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Urban Life Cycle and Competitiveness in the Metropolitan Region of Bologna


Owing to fundamental developments such as the globalisation, the transition to an information society, and the European integration, metropolitan competition has become a leading principle to determine the future urban system in Europe. Increasingly, metropolitan regions need to better organise themselves in order to improve their competitive position through their organising capacity.

Encouraged by the positive experiences of the several studies about management structures in European metropolitan regions, my aim in this thesis is to get a better insight into the practice of organising capacity in Bologna ‘Citta’ Metropolitana’ in terms of developed and developing projects for citizens, firms and visitors.
To that end, I will discuss urban politics and institutional developments and which pattern of urban development has characterised the growth of the Bolognese urban region (according to the framework of urban life cycle theory); then, I’ll try to analyse urban competitiveness and management in the metropolitan region of Bologna.
Undoubtedly Bologna represents a clear example of best practice in the field of urban management, as it has been capable of dealing with the urban life cycle, having proactively undertaken strategies in order to set out on a path toward renewal and revitalisation of the city without crowding out its traditions.

Bologna in fact held a great respect for its traditions, as it is still conserving its architectural physiognomy like few others and, despite the many changes, maintains a constant identity through time. The great project of the exploitation of the historical centre, which is today already one of the largest and best kept in Europe, is in fact dedicated to tradition.

Integral strategies have been undertaken by the municipality of Bologna with the help of other relevant urban actors, balancing private sector goals and public interests, by identifying, creating and exploiting potentials for sustainable economic and social development. Urban management has definitely contributed to raise the competitiveness of the urban region by improving the city’s performance.
A customer to be satisfied: this is how Bologna's administration is aiming to view the citizens, firms and visitors who turn to the administration's offices. Even if Bologna and the whole of Emilia Romagna are already renowned for the efficiency of their services, the objective which they are now aiming at is that of Total Quality: rapidity, efficiency, full ''customer-citizen'' satisfaction and the right relation between quality and price. The ''good services'' network, which represents one of the traditional inheritances of the city, is the subject of a decisive renovation project aimed at responding to new needs through an innovative use of technology and communication.

One of the strongest features characterising the policy carried by the Municipal administration in recent years concerns the efforts made in order to change Bologna into a ''digital city'', therefore facing the challenge represented by the transition to an information-intensive society. In this way, Bologna is further upgrading its attractiveness, and has undertaken a path towards reurbanisation. Such efforts are now bearing their first results, as regards communication, service distribution and administrative streamlining and simplification. This goal is being pursued thanks to a strategy envisaging the passing from an organisation mainly focussing on the product to an organisation focussing on client-citizens as regards their access and payment of individual services, and the issuing of permits, licences, certificates, payment of activities as envisaged by the law (administrative services).

Moreover, Bologna is also a city presenting several opportunities that so far have not been exploited with regards to the competitiveness of its urban function as a tourist destination. Such existing opportunities, if well managed, can allow the beginning of a new tradition that can definitively place the city on the map of the main cultural-historical destinations. In other words, Bologna, although already quite competitive in many urban functions, can develop another function without jeopardising its competitiveness in the traditional ones. We can plausibly expect that the city’s image and attractiveness will drastically improve as a consequence of the great event of being European Cultural Capital for the year 2000.
The modernisation of infrastructure, the accent on the quality of life, the greater visibility of arts and culture in everyday life, the full exploitation of creativity and knowledge of high international quality to attract investment, skilled labour, are integral elements of the further renovation process boosted by such event.

Nevertheless, some relevant problems concerning the transport system still exist.
As in recent decades more and mor

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19 Chapter one Urban life cycle: a theory of growth and decline 1.1 Introduction This chapter will first illustrate one theory of urban dynamics, the urban life-cycle theory, which describes urban development according to a certain cyclical pattern. This theory has been developed in the 1980s by several important and independent studies (see among others Hall and Hay 1980, Van den Berg et al. 1982, Klaassen et al. 1981) that remarked the influence of economic and social change on the dynamics of urban systems, identifying a common pattern of successive stages of urban development in the observed Western European cities. According to the authors specific exogenous variables, namely fundamental developments, influence the evolution of cities. Their identification helps to characterise the new urban environment. The final implication of the fundamental developments is that cities increasingly need to find out how best to cope with those developments and, as a

Tesi di Laurea

Facoltà: Economia

Autore: Marco Cecchi Contatta »

Composta da 233 pagine.


Questa tesi ha raggiunto 1124 click dal 20/03/2004.


Consultata integralmente una volta.

Disponibile in PDF, la consultazione è esclusivamente in formato digitale.