IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Mind the gap! Global cities and ordinary cities in the planning perspective


  • Silvia Ciccarelli
  • Roberta Gemmiti


  • Luca Salvati


This paper presents a critical debate about the extreme selectivity through which the existing body of literature identifies the critical factors in urban development and competitiveness. It highlights the need to establish policies aimed at "ordinary cities" (Amine Graham, 1997) and "ordinary geographies" (Jonas e Ward, 2007). By analyzing the case of Rome, Italy, the paper explores the consequences of such literature for planning choices, especially for those cities that are not supported by a mature system of governance. It is well established that cities and urban regions are considered the most significant organizational and social units in the post-industrial era. The academic focus on urban regions was a result of the convergence between studies on competitiveness and disciplines like Regional Economy and Economic Geography, which tended to focus on the relationship between post-industrial capitalism and the process of regionalization. Since the first studies on industrial de-verticalization and on emerging patterns of production localization, the literature has increasingly related the economic success of firms to specific characters of territories, including face-to-face contacts, knowledge spill over and relationships based on trust. All cities, then, are framed to look like the leaders of the global urban hierarchy: Global City Regions and Mega City Regions, large territories combining hard and soft infrastructures, socializing spaces, multi-culturality, talent, tolerance; cities offering a network structure made up of Marshall nodes of production. The rigidity of current conceptions of urban competitiveness, supported also by international organizations (OCDE, 2006; Territorial Agenda, 2007), often leads to negative consequences for urban planning policies in cities that are not yet supported by a developed system of governance. This is the case for Rome, where planning policy has followed guidelines proposed by existing literature. The article argues that the oversimplification of urban development and competitiveness can result in planning policies divorced from the real issues, thus causing a unique set of social and environmental consequences.

Suggested Citation

  • Silvia Ciccarelli & Roberta Gemmiti & Luca Salvati, 2011. "Mind the gap! Global cities and ordinary cities in the planning perspective," ERSA conference papers ersa11p820, European Regional Science Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa11p820

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Peter Hall, 1997. "The Future of the Metropolis and its Form," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(3), pages 211-220.
    2. Simone Bonamici & Silvia Ciccarelli & Roberta Gemmiti & Daniele Paragano, "undated". "Roma turistica e competitiva," Working Papers 77/11, Sapienza University of Rome, Metodi e modelli per l'economia, il territorio e la finanza MEMOTEF.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    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:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa11p820. 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: (Gunther Maier). 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.