Session 2 . La fábrica del urbanismo por la innovación social y el commoning

Contested urban regeneration in ‘deprived’ inner areas. Practices and policies in Barriera di Milano, Turin (Italy).

Carlo Salone DIST – DIST, Interuniversity Department of Regional and Urban Studies and PlanningPolitecnico di Torino e Università di Torino, Italy – Via Mattioli 39, 10125 Torino, Italy

 The international debate about urban regeneration has so far privileged large-sized interventions in ‘deprived’ inner areas, mainly conceived as an application of conventional measures of physical rehabilitation and socio-economic development according to a blue-print global model. In this kind of experiences even the claim for an active participation of local residents tends to be reduced to ritual mechanisms that do not seem able to stimulate the rise of an enlarged decision-making and a real bottom up process.

Starting from a scientific perspective oriented to the socio-spatial practices that inform the every-day life of the cities, our article aims at enlightening the (missing) relationships between the urban policies led by institutional players and the practices carried out by social actors in the inner areas dubbed as ‘deprived’ and ‘marginal’. Furthermore, some critical insights will be devoted to discussing the so-called model of development of European southern cities.

The case-study is offered by a peripheral neighborhood in Turin (Italy), Barriera di Milano, observed as an ideal stage to investigate the interconnections, contradictions and dichotomies between the institutional urban measures applied to foster the local livability and wellness in the area and the concrete, ‘ordinary’ ways in which the neighborhood organizes its social and economic functions.

Despite the common opinion about the problematic nature of the quarter, the social relations, small businesses and cultural activities appear livable and well established, and contrast to the Municipality’s urban planning proposals, oriented to develop new residential and commercial areas around large public infrastructures. While the issue of ‘deprived peripheral areas’ has been at the core of the local political propaganda to the point that the polls in the peripheral neighborhoods have aroused an upheaval in the municipal government, – with the defeat of the former left-wing majority in favour of the ‘Five Stars’ movement – our article reveals the inability of such policies to dialogue effectively with the neighborhood multiple souls and resources.

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