Metropolitan Governance: call for institutional innovation of the system between Milan and Bologna

ESPON IMAGINE - Focus Group “Milan-Bologna: the territorial functions”

On 10 November 2020, the focus group "Milan-Bologna: the territorial functions" was held online as part of the ESPON IMAGINE targeted analysis with the involvement of representatives of the local and regional institutions, universities and foundations of banking origin of the Milan-Bologna urban region. They have been invited to discuss, each from their own perspective, the relations and interactions among the territorial functions in the system that extends from Milan to Bologna.

The meeting was preceded on 5 November by another focus group with the actors of the economic functions of the Milan-Bologna area (see the article here). The two meetings are part of a program of focus groups and regional workshops promoted by Globus et Locus, Politecnico di Milano and Sciences Po, and aimed at local governments and the stakeholders of the main economic and territorial functions, to discuss with them the feasibility of a new governance approach for the development of a regional imaginary and an integrated territorial development between Milan and Bologna.

Meeting local actors

The focus group on the territorial functions has seen the participation of representatives of ESPON and of the local IMAGINE project stakeholders: the two Metropolitan cities of Milan and Bologna, the provinces of Pavia and Piacenza and AIM (Associazione Interessi Metropolitani). It has been the occasion for sharing the knowledge and the objectives of IMAGINE targeted analysis with the representatives of other local institutions and relevant actors of the area.

Isabella Susi Botto of Città Metropolitana di Milano (project leader) highlighted how common strategic objectives have already been recognized among local administrations, aimed at mobilizing new resources to implement strategic projects in a sustainable development perspective and, in particular, on the issue of mobility and urban planning. Alessandro Delpiano (Città Metropolitana di Bologna) added that IMAGINE project could help to outline forms of institutional innovation starting from the local level, overcoming administrative boundaries with innovative institutional and financial tools.

Polycentric dimension of the Milan-Bologna system

The relevance of the polycentric dimension of the Milan-Bologna system was underlined during the debate. The partnerships between the metropolitan cities of Milan and Bologna and the ones between the two regions should be accompanied by networks encompassing intermediate cities and small municipalities, necessary to govern the currently existing territorial disparities, which may be increased by the high-speed railway connection between major cities. From this point of view, the Po river can play a mending role. Another important role can be played by the foundations of banking origin which, as private entities operating in the territories, have the necessary resources to activate experimental projects of trans-regional cooperation involving local public and private actors.

In their final conclusions, Fabio Rugge and Piero Bassetti underlined the potential for institutional innovation of the system between Milan and Bologna that is emerging in the IMAGINE Project, but also the necessity to identify the lack of a governmental framework able to address the questions and proposals of this “region” in formation.

Further information