The urban bioregion as form and project of the co-evolution between urban and rural domain. the case of the Florence metropolitan area


  • David Fanfani





Urban Bioregion, Periurban Planning, Agricultural Park, Self-Reliance, Bioregional Economy


Urbanization processes entailed, especially in western countries, growing interaction between urban and rural domain alongside with ‘resilience’ problems also related to global economic, climate and ‘transition’ matters. That calls for a ‘re-embedding’ of cities in their surrounding regions. In such a framework, this article explores the opportunity of recovering, in planning practices, the ‘urban bioregion’ concept, as key feature for balanced and co-evolutionary polycentric urban regions. That allows to point out, as in the case described relatively to Florence MA, the need to adopt integrated and bottom-up approach, in order to overcome routine and path-dependent practices in periurban areas planning.


[1] Friedmann, J. & Weaver, C. Territory and function. The evolution of regional planning, Edward Arnold, Chicago , (1979).

[2] Magnaghi, A., Il progetto locale, Torino, Bollati Boringhieri, (2010), (IIth edition reviewed).English translation of first edition, The Urban villages: a charter for democracy and local self-sustainable, London, Zed Books, (2005).

[3] Atkinsons, A., “The urban bioregion as sustainable development paradigmâ€, Third world Planning review, Vol. 4, No.14, (1992), 327-354.

[4] Allen, A., “Neither rural nor urban: Service delivery options that work for peri-urban poorâ€, McCarney P., Kurian M. (eds.) Peri-urban Water and Sanitation Services. Policies, Planning and Method, Springer, London, (2010), 27-61.

[5] Thayer, R. L. “The world shrinks the world expands: information, energy and relocalizationâ€, Cook, E. & Lara J.J. (Eds) Remaking metropolis, Milton Park, Abingdon, Routledge, (2013), 39-59

[6] OECD, Regional typology: Updated statistics,(2009), Paris, 240-253, available online:, last visit:10.02.2014.

[7] OECD, Building resilient regions for stronger economies, Paris, OECD Regional Outlook, (2011).

[8] Hall, P. & Pain, K. (Eds), The Polycentric Metropolis. Learning from Mega-City Regions in Europe, London, Earthscan, (2006)

[9] Sassen, S. Cities in a world economy, Los Angeles, Sage, (2004)

[10] European Environment Agency (EEA), Urban sprawl in Europe. The ignored challenge, EEA Report, (2006), available online:, last visit: 09.02.2015 .

[11] Soja, E., Postmetropolis: Critical Studies of Cities and Regions, Oxford, Blackwell Publishers, (2000).

[12] OECD, Rural-Urban partnership, an integrated approach to economic development, Paris, OECD, (2013).

[13] Brenner N., Schmid C., “The ‘urban age’ in questionâ€, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Vol.38, No. 3, (2014), 731-755.

[14] Brenner N., Schmid C., “Towards a new epistemology of the urban?â€, City, Vol. 19, No. 2-3, (2015), 151-182.

[15] Van Leuven, E., Rural-Urban integration; town as focus point in rural development, Dordrecht, Springer-Verlag, (2010).

[16] Jacobs, J., Cities and the wealth of nations. Principles of economic life, New York, Random House, (1984).

[17] ESPON, EDORA, European development opportunity for rural areas. Final report, (2013).

[18] European Regions Commitee (ERC),Opinion on Local Food Systems, (2011/C 104/01), (2011): available online:, 2015), last visit: 09.02.2015.

[19] Van der Ploegh J.D.,The New Peasantries. Struggles for Autonomy and Sustainability in an Era of Empire and Globalization, London, Earthscan, (2008).

[20] Sale, K., Dwellers in the land: The bioregional vision, San Francisco, Sierra Club book, (1985).

[21] Thayer, R.L., LifePlace, Bioregional Thought and practice, Berkeley, California University Press, (2003), .

[22] Magnaghi, A., La bioregion urbaine. Petit traité sur le territoir bien commun, Paris, Eterotopia, (2014).

[23] Geddes P., Cities in Evolution. London, Williams & Norgate, (1915).

[24] Douglass, M., “A regional network strategy for reciprocal rural-urban linkages: an agenda for policy research with reference to Indonesiaâ€, Third World Planning Review, Vol.1, No. 20, (1998), 1-33.

[25] Allen, A., “Environmental planning and management of the periurban interface: perspectives on an emerging fieldâ€,Environment and urbanization, Vol. 15, (2003), 135-147, Available Online:, last visit: 09.02.2015.

[26] Atkinsons, A., “The urban bioregion as sustainable development paradigmâ€, Third world Planning review, Vol. 4, No.14, (1992), 327-354.

[27] Magnaghi, A. & Fanfani, D. (eds), Patto città campagna. Un progetto di bioregione urbana per la Toscana centrale, Firenze, Alinea, (2010).

[28] Jancovici J.M., Transition énergetique pour tous. Ce que les politiquesn’osent pas vous dire, Paris, Odile Jacobs, 2011.

[29] Alexander C., “The Countrysideâ€, in A Pattern language. A timeless way of building, Oxford (Mass), Oxford University Press, (1977), 36-39.

[30] European Economic Social Committee (EESC) Opinion on Agriculture in Periurban Areas, NAT/204, Brussels, (2004), available online:,, last visit: 09-02.2015.

[31] Scott Cato M., The bioregional economy, Land, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, London, Routledge, (2013).

[32] Pezzoli, K., “Bioregional justice: a framework for ecological restorationâ€, (draft statement prepared for the good neighbour environmental board), San Diego, Cal., Global Action Research Centre,. (2013), 1-7, available online: last visit: 10.02.2015.

[33] Noorgard, R.B., Development betrayed, the end of progress and a coevolutionary revisioning of the future, London, Routledge,(1994).

[34] Power, T.M., Lost landscapes and failed economies. The search for a value of place, Washington, D.C., Island Press, (1996)

[35] Poli D., “Pianificazione paesaggistica e bioregione: dalle regole statutarie alle norme figurateâ€, Magnaghi, A. (ed) La regola e il progetto. Un approccio bioregionalista alla pianificazione territoriale, Firenze, Firenze University Press, (2014), 97-126.

[36] Dematteis, G., “Per una geografia della territorialità attiva e dei valori territorialiâ€, Bonora, P. (Ed) SLoT, Quaderno1, Bologna, Baskerville, (2001), 11-30.

[37] Stöhr W.B., Thödling, “Spatial equity-Some Anti-theses to current regional development doctrineâ€, Regional Sciences, Vol.38, No.2, (1977), 33-53.

[38] Friedmann, J. & Weaver, C. Territory and function. The evolution of regional planning, Edward Arnold, Chicago , (1979).

[39] Fanfani, D., Pianificare fra città e campagna. Scenari, attori e progetti di nuova ruralità per il territorio di Prato, Firenze, Firenze University Press, (2009).

[40] Morgan, K., “Feeding the city: the challenge of urban food planningâ€, International Planning Studies, Vol.4, No. 14, (2009), 341-348, available online:, last visit 15.01.2014.

[41] Morgan, K. & Sonnino, R. “The urban foodscape. World cities and the new food equationâ€, Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, Vol.3, No.2, (2010), 209-224.

[42] Marino, D., Cicatiello, C. (Eds), Farmer’s markets, la mano visibile del mercato. Aspetti economici, sociali e ambientali delle filiere corte, Milano, Franco Angeli, (2013).

[43] Dwarshuis-Van de Beek, L., “Local Food systemsâ€, Presentation for the International meeting of Rururbal Project, The agri-food local systems and the new European policies,(2011), available online:, last visit: 05.01.2015.

[44] Calvelli G., Mengo M. Politiche e piani per il territorio periurbano, scenario progettuale per il Parco agricolo della piana di Prato. (Undergraduate degree dissertation), Florence University, (2008)

[45] Hopkins, R. The transition Handbook. From oil dependency to local resilience, Vermont, Chelsea Green Publishing, (2008)

[46] Newman, P. “A vision for resilient citiesâ€, Resilient cities. Responding to peak oil and climate change, Island Press, Washington D.C. (2009), ,55-85.

[47] Wilson, E., Piper, J., Spatial Planning and Climate change, New York, Routledge, (2010).

[48] Iacoponi L., “La complementarità fra città e campagna per lo sviluppo sostenibile: il concetto di Bioregioneâ€, Rivista di economia agraria, Vol. 4, No. LIX, (2004), 443-475.

[49] Rovai, M., Di Iacovo, F. & Orsini, S., “Il ruolo degli ecosystem services nella pianificazione territoriale sostenibileâ€, Perrone, C. , Zetti, I. (Eds) Il valore della terra. Teoria e applicazioni per il dimensionamento della pianificazione territoriale, Milano, Franco Angeli, (2009), 135-162.

[50] Lynch, K., Good City Form, Cambridge (Mass), Cambridge University Press, (1984).

View Full Article: