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What is left of Turin today. A chronicle made of 15 conversations about the future.

From “imperial city” to “working-class city”, to today’s “laboratory city”. More than any other Italian city, Turin has been through some momentous historical periods and socio-economic changes that made it into a fascinating vantage point from which to observe current political, productive, cultural and social dynamics. The capital of the Kingdom of Italy, at the centre of the economic boom and destination for immigration from the South; a bystander observing the rise of working-class neighbourhoods and large-scale industry; a stage for protests; the promoter of post-industrial regeneration.

And today? What future lurks in the shadows of Turin’s Mole Antonelliana building? Social innovation experiments, start-ups, automotive and aerospace industries?

Andrea Zaghi has gathered 15 accounts and created a dialogue – a dialogue between people working in a corporate environment and people engaged in cultural activities, focused on solidarity, the younger generation, education and training, research, environment, infrastructures, and much more.

Torino, città futura (Turin, future city) – edited by Il Mulino with support from the Compagnia di San Paolo Foundation and the Compagnia di San Paolo School Foundation – outlines, on the one hand, a Turin that no longer exists and, on the other, a Turin that has yet to be. What we find in the middle is the city of today: no longer industrial, no longer imperial, no longer boisterous or “in flux”.

Some of those interviewed remember, with some nostalgia, Turin’s past cultural, artistic and manufacturing zeal. Others contend that the 2006 Winter Olympics marked a turning point, after which the city lost its bearings, providing fertile ground for the propagation of dichotomies between centre and outskirts, wealth and poverty, marginalisation and exclusivity, factory workers and the intelligentsia, the determination to become relevant again and a lack of investment in young talents. These are polarisations described by the people interviewed, and from which a widespread feeling of disillusion arises.

Yet, Zaghi’s work also portrays a city that’s lively and resilient, made of countless different stories, faces and people. Young people, outskirt communities, secular and religious associations are revitalising and rousing the region from the bottom up, starting with the green economy, culture, digitalisation, re-urbanisation and infrastructures. The true wealth we need to be hoarding is human capital: reclaimed from the edges of town, from marginalised areas; exposed through training schemes and networking; detected through “feelers put out there on the streets”, smart enough to detect and reawaken creativity, daring to think outside the box and open up to others. As Francesco Profumo highlights in his foreword, Zaghi’s work “encompasses a series of impressions and indications that, if listened to and built upon, could really give this city a future that will be different from today – that will be better than today.”

Torino, città futura

Andrea Zaghi

Edizioni Il Mulino, 2021

From “imperial city” to “working-class city”, to today’s “laboratory city”. More than any other Italian city, Turin has been through some momentous historical periods and socio-economic changes that made it into a fascinating vantage point from which to observe current political, productive, cultural and social dynamics. The capital of the Kingdom of Italy, at the centre of the economic boom and destination for immigration from the South; a bystander observing the rise of working-class neighbourhoods and large-scale industry; a stage for protests; the promoter of post-industrial regeneration.

And today? What future lurks in the shadows of Turin’s Mole Antonelliana building? Social innovation experiments, start-ups, automotive and aerospace industries?

Andrea Zaghi has gathered 15 accounts and created a dialogue – a dialogue between people working in a corporate environment and people engaged in cultural activities, focused on solidarity, the younger generation, education and training, research, environment, infrastructures, and much more.

Torino, città futura (Turin, future city) – edited by Il Mulino with support from the Compagnia di San Paolo Foundation and the Compagnia di San Paolo School Foundation – outlines, on the one hand, a Turin that no longer exists and, on the other, a Turin that has yet to be. What we find in the middle is the city of today: no longer industrial, no longer imperial, no longer boisterous or “in flux”.

Some of those interviewed remember, with some nostalgia, Turin’s past cultural, artistic and manufacturing zeal. Others contend that the 2006 Winter Olympics marked a turning point, after which the city lost its bearings, providing fertile ground for the propagation of dichotomies between centre and outskirts, wealth and poverty, marginalisation and exclusivity, factory workers and the intelligentsia, the determination to become relevant again and a lack of investment in young talents. These are polarisations described by the people interviewed, and from which a widespread feeling of disillusion arises.

Yet, Zaghi’s work also portrays a city that’s lively and resilient, made of countless different stories, faces and people. Young people, outskirt communities, secular and religious associations are revitalising and rousing the region from the bottom up, starting with the green economy, culture, digitalisation, re-urbanisation and infrastructures. The true wealth we need to be hoarding is human capital: reclaimed from the edges of town, from marginalised areas; exposed through training schemes and networking; detected through “feelers put out there on the streets”, smart enough to detect and reawaken creativity, daring to think outside the box and open up to others. As Francesco Profumo highlights in his foreword, Zaghi’s work “encompasses a series of impressions and indications that, if listened to and built upon, could really give this city a future that will be different from today – that will be better than today.”

Torino, città futura

Andrea Zaghi

Edizioni Il Mulino, 2021