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Ways of Thinking and Looking at the Mediterranean City

Pace, Giuseppe (2002): Ways of Thinking and Looking at the Mediterranean City.


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It’s almost a decade that the social science attitude has changed in evaluating the history and reality of the Mediterranean basin geographic area. The decadence of capitalistic modernisation has created a void in social and cultural relationships. A process of cultural legitimisation has been started, focussed on the Mediterranean image and identity, which is pointing out the problem of local cultures’ knowledge and preservation as fundamental elements for planning and management. Searching for a definition of Mediterranean city, not only through geographical or morphological schemes, the paper considers also social, economic and cultural elements, like the borders’ permeability, the supremacy of the “family” on the State and the pervasiveness of the informal economy. Most of these urban realities reveal a “culture of the derogation” and a great rural immigration that give still significance to a classification of resident population, instead of those based on the service users. Moreover, the large Mediterranean urban areas are usually based on a unique centre, rich of economic and human resources, connected to a hinterland poor and degraded, without any kind of identity. On the economic side, the need of entering in the global market leads most of these cities facing the international scale and finding a strong characterisation. On the social side, it could increase the social exclusions with the danger of conflicts. Anyway, every solution must start from the regional scale with public policies, which aim to promote the consensus, exceeding the urban/rural distinctions and stimulating the local community participation.

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