Another critic of the crackdown is Dr. Ugo Rossi, a geographer at the University of Turin and author of the book Cities in Global Capitalism. He points out that the law is a response to fundamental changes to the underlying character of Italian city centers. “It’s a structural problem” Rossi says, “one that is particularly evident in Rome and other tourist-dominated cities.” Thanks to the deregulation of the housing market and the rise of home-sharing services like Airbnb, the hearts of many historic Italian towns have become increasingly oriented towards tourist accommodation and businesses, “emptying” them of local residents. “What increasingly replaces them are tourists—or in cities such as Bologna, students—who are not respectful of public space,” says Rossi. “As a result city centers are now just places of consumption rather than residency—ones that are no longer used by local people.”

Not all cities suffer equally from residential displacement, however. “The city centers that have survived this kind of transformation are those in southern Italy’s major cities, such as Naples, Palermo, Bari” says Rossi, “where despite some touristification many people are still living in the city core. So reflexes like [the Daspo Urbano] are on the one hand related to anxieties about security, and on the other about fears of a loss of authenticity, or local people who are more protective of their environment.”

Why is Italy banning everything – Fergus O’Sullivan (CityLab)


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