Rome Business School study: They are not the Urban Centers but small cities that push the green economy in Italy

  • By 2025, cities will represent the 60% of the global GDP, confirming themselves as the engine of economic growth;
  • In Italy, the cities most committed to sustainability are Trento, Mantua, Pordenone and Bolzano. At the bottom of the ranking: Pescara, Palermo and Vibo Valentia;
  • Lombardy is the region most active in energy efficiency processes, circular economy and, in general, in initiatives and projects to reduce the environmental impact.
  • The Covid shown the importance of reaching digital maturity, otherwise people risk being excluded from society;

Rome, 21 September 2021. Rome Business School, the business school with the greatest international presence in Italy with students from 150 countries and part of the Formación y Universidades network created in 2003 by De Agostini and the Planeta Group, has published the study: “Smart cities: lights and shadows of the metropolises of the future“. It is curated by Valerio Mancini, Director of the Research Center of the Rome Business School and Roberto Ramirez Basterrechea, expert in smart cities, Cives Solutions. The study sheds light on how the pandemic has accelerated the need for more technological and ecological cities, that is, “smarter”, and the challenge that this poses in the transformation towards a sustainable economy. These smart cities must be in harmony with nature and enjoy urban planning that combines the innovation of public services and a resilient and proactive urban culture.

The research shows that in Italy it is the smaller cities, not the urban centers, that lead the way towards green development. In fact, we see a two-speed Italy: the first more dynamic and attentive to new urban choices, mobility services, renewable sources. The second, with a too slow trend in the environmental performance of metropolises, especially in terms of smog, transport, separate waste collection and water management. First of all, the cities of Trento, Mantua, Pordenone, Bolzano and Reggio Emilia at the top of the general classification demonstrate this. At the bottom of the ranking of the 104 cities analysed we find: Pescara, Palermo and Vibo Valentia.

Lombardy is the region most active in energy efficiency processes, circular economy and in initiatives and projects to reduce the environmental impact. Lazio, Piedmont, and Tuscany follow. The region’s most sensitive to environmental issues are those with the largest population; however, it is not the urban centers that support the data, but rather the smaller cities or those close to industrial areas. In general, large cities struggle to give answers to the critical issues that characterize them and for this reason we find important cities such as Rome and Naples in 89th and 90th place respectively. The exception is Milan (29th), which has been increasingly attentive in recent years to sustainable mobility and respect for the environment.

The authors conclude by identifying Italy’s main challenge to plan interventions in the best possible way, giving them continuity, taking a cue from the good performances of other European cities, starting and strengthening those projects that represent the only alternative to keep up with the rest of the world.

For Valerio Mancini, one of the co-authors of the research, “those who still think of fantastic cities where technology will be the end to reach the goal, is out of any reality, as they have not understood that smart cities are created for society, where technology is simply the tool that will help us achieve the desired results and face future challenges.”

In fact, there has been a concern about city management for years, because the increase in population brings with it problems of waste management, energy consumption and pollution. But the big cities are the engine of the economy in Europe, and even if their projected growth for 2040 was 65% and 70% for 2050, we now have to deal with the strong demographic change introduced by the Covid pandemic. -19. This situation has made inland areas throughout Europe and the world more attractive places to live and highlighted the strong need to incorporate technology into our lives, because “a person with great digital maturity will be more efficient and resilient than a digitally backward one” and we are in a world where violent and changing technology define people’s needs.

In this sense, the development of smart cities depends on cultural and therefore technological transformation: those who fail to adapt to technology will risk, in the long term, being excluded from society. This is particularly true in the case of larger cities, which are estimated to account for over 60% of global GDP by 2025 (Deloitte, 2019), by which time the growing smart cities market is expected to reach 2.57 trillion. dollars.

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