework is based on the analysis of ecologically-fragile and socially-unstable contexts in view of the persistence of a structural crisis affecting the economic base, the institutions and the governance system. In this line of thinking, we debate on the relationship between crisis conditions in both social and economic dimensions and unbalanced spatial configurations typically observed in southern European regions, and shaped by persistent economic polarizations in urban and rural areas. While reducing demographic and economic polarizations along urban gradients, dispersed expansion of cities further contributes to unbalanced metropolitan structures promoting local-scale spatial heterogeneity and further enhancing territorial disparities.

Suggested Citation

  • Zitti, Marco & Efstathios Grigoriadis & Luca Salvati, 2017. "Beyond the 'Divided City': a manifesto for spatially-balanced, sprawl-free post-crisis metropolises," Review of Applied Socio-Economic Research, Pro Global Science Association, vol. 13(1), pages 95-109, JUNE.
  • Handle: RePEc:rse:wpaper:v:13:y:2017:i:1:p:95-109

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lila Leontidou, 2014. "The crisis and its discourses: Quasi-Orientalist attacks on Mediterranean urban spontaneity, informality and joie de vivre," City, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(4-5), pages 551-562, October.
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    More about this item


    Urban planning; Informality; Sustainable development; Competitiveness; Mediterranean.;

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • O50 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - General
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • R14 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Land Use Patterns
    • R19 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Other


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