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How industrial districts change

The ‘Twentieth Rota Report on Turin’: the story of a city that once exemplified the culture of industry

 

Manufacturing districts, clusters of social momentum and business opportunities, stories of people and of technical ingenuity, are the qualities of many of the areas that have produced and continue to produce (despite everything) Italy’s wealth and well-being. It also applies to the business culture that is created and develops in the country’s manufacturing areas. A wide range of circumstances, yet all united by the common trait of Italianness. Understanding their development is useful to better understanding the future, as well as the nature of the present. You can do so by reading the ‘Twentieth Giorgio Rota Report on Turin’, written by multiple authors and coordinated by the Centro di Ricerca e Documentazione Luigi Einaudi (with Turin University and Turin Polytechnic).

‘Futuro rinviato’ (‘future postponed’) is the subtitle the writers chose to give the report, effectively summing up the 20 years of evolution in the Piedmontese capital between pushes for growth and halts to development. It’s a real ‘balance sheet of the last twenty years’, divided into three parts. In the first of these, from a wide range of statistical data and indicators, a long-term comparison is made between Turin and other Italian cities. In the second part, plans, projects and strategic documents, launched around the year 2000, are examined to verify what has actually been achieved over the years, when and how, and what issues have emerged. Finally, in the third part, the decisions taken by local government are analysed, along with methods for studying them.

The research also asks ‘How has the city changed compared to two decades ago? giving an overall positive response but adding: ‘Considering the trend of Turin over the last twenty years (compared to the average) and its current position among Italian cities, the main strengths that emerge are above all its universities, various aspects of the city’s cultural system, but also some environmental qualities.’ In other cases, the city is ‘still well positioned but has lost ground over the years, in innovation (patents, exports, skilled labour) and sustainability (green, waste, cycling).’

What emerges from the results of the research is a complex and apparently contradictory narrative, but a story that outlines the difficulties of development (and therefore not only of growth in quantitative terms) of what was once considered a factory city and which then had to reinvent itself and change perspective. The culture of production and doing business also changed.

Reading the ‘Twentieth Rota Report’ is useful for anyone who wants not only to learn more about a territory that was once industrial par excellence, but also to learn the evolutionary traits of an area once dedicated to industry which had to reinvent itself relatively quickly. Also, as has been said, from a cultural aspect as well as manufacturing and development.

 

Futuro rinviato. Ventesimo Rapporto Giorgio Rota su Torino

Various authors
Centro di Ricerca e Documentazione Luigi Einaudi, 2019

The entire report can be downloaded at the link https://www.rapporto-rota.it/

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