1. The relevance of the selected case study for a rural-urban partnership.
Milan lies in one of the most dynamic regions of Italy, the region Lombardy. The region accounts for more than 15% of the national population and 9% of the national territory. 20% of national GDP is produced in this region: 24% of the national industrial employment is located in this region, and even 31% of high-tech national employment takes place in Lombardy (Table 1).
The metropolitan area of Milan, on its turn, accounts for 44% of the regional population and 11.5% of the regional territory.
In general, the metropolitan area of Milan coincides with the administrative boundaries of the Province of Milan (Figure 1). In this case study the horizons are larger, including parts of the municipalities of Provinces of Varese, Lecco and Como (in the North) and municipalities of Provinces of Pavia and Lodi (in the South).
Taking into account that the metropolitan area of Milan encompasses only 1.2% of national agricultural employment and 9.7% of national traditional industrial employment, its good economic performance may also be estimated by other indicators.
Table 1. The metropolitan area of Milan: employment by sector
Figure 1. Province of Milan in Italy Since the beginning of the 1980’s, the metropolitan area of Milan increases its specialisation in tertiary activities. As Table 2 reveals, in the period 1981-1991 the industrial sector shows a decrease of -19,21%. This result is due especially to the crisis of the traditional manufacturing industry which loses more than 200.000 employees during this decade (-23,01%). On the contrary service activities register a considerable development, with a growth rate of 24,78% in the ten-year period. This is especially true for advanced service activities (e.g. credit, finance, insurance, informatics), tradionally localized in the centre of the city, for accessibility and environmental quality reasons.
AGRICOLTURE (related activities)
Energy, gas and water Industry
Hotels and restaurants
Finance and Insurance
Other services (e.g.informatics, estate activities, public sector)
Table 2. Employment in 1981 and 1991 by sectors in the metropolitan area of Milan
F igure 2. Percentage of agricultural areas.
As a result of the historical development patterns, the metropolitan area of Milan presents nowadays the following territorial profile:
the North-East that seems to be the favoured location of new high-tech sectors;
the South, still agricultural, but with an high rate of industrial and service development (Figure 2);
the centre, specialised in advanced service activities.
The settlement change is characterized by a strong suburbanization. This process could be easily shown comparing the demografic evolution of the city of Milan with the one of the Province. Table 3 shows the dynamics of population in the core and in the first ring. Data demonstrate the loss of inhabitants for the city and, on the contrary, the increase for the first ring. Analysis of density of population (Figure 3) shows the same result, confirming the decrease of population of the core in favor of the small and medium municipalities in the first ring.
City of Milan
able 3. Percentage change of inhabitants (%) in five years periods in the core and in the first ring
Figure 3. Level of population density (1991) and percentage change of population density in 1984-1991 period
From the data and figures presented above, Milan shows:
New settlement structure for its industrial/terziary and agricultural activities
Processes of suburbanisation characterized by new urbanisation models (sprawl)
Processes of industrialisation/terziarisation of agricultural areas
These results underline the importance of the interrelation between rural and urban areas that characterizes the Province of Milan, and for this reasons it can be chosen as relevant case study for:
The spread of housing and its consequences on the transport movements of the population (see sect. 2.1);
The cost of sub-urbanisation (see sect. 2.1);
Prevention of land use conflicts on areas with natural heritage potentials (see sect. 2.2);
The advantage generated by natural spaces for the diversification of the local economy (see sect. 2.3).
2. Key Issues
2.1 Settlement structure and accessibility to infrastructure
In the last year in the Metropolitan Area of Milan the model of urban development has been mainly based on high diffusion and sprawling. This has had relevant impacts on the transport movements of the population and, consequently, on the collective costs related to land consuming, costs for infrastructures and net transport congestion.
2.1.1 Land consumption
To highlight the relation beetwen urbanisation models and land consumption it is particularly useful to distinguish different typology of urban expansion (Camagni, Gibelli, Rigamonti, 1998).
Table 4 presents the types of urban expansion proposed.
Large new settlements, indipendent of old urban fabric
Table 4. Typology of urban expansion These categories have been related to the level of land consumption for residential use, measured by three comparable ratios:
urbanised land per housing metre, 1981;
urbanised land per housing metre, 1991;
new urbanised land 1981-91/new housing units 1981-1991.
Figure 4 shows the results of the analysis, realised on the municipalities of the Milan Metropolitan Area, classifying them according to the prevalent typology of physical expansion (1981-1991):
compact models of urbanisation (development by infilling and big project) are largely less consuming in terms of land;
houses built in the last ten years are characterized by a reduction of land consumption. This result seems to suggest that the recent urban development gives more attention to land utilisation issues, due to increasing scarcity of land, increasing land prices and, presumably, a new envoronmental responsiveness by local planners.
F igure 4. Land consumption in the Province of Milan
2.1.2 Costs for infrastructure
T he model of urbanisation is strictly related to the public costs for primary urbanisation and investments/maintenance of transport infrastructure and services. Table 5 shows this relation, examining the difference among the five models presented above to primary urbanisation costs, defined through inspectors of municipal projects.
Figure 5. Costs for primary urbanisation (lire per capita) As expected, development by infilling, expansion and large project are less expensive for the community. Transport costs are higher for development by sprawl and large projects (in this last case, the result is probably due to the lack of integration with public transport system).
2.1.3 Costs of mobility
Mode and time are the relevant dimensions to assess the relation beetwen different models of urbanisation and collective costs due to the mobility pattern.
In order to “capture” this relation, an index of impact of commuters travels has been built, giving different weights to the different combination between time and modal choice (Camagni, Gibelli, Rigamonti, 1998). Weights have been attributed taking into account that, for what concerns time, shorter journeys are more polluting (per Km-travelled), and, for what concern modal choice, journey by car is more polluting than by collective mode.
The analysis shows a positive relation between this index and two variables: the demografic change and the age of houses (Figure 6). Higher values of impact are associated with more dynamic municipalities, demostrating that recent urban expansion
is less virtous than historical one.
Fig. 6 Relation between indexes of journey impact, age of houses
and demographic change
A ssuming the significant role of widespread car use on environmental costs, the analysis considers the relation beetwen use of collective mode and urbanisation models. The collective mode shows a positive relation with population density (Figure 7) and negative relation with the demografic dimension, i.e., collective transport seems to be negatively influenced by urbanisation based on diffusion and sprawl.
Fig. 7 Relation beetwen collective mode share and gross population density
2.2 Natural heritage: conservation and development
The metropolitan area of Milan offers interesting suggestions about conservation and development of natural heritage. This is due to the strong dynamics of land use: in the last years large parts of land surface have changed their destination.
The evolution of surface share destinated to artificial use expresses clearly this phenomenon (Figure 8).
F ig 8 Percentage change of artificial surface in 1981-1989 period (Milan is excluded) The increase of artificial land is particularly significant where agricultural areas are more widespread. Agriculture loses large land areas, especially in the south of the province, traditionally agricultural, where the majority of municipalities shows an increase of more than 20% of artificial surface (commercial, industrial or urban).
In spite of this significant evolution, the southern area is still characterized by large zones destined to agriculture (compare Figure 9 and 10), also thank to the new regulations introduced with the institution of an “Agricultural Park” (Parco Sud).
F ig. 9 Share of industrial or commercial units on available surface
Fig. 10 Share of agricultural areas on available surface
F igure 11 presents the share of “green urban areas and leisure facilities” on urban fabric.
It shows the very limited account of them in the Metro area, either because of excess of urbanisation (Milan and the north) or because of presence of agricultural areas (the south).
Fig. 11 Share of green non agricultural areas on urban fabric
All these results demostrate the need for a policy of natural conservation and qualification.
In particular the South of the Metropolitan area shows the effects of the conflict between city and countryside, with a reduction of agricultural areas and a fast development of industrial and commercial activities. At the same time, some municipalities of the south-eastern axis, with their large non-agricultural vegetated areas destined to sports and leisure, define a possible benchwork for a new partnership between urban and rural.
The real problem is that the environmental value of natural land, with its positive externalities, is not fully recognized by the market. In absence of ad hoc policy, the direct consequence of this fact is an overconsumption of this resources.
3. Suggestions for spatial planning and rural-urban partnerships
As underlined in the previous sections, the Metropolitan area of Milan is particularly favourable to analyse the relation between rural and urban land-uses, and, consequently, to propose guidelines for successful policy of urban-rural partnership.
The first type of proposals is referred to the landscape as producer of environmental values that market pricing can not evaluate correctly. In order to maximixe the production of “environmental commodities” for collective needs, it may be useful:
to train farmers to methods of agricultural production compatible with attention to the environment and the landscape;
to assure incentives to a management of natural land oriented to public accessibility and leisure activities;
to give incentives to transformation of neglected forestal into an attractive environment;
to give incentives to agricultural areas in order to increase their profitability and therefore hep them resist to land-use transformation;
to tax urban development on “greenfields” earmarking tax revenues to subsidise “brownfields” reabilitation.
In the process to replace conflicts between urban and rural areas with cooperation and symbiosis, the model of urbanization, influencing costs of mobility, costs of infrastructure and land consumption, has a central role. In particular, the subarbanisation in the metropolitan area of Milan not only consumes largely important land resources, but it is also responsible of high collective costs in terms of infrastructure provisions, mobility and energy.
The policies of “ containment” and planning of suburbanisation have to be based on:
integration of public metropolitan transport with new urban settlements;
functional diversification in municipalities far from the core, in order to create a “city effect”;
orientation of wide area planning towards a polycentric settlement structure, made up of small and medium urban centre surrounding the central city, well interlinked through public transport, and separated by continous belts of green spaces.
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