Open Review of Management, Banking and Finance

«They say things are happening at the border, but nobody knows which border» (Mark Strand)

Urban regeneration between circular economy, regional planning and (EU) planning instruments

by Ali Khashan* and C. Alessio Mauro**

ABSTRACT: This essay reconstructs the theme of urban regeneration in the light of current national and European interventions for territorial redevelopment. As a consequence, the issue of the circular economy is tackled, placing it in the category of an economic and social system marked by equity and sustainability.

SUMMARY: 1. Foreword – 2. Introduction – 3. The economic and social context of urban regeneration – 4. Smart city in the EU perspective – 5. The legal framework of urban regeneration – 6. An infra-regional overview – 7. Urban regeneration between community and international experience: an outline – 8. Regional planning in the PNRR – 9. Conclusive remarks.

1. As most of the world’s population seeks to live in cities, Cities have become the major centers of resource consumption, preeminent industrial cities.

 Since most of the modern economic theories are compatible with the strategies proposed by most countries, international and regional organizations, especially the United Nations, as they seek to slow down and narrow the use of resources by preventing waste, improving the use of resources, and developing them in a way that serves the people and in a manner that ensures the preservation of the environment.

 Cities around the world are beginning to adopt circular economy strategies that rely on resource use, transportation, good planning, prevent waste and rely on technology, including the integration of human systems and nature through flows of materials, energy, water, and land and through technology options, which allow More reformed use of resources rather than relying solely on efficiency and some improvements. This requires moving away from the current model of production and consumption to a circular model, where products, components, and materials are kept of the highest utility and value.

 The researcher underlines a continuous positive development cycle aimed at preserving, enhancing natural capital, improving resources, and reducing system risks by introducing fundamental changes to the current management method at all levels, including the scope of small businesses to the total area of the global resource cycles.

In his discussion of the mechanisms of urban renewal between circular economy, regional planning, and planning tools, where the research sets the European Union as an example, it distinguishes between the economic and social context of urban renewal. According to the European Union’s perspective, it seeks to have a smart city.

The research did not ignore the regional aspect (where the author underlined the need for regional planning, which gives the research comprehensiveness and originality), and this is evident also in the mixture in its handling of the issue of urban renewal between society and international experience. Of particular relevance are the recommendations and observations contained in the research, which show the changes in life patterns and their effects on the dynamics of industrial and production policy (which characterized and still characterize the economic system’s overall cycle at the national and regional and European levels).

What distinguishes this research also is what the researcher has done from a precise drawing of the legal framework for urban renewal, which is of great importance that contributes to development at all levels and lays a clear basis for the legislative philosophy in this framework.

Ultimately, the researcher sought to separate global economic development from limited resource consumption and environmental impact as a radically new perspective based on existing system thinking focused on radically alternative solutions.

This requires a new set of tools and guidelines to understand resource flows and their impacts and assess the effectiveness of integrated solutions. This paper has contributed to providing an analytical framework and relying on a set of metrics to evaluate the context of urban renewal projects, identify infrastructure needs, and meet the main challenges and environmental requirements to ensure a comprehensive sustainable economic system in which law plays a dialectical role with the economy.

 The pandemic and environmental crisis showed the need for a comprehensive review of the entire industrial and production system.

Where the law acts in dialectics with the economy for the development of a smart economy applicable (on the basis of European and international experiences in the field of regional redevelopment) to the national recovery and resilience plan and a framework for urban renewal in the current economic and social context.

2. Significant changes in lifestyles had a decisive impact on the dynamics of industrial and production policy, characterising the overall cycle of the national and European economic system.

New social and collective needs of the 19th century contributed to the adaptation of production processes and thus laid to an aggravation of the planet’s bio-climatic system, that led to the raise of the concept of circular economy[1].

Echoing the Chōra in Plato’s Timaeus[2], the industrialisation of the planet has generated undefined effects on a large scale, which the Community legislator acting as a Demiurge has countered ecological requirements to guarantee an overall sustainable economic system. The beginning of the pandemic and the rise of the ecological crisis, as well as being bound by the so-called “equation of disasters”[3], seems to be characterised by an identical common denominator that consists in the need for an overall review of the entire industrial and production system of our country.

Alike what happened during previous financial recessions[4], the need to regulate the phenomena of social and economic life is enriched today with new tools, in the light of the evident increase in the instruments entrusted by the State[5]. The delicate balances that have recently characterized market trends make the need to find the right point of contact between legal, economic, and scientific reality, more than topical. On one hand, there is the need to pursue the so-called “environmental sustainability”, in its various forms, and on the other hand, a new model of State intervention in the economy is developing which, in the necessary observance of the principle of the spill over effect (to guarantee fair play in competition), seems to be aimed at the planned regulation of strategic sectors, directing their development towards the overall common good, and in the footprint of the so-called sharing economy.

The challenges posed by the maze of reforms for the development of the supply chain are based on scientific paradigms, aiming to improve territorial protection (according to the schedule contemplated by the European Green Deal). In this scenario, there is a renewed awareness aimed to guarantee the function of territorial planning as a prototype of industrial planning, which is also having to be understood as economic planning[6].

Moreover, on the basis of the higher principles enshrined in Articles 9, 41, 42, 44 and 117, third paragraph of the Constitution, Articles 11 and 191 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (as well as the European Landscape Convention ratified under Law no. 14 of 9 January 2006. 14), at a national level the regulatory process on urban regeneration is going to be defined; in fact, urban regeneration is intended as a tool aimed to recovering the built heritage in order to improve its quality, energy and water efficiency, seismic safety, and the average level of technological equipment, without neglect to promote the development of integrated and sustainable urban policies.

Moreover, it is important to consider the recent publication in the Official Gazette no. 4 of January 7th 2022, of the Inter-ministerial Decree, in which the Ministry of Internal Affairs, (in agreement with the Ministry of  Economy and Finance and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Sustainable Mobility), identified the municipalities entitled to receive contributions, as an expression of the broader principle of protecting social cohesion[7], where the protection of the environment and landscape and the safeguarding of the ecosystem functions of the soil reverse the systematic objectives that, among others, constitute the foundation of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan.

In this paper we therefore propose to frame the urban regeneration in the current economic and social context. Hence, once having addressed the issue related to the so-called smart city, more properly called smart economy, and the related internal regulatory framework, some examples of national legislation will be outlined. In addition, the examination of European and international experiences in the field of territorial redevelopment will be a prerequisite for confirming the centrality of the State’s role in the market in today’s scientific debate, due to the principle enacted by Art. 41 of the Constitution, and by the guidelines expressed in the articles of the Constitution and in the Charter’s articles, as well as in the direction expressed in the articulated reforms contemplated in the PNRR.

3. In light of these premises and in accordance with the industrial policy and economic planning guidelines adopted on a large scale, there is a renewed interest in urban regeneration within the framework of urban planning law[8]. This is, once again, undoubtedly assuming a central role in the debate, also because of the delicate goals that have been reserved for it in terms of bio-climatic and ecological balance of the system.

It is for this reason that it is very necessary to delimit the scope of the institution under analysis, also considering from a socio-economic point of view.

In fact, the expression urban regeneration constitutes a notion with an uncertain boundary, both with regard to its specific content as well as the relative scope of reference. In fact, next to a definition of a purely legal nature that can be found in primary sources, such as regional legislation, as well as in secondary sources, such as regulations, it is used to indicate, more generally, interventions of recovery and redevelopment of assets or public or private spaces in order to allow an efficient use[9].

To this end, it seems appropriate to distinguish this definition from  urban requalification, which isonly apparently similar to the institute in question, and which includes what is expressed in the English language by the expression up-grading, who literally echoes the concept of “raising the level”. This latter designation refers to the type of intervention aimed at correcting waste and imbalances and which, therefore, are proposed and implemented to improve the general conditions connected to the shared use of certain public or private spaces, as well as the infrastructures present in them.

Moreover, the French expression rehabilitation, accentuates the meaning of recovery of the characteristics of a given asset in order to recover its lost features.

Therefore, it is in the light of these preliminary thoughts that it can be considered correct to ascribe the semantic set included in the expression urban regeneration in the broader framework of urban redevelopment. The aim is to address urban planning to a comprehensive re-evaluation of the existing urban structure (referring, however, to the concept of urban planning as a rethinking of the city as a whole). This operation involves urban planning as an instrument that includes all the interests present in the territory, and that must be equally satisfied, even more thinking of the goals that urban planning have to fulfil, in terms of bio-climatic goals, sanctioned also at a European and international level.

In fact, the overall vision of urban regeneration, and for this reason the number of elements that are involved in this field, discounts the naturalistic division that characterises the territories.

It is possible to distinguish, with a certain margin of approximation, between municipal and supra-communal spheres (therefore, with the province or, id est, the metropolitan city). And again, within the regional sphere, keeping firmly in mind that generally the interventions of urban requalification and/or regeneration have their raison d’être in the city, to whose functional optimisation of the use of goods and services they are aimed.

What emerges in all this is a sense of recovery that, according to Heidegger, must be intended as an equation whereby “building the city means making places live”[10]. This generates the need to rethink the composition of urban space and to focus attention on the relationships of identification and belonging that bind the inhabitants to the places they inhabit.

Thus, it seems desirable, as some authors have authoritatively argued, to nudge urban regeneration policy towards the pursuit of the primary need, for solidarity and integration of the social body, alongside more markedly economic values[11].

Even in our time, cities are the main place where people live and work at the crossroads of any development scenario. Thus, this has led to the emergence of typical urban development problems such as traffic congestion, noise and air pollution, lack of green spaces, imbalances between the centre and the suburbs, etc… 

The process of acquiring new and larger urban spaces takes place in a twofold direction: outwards, and this is the trend leading to metropolitan cities and, on a global scale, to megacities; inwards, by means of redevelopment and recovery of disused, abandoned, or underused areas, which together may constitute a supply exceeding any reasonable public or private real estate demand.

In other words, this is a complex process in which, alongside the macro dimension of traditional urban planning (the general regulatory plan), is emerging the expression of implementation urban planning (in the process that takes place inwards); that has to be understood as a tool capable of operating, a concrete transformation of urban spaces buildings, urban, in a more circumscribed dimension, (in accordance with the principles of environmental protection and sustainable development).

In other words, the principle of sustainable development does not derive directly from socio-economic sciences, nor does it properly belong to urban planning law, but arise, on the contrary, directly from environmental law. Therefore, the first version of the Environment Code did not contain any reference to the notion of sustainable development, which in the corrective measure introduced by article 3 quater of Legislative Decree no. 4 of January 16th 2008 states that “all human activities legally relevant under this code must comply with the principle of sustainable development, in order to ensure that the satisfaction of the needs of current generations cannot compromise the quality of life and future generations”. While the second paragraph identifies as the overriding interest the environment considered in itself, as a priority public interest (“The activity of the public administration must also be aimed at enabling the best possible implementation of the principle of sustainable development, so that in the comparative choice of public and private interests connoted by discretion the interests of environmental protection and heritage must be given priority consideration.”).

Thus, the notion of sustainable development can be the key to interpreting the link between the environment and economic-social needs, with the result that development is sustainable when it is sustainable for the natural environment or, in other words, the natural environment is capable of supporting a given development to the extent that the latter does not lead to degradation, destruction of basic environmental resources.

4. That said, the term smart city[12] or “intelligent city” is part of the pamphlet published by the European Parliament entitled “Mapping the Smart Cities in the EU”, according to which a smart city must guarantee the coexistence of a series of elements. In this context, the expression “smart city” has a mixed meaning.  The latter sometimes expresses the concept of Smart Economy, to be understood as a broader application of the principle of free movement of goods, persons and capital through the simplifications and synergies arising from the extension of information technologies; at other times, it refers to Smart Mobility,  a concept that can be traced back to sustainable mobility through the alternative spread of environmentally friendly road transport, which is aimed at reducing the economic costs of urban transport for families and businesses.

In addition, Smart Environment and Smart Living, both of which fall within the more common meaning of energy saving and higher quality of life, also have an important relevance. Smart Governance integrates a different agree, a different action style, referable to the activity of Public Administrations, which overall aims at simplifying the bureaucratic system and opening up to consensual forms of intervention in the territory. Moreover, Smart People is used to indicate forms and methods of active citizenship capable of playing a propulsive and participatory role in the city’s governance choices (even through the widespread use of information technologies and the new forms of social communication they allow).

Therefore, it is on the basis of these considerations that it does not seem unreasonable to believe that any urban redevelopment and/or regeneration intervention can be ascribed to the above-mentioned smart city framework. This means that the urban context is suitable for guaranteeing and creating the conditions for an adequate territorial valorisation, at the same time favouring the involvement and active participation of citizens (namely, those who are directly or even only indirectly interested in such interventions).

In other words, a city can be considered smart when it is able to take up the challenge of future changes, also in light of public opinion on the subject of competition between cities. By leveraging their human, material and immaterial resources cities are able to reinvent themselves in the face of the drives, needs and requirements that come both from their own context and from outside.

In general, and as illustrated in the introduction, it should be noted that the analysis of the context of urban regeneration does not appear to be detached from the necessary interdisciplinary component, as both the regulations on urban planning and the legal and economic-social sciences play a role in the matter.

In fact, there is no doubt that urban sociology and economics have long since highlighted the concept of the so-called urban sprawl, or the phenomenon of the diffuse city. This refers to the effects of the rapid growth of the city in its expanding peripheral areas, in the form of the scarce presence of green spaces, lack of adequate forms of local public transport connections, scarcity of services and total absence of infrastructures for alternative mobility.

The urban regeneration projects are therefore placed in the expression of an implementation of urban planning that is suitable to provide the necessary contribution to the recovery and revitalisation of these areas.

Moreover, implementation planning is the tool that is able to face the difficulty of planning interventions of interest to the city as a whole, in order to overcome the difficulties of finding resources. In this meaning implementation planning will be able to carry out qualifying interventions in relation to the standard of living in urban and, in any case, peripheral areas.

For this reason, multi-level institutions emerged, alongside the expression urban regeneration, which are territorial planning, energy efficiency, territorial compensation and equalisation, land consumption, as well as (as will be shortly seen), the concept of circular economy. Similarly, the same interventions carried out within the sphere of territorial planning encompass public and private interests that sometimes tend to overlap and even to reach to a possible harmonisation, in the common objective of recovering a situation of degradation, aiming jointly at pursuing policies of grows and overall recovery.

Therefore, the urban planning tool fulfils the double purpose of planning and economy, since the concrete declinations generated by it refer to the territory as a whole, even if respecting the potential of the single areas (zoning) of interest.

To this end, in the strengthening and resilience of the various urban fabrics, the various rationes of the same urban redevelopment are appreciated, where it is intended to ensure the contrast of the phenomena of tertiarization or social exclusion, with the various measures of environmental restoration.

The crisis of urban planning seems to have affected the very notion of territory (as seems to emerge in the 1942 town planning law), as well as the very notion of landscape coinciding with the aesthetic interest (referred to in Article 9 of the Constitution), which is now identified with the natural and anthropized context, in accordance with the principles contemplated in the European Landscape Convention, hence with any urban or peripheral space, even if degraded[13].

5. In general, the regulatory framework on urban regeneration is framed by Articles 9 and 117 of the Constitution, by the European Landscape Convention, signed in Florence on October 20th 2000, ratified under Law No. 14 of January 9th 2006, and by the Articles 11 and 191 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

They set out the basic principles for the development and protection of the soil, with specific regard to agricultural, natural, and semi-natural areas, in order to promote the protection of the landscape, the environment and agricultural activity, as well as the containment of soil consumption as a common good and a non-renewable resource that generates ecosystem services.

In particular, the fight against urban decay and the recovery of the urban fabric has been a priority of the legal system, starting from the content of Law 457 of August 5th 1978, (which entrusts the recovery of the existing building and urban heritage) to the recovery plan on public or private initiative.

This law was followed by the provisions of Article 16 of Law no. 179 of February 17th 1992, whose functions are related to the urban and environmental reorganisation, as well as article 5, paragraphs 9 et seq. of Decree-Law No. 70 of May 13th 2011.  

The regional legislation in recent years has produced – as will be seen later – a significant development. In this regard, the Municipality always caver a central importance role, as it is responsible for the identification of areas subject to urban planning, the perimeter of the area that has to be regenerated, the identification of objectives that has to be achieved in the context concerned, the determination of redevelopment objectives, the promotion and presentation of operational agreements with stakeholders.

The basic question that emerges from the examination of the mechanisms introduced in the regional legislation concerns the actual efficiency of planning when multiple centres of interest intersect. It is necessary, in fact, to look at the formation of the will of the proposing subject as the result of previous agreements, or measures, all the more in the hypotheses in which the fragmentation of property rights occurs, as it is very rare that the same areas intended for regeneration (given their extension) belong to the same owner[14] .

It is, therefore, in such cases that it is necessary to adopt a working tool that allows to overcome the dissent of those who are not willing to implement regeneration projects[15].

It is also important to stress the issue of compliance with the urban standards set out inArticle 41-quinquies, paragraph 8, of Law 1150 of 1942 and, more specifically, the issue on the financial sustainability of such interventions is also of interest.

Regarding the first topic, it must be said that the fundamental law of 1942 requires, in the formation of municipal planning tools, the observance of mandatory limits of building density, height, distance between buildings, as well as the maximum ratios between spaces intended for residential and productive settlements and public spaces (or reserved for collective activities, public parks or parking)[16] . In densely urbanised areas (as in those intended by regeneration policies) it is difficult to find areas to be allocated to standards, thus making regeneration even more difficult. On this point, the practice of the so-called “monetization of urban standards” seems appropriate, which has the effect of separating the commoda (i. e. the positive externalities arising from property revenues for the benefit of the municipality) from the incommoda (negative externalities), which results in a worsening of the quality of life for the inhabitants of the area[17] .

6. In the current legislation, the relationship between urban regeneration and soil consumption is essential, since intervening ex ante and during strategic planning in order to define the best territorial strategies also at the time of the adoption of plans[18]is a specific peculiarity of regeneration policies. The most recent regional legislation give particular attention to the modalities through which the same urban planning tools can pursue the programmed goals of urban regeneration; in this, particular regard is given to soil protection, rewarding measures and the enhancement of historical centres[19].

Certainly, the implementation of these primary principles now seems to be introduced into the legal system through regional legislation.

In this regard, by Regional Law No. 7 of July 18th 2017,published in Ordinary Supplement No. 3 to the Official Bulletin of the Lazio Region No. 57 of July 18th 2017, Lazio approved the “Provisions for urban regeneration and building rehabilitation[20].

As it is known, these dispositions are the first organic intervention within the field of urban regeneration, aimed at overcoming the original fragmentation of the subject in the field of building rehabilitation, which was originally included in the general urban planning legislation, at both, national and local level.

In fact, Lazio’s regional law takes note, of the state of building expansion in large urban areas, from a legal and regulatory point of view, in the forms it has taken over time. In fact, the enhancement of the recovery of existing buildings plays a predominant role[21].

Lazio’s regional law was implemented on the basis of two fundamental national legislation provisions, related to the art. 5 of the decree-law of May 13th 2011, no. 70 converted, with amendments, into law 12/07/2011, no. 106, called “European Semester – First urgent provisions for the economy” (the “Development Decree“).

It should be pointed out that this regulatory framework is completely innovative with respect to the previous regulations. First of all, the requalification and regeneration of the urban framework can be carried out even if there are unauthorised buildings in the areas concerned (or buildings for which amnesty has been requested but not yet issued).

The provision presents a discontinuity with the past legislation, since all previous urban planning interventions aimed to protect the existing situation (even in cases of “abuse of necessity“) and to guarantee urban standards, services, primary and secondary urbanisation suitable for functionality and liveability in the area[22].

On the contrary, as mentioned above, today it is possible to plan the total demolition of the existing buildings for the new urbanisation of the area with more functional destinations.

Lazio Region, consistently with the EU programmes outlined in the field of territorial regeneration, introduces specific paradigms in the structuring of calls about the European structural funds of interest for the urban regeneration interventions, at the same time favouring the development of circular economy and social inclusion.

Moreover, no intervention is allowed in areas subject to absolute building prohibition and in protected areas; intervention is allowed instead in areas classified as “urban landscape” by the Regional Landscape Plan (PTPR).

In addition, agricultural areas are excluded, with the exception of certain specific circumstances, related to the existence of settlements included in the Regional Landscape Plan, while the prescriptions regarding direct interventions, which allow increases of up to 20% of the volume or surface area are still applicable.

It is up to the municipalities to identify the “urban” territorial areas for redevelopment and building restoration, in order to allow building and urban restructuring/demolitions and reconstructions, with a maximum additional volume or gross floor area of 30%.

On this topic, it should be noted that with the publication in the Official Gazette no. 239 of October 12th,  2017 of the Decree of the President of the Council of Ministers of August 4th 2017, provisions have been provided for the strengthening of the cinematographic area and multifunctional centres. In particular, non-repayable contributions for “30 million Euros for each of the years 2017, 2018 and 2019, 20 million Euros for 2020 and 10 million Euros for 2021” have been provided, which, according to the modalities indicated in the above-mentioned Ministerial Decree, can also be used for “building works strictly functional to the construction of new cinemas, to the restoration of inactive cinemas, to the renovation and structural and technological adaptation of cinemas” (i.e. by taking advantage of the opportunities provided by the law on urban regeneration in Lazio).

Particular evidence should be noted about the interventions under Article 7 of Lazio Regional Law no. 7/2017, which refers to Article 28-bis of the Consolidated Law on Construction on the subject of building permits with agreement, as a model operating for all the interventions described above.

It is appropriate to also briefly recall the law of the Veneto Region no. 14 of 6 June 2017 on “Provisions for the containment of soil consumption and amendments to Regional Law no. 11 of April 23rd 2004 Rules for the government of the territory and landscape”. The regeneration operations and the containment of soil consumption are developed according to a model in which the Region has a central role both in setting criteria, guidelines, methods and contents of the territorial and urban planning tools. All this in order to be able to better plan and control land use and, at the same time, guarantee the promotion of regeneration and territorial requalification (article 3). In the general principles (Art. 1), soil, as a limited resource, is considered with a view to safeguarding health, environmental balance, and the protection of natural ecosystems.

The Region therefore also encourages forms of cooperation with local authorities and other bodies involved in this area, including competitions for ideas. In this context, the use of agreements between public and private entities is also encouraged, in order to plan the urban area with a view to general sustainability.

A similar model can be found in the law of the Abruzzo Region no. 24 of April 28th 2014 “Framework law on the development of agricultural areas and the containment of soil consumption”. In this context, too, specific incentive and reward measures are provided for those municipalities that undertake concrete actions to locate settlement plans in disused urban areas.

Even in the list of the provisions of Tuscany Regional Law no. 165 of 2014, a marked autonomy of the municipalities is advocated in the field of rationalisation of the existing building stock and regeneration of degraded urban areas. It is interesting to stress that already in the structure of Article 125 paragraph 2 of the law, Municipalities identify the areas and buildings in which to carry out urban regeneration interventions, which is however promoted by the Region. In this case, unlike in the Veneto case, there are no guidelines to define specific interventions since it is up to the Municipalities themselves to identify the areas and buildings to be recovered through a resolution that is to be approved with a simplified variant.

The reference to the simplified urban variant is significant because it does not prescribe control by higher-level bodies, thus outlining a different procedure compared to the variant under Article 17, where the involvement of other public territorial bodies is contemplated. The examination of Chapter III of Tuscan Regional Law no. 65/2014, on the subject of: “Provisions aimed at incentivising the rationalisation of the existing building stock and promoting and facilitating the regeneration of degraded urban areas”[23] , presents an overall layout (in Articles 122 et seq.), which is particularly articulated, as it includes several purposes: “a) to favour the re-use of existing urbanised areas in order to avoid further land consumption b) to favour the densification of urban areas for the better economic sustainability of collective mobility systems; c) to maintain and increase the attractiveness of urban contexts due to the plurality of the present functions; d) to guarantee the ordinary and extraordinary maintenance and the innovation of urbanisation works and collective endowments; e) to favour, also through civic participation procedures, the verification of the collective utility of urban regeneration interventions.

Even for buildings intended for industrial or craft use, interventions of volumetric addition and building substitution are allowed.

More generally, it should be noted that increases in gross floor area and, in general, bonuses granted for regeneration interventions may exceed the maximum available quantities established by the operational plans. The regeneration is, therefore, necessary in order to avoid the new consumption of soil and it takes the form of interventions (art. 125 cited law) of: “a) reorganisation of the existing building stock; b) redevelopment of degraded areas; c) functional reorganisation of disused areas; d) recovery and redevelopment of large buildings or disused building complexes; e) redevelopment of connections with the urban context”. In other words, the essential content of the planning instruments is to be found in the valorisation of the existing environment. This regional law is also characterised by the significant importance of the participatory aspect which prescribes that regeneration projects can be proposed by private entities through an “expression of interest also through a third-party promoter”. In order to ensure a model of participatory territory planning, the regeneration project culminates, if approved, in a special agreement, such approval “constitutes an integration of the acts of government of the territory”.

Coming to the law of the Umbria Region of January 21st 2015 (containing the “Testo Unico governo del territorio”)[24], article 2 provides that: “the Region pursues the optimal planning of the regional territory, according to the principles of containment of soil consumption, reuse of the existing building heritage and urban regeneration, enhancement of the landscape, historical centres and cultural heritage”. In fact, even in this case, the uniqueness of the concept of “containment/use of the existing building stock” emerges, since Article 74 foresees that: “urban and building restructuring interventions are aimed at the overall redevelopment of buildings and urban regeneration of mainly residential settlements, as well as productive ones and those for disused services, and are aimed at favouring the improvement of the environmental and architectural quality of the existing settled space and avoiding the consumption of new soil”.  

This is a legislative apparatus that prima facie would seem to be similar to the Tuscan model rather than the Veneto one, since the Region itself is recognised as having specific prerogatives and functions in terms of outlining guidelines for the areas and buildings to be upgraded. As far as urban regeneration interventions are concerned, they are defined by means of urban planning programmes which are valid as real implementation plans (the adoption and approval of which is the responsibility of the Municipality pursuant to Article 56, paragraph 11 of the Consolidated Act).

As far as the Lombardy Region is concerned, Law no. 31 of 2014 seems to have outlined an innovative model between regional and municipal competences. In fact, Article 1, paragraph 3-bis gives the Region the prerogative of pursuing the objectives of soil protection and urban regeneration, through consultation with the various subordinate territorial levels. In order to ensure the enhancement of the existing urban environment, the same law provides for the consumption of land only in cases where it is technically and economically unsustainable to redevelop and regenerate already built-up areas. In fact, Article 8, paragraph 2, letter b-Ter identifies the correlation between the limits to soil consumption defined at regional level by the Regional Territorial Plan and those established within the plan document (which is an integral part of the urban planning instrument). By reading art. 2, paragraph 3, we can appreciate the link between containment and reuse, since: the municipal tools for governing the territory provide for land consumption only in cases where the plan document has demonstrated the technical and economic unsustainability of redeveloping and regenerating already built-up areas, primarily through the use of existing unused buildings or the recovery of disused areas within the consolidated urban fabric or on free interstitial areas”[25]. Moreover, (according to a promotional logic) incentive measures are foreseen; in fact, municipalities “that start concrete actions for the realisation of urban regeneration interventions are given priority in the granting of regional funds”.

The reference to the enhancement of the existing urban territories can also be found in the Calabrian Regional Law no. 19/2002 (art. 6) as amended by Law no. 40/2015 in the section where new interventions on the territory are enacted, always the light of “conservation”, so that “the purpose of which is to maintain or restore the constituent features of the naturalistic-environmental, settlement and relational systems, or of their parts or components, as well as their compatible uses”. This type of intervention appears to be fully compatible with the objective of reducing soil consumption to zero. The negotiated planning instruments referred to in the urban regeneration programmes and intervention programmes are given the task of implementing urban regeneration programmes in order schedule the building regeneration of specifically identified and delimited areas of the city within which to proceed with the regeneration of degraded or abandoned areas.

Provisions of similar interest, and with the same planning and implementation content, can be found in the regional urban planning laws of both Emilia Romagna and Veneto, both of which have large and important disused industrial areas that are relocated away from the large urban centres (just think of the Porto Marghera plants and related industrial allied industries in relation to the urban area of Mestre and Venice). The protection enshrined by the law confirm the eadem ratio of protecting the “environment”.

Article 12 of Emilia-Romagna Regional Law no. 16 of December 21st 2012, containing rules for the reconstruction of the territories affected by the earthquake of May 20th and 29th 2012, and provides that the municipalities affected by the earthquake may adopt a special tool, called the “Reconstruction Plan”, to regulate the urban transformations that seem necessary for reconstruction and achieve the goals set out in Article 3 of the same law[26].  Also, in this case, specific urban incentives and rewarding measures are provided in order to nudge the rapid and complete implementation of repair.

The Veneto Regional Law, no. 14 of April 4th 2019, having as its object “Veneto 2050: policies for urban regeneration and renaturalization of the territory and amendments to Regional Law April 23rd 2004, no. 11 Rules for the government of the territory and in the field of landscape” was published in the BUR no. 32 of April 5th 2019. In particular, it is aimed at promoting the concept “Veneto 2050” i.e. tools and measures aimed at improving the quality of life of people within the city and the reordering of urban spaces.

It must be said that one of the peculiarities of “Veneto 2050” is the bonus linked to the redevelopment of the existing building stock, the use of renewable energy sources and the circular economy. In addition, the legislative text in question sanctions a “cleaning” action of the territorial area of reference by making use of building credits from soil renaturation and for which special bonuses are provided both in terms of volume and allowing as well as stimulating the demolition and reconstruction of incongruous works or elements of degradation. All this, with the aim of reordering the urban area and thus implementing instruments for replacing degraded or disused building stock.

In this context, if on the one hand the brief excursus in the context of regional legislation has enhanced the specific experiences in the field, on the other hand, it has shown how the issue of urban regeneration, in its intricate economic aspects and rewards, does not enjoy today a complete regulation on a national basis, which is deemed necessary for a comprehensive systematization of the matter.

Reference is made to the Draft Law of the XVIII Legislature Act Senato n. 193[27], which resumes the previous Draft Law C-2039, entitled Containment of soil consumption and reuse of built-up land[28], aiming at creating the so-called framework law for the sector.

In fact, the intentions advocated at political and institutional level are to systematise the requests already developed at regional and local level, so to ensure an overall rationalisation of the entire sector.

Therefore, there is a need to protect the territory by means of instruments that are able, in practice, to pursue the need to functionalise territorial planning policies, also in the declination of economic planning. This is achieved by optimising the urban regeneration tool as a way of pursuing climate objectives that have their systematic source both at EU and international level. In addition, a particular role is played by the planning choices within this subject, which in their implementation include specific purpose allocations to ensure the desired goals.

7. As the issue of urban regeneration is a direct expression of the economic and financial policy choices made at national level, the sources of funding in this field are undoubtedly of central importance.

In this context, Europe is reversing the prototype of the interventionist state in the sense of solidarity, providing multiple measures to ensure that large-scale crises are overcome, while at the same time outlining an economic path marked by environmental sustainability and the circular economy. This vocation can also be seen in the European Commission’s call for the transformation of the European Investment Bank (EIB)[29] into a “Climate Bank”, followed by a new environmental investment campaign (in line with the Paris Agreement)[30].

In both Italy and France, there is no lack of experience in setting up publicly funded institutions to pursue large-scale collective needs. It is sufficient to think of Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, which has recently been qualified as a market unit[31] or as a “market institution with a public mission”[32]. Whereas, in France, the Banque publique d’investissement was set up, specialising in corporate financing[33].

Also, in the initiatives aimed at guaranteeing the resilience of the economic operators during the Sars-Cov-2 pandemic crisis, there are purposes connected to the efficiency of the strategic sectors, even with regard to the profiles of environmental sustainability[34]. The need to ensure the recovery of the overall economic cycle, as mentioned above, implies the creation of a circular and sustainable economy.

The above-mentioned framework also includes the “Decreto Rilancio” (pursuant to Article 27, paragraph l, of Decree-Law No. 34 of May 19th 2020, converted, with amendments, by Law No. 77 of July 17th 2020, especially in submission of the decision C(2020) 6459 final dated  September 17th 2020), which, moreover, was deemed by the European Commission to comply with the internal market under the Temporary Framework described above[35].

The issue concerning the planning instruments of the territory, and, consequently, the economic planning that the State carries out in strategic sectors, under a specular profile, poses the problem of the economic model of reference both in the community and international context. Especially since the paradigm plays a decisive role in terms of the sources of financing, the planning objectives to be pursued, as well as in terms of the choice of prototypes to be used in the public-private competition (as outlined below in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan).

It is sufficient to consider that, the Chinese legal system acts in the market according to methods traditionally opposed to the paradigms followed by the old continent and by the prevalence of States in the international context. Compared to the canonical model based on the market economy, where significant privatisation and liberalisation is appreciated, in China the system of the so-called planned economy has prevailed, in which the State itself controls most of the strategic sectors.

Specifically, it is noted that the management of services is largely the responsibility of SOEs-state-ow-ned companies/enterprises, i.e. limited liability companies controlled by the State[36].

It is in fact with the expression “not-like profit-oriented market” that the aforementioned Chinese model is counted. It is entrusted that the State has a double role, of fixing the rules of the market, and of being its direct implementer, since it intervenes in the first person in the performance of public utility services.

It is necessary to point out how, in this context, the credit institutes act as public subjects and therefore, directly depend on the State; altering the competitive flair play and, at the same time, deciding the economic manoeuvres of the most important national interest.

Furthermore, in the Chinese economy itself, the equilibrium of the products price is established by the State and not by the market rules and is not monitored by the Athorities as is the practice. In China the central role of the State is foreseen, and the State plays the dual role of interventionist and regulator, i.e. it sets the rules and is at the same time called upon to respect them[37]. This is why, despite the fact that over time a discipline has been introduced that is more in line with the model of corporate governance of market economies, the rules of political governance continue to prevail within the Chinese legal system, confirming the primary and pre-eminent role of the central State.

In the same strategic sectors of energy and the environment, China is making a real U-turn compared to Europe, with the recent decision to cut government incentives for the purchase of electrified cars by 30%, with no possibility of renewal until December 31st 2022. The same applies to Great Britain, which is also planning a drastic reduction in the number of subsidies granted for the purchase of electric cars[38].

Completely opposite from the Chinese model is the model of the United States of America, a paradigm anchored on the freedom of economic initiative or, better, on the principle of externalisation of services of public utility to the market of private operators (instead of the exercise tout court by the State). Significant differences can be appreciated also with respect to the majority of European states, where the administration has maintained services of a public nature, tending to be entrusted to the State or local authorities. In the new continent, the management of services of public utility has been mainly devolved to the market.

More specifically, the activities of a legal-public nature, which are usually intended for the benefit of the general public, are managed by private entities in which the government continues to have control and monitoring power; usually, federal or state agencies are used for this.

From 1830 onwards, the United States adopted the model of the interventionist state, with the public administration playing the delicate role of investor and manager of services. Subsequently, in 1887, following the introduction of the first federal agency(the Interstate Commercial Commission), the use of a new model of the regulatory state was confirmed. Therefore, keeping in mind it’s still 1880, about 47 federal agencies were established; between those 23 of which carried out regulatory activities, so-called purely regulatory, with the mission “to change market outcomes such as price, service, and number of firms in the industry, or to moderate the broader impact that private production and marketing decisions may have on society[39]. It is worth mentioning here that at world level, the phase before 1929 – the year of the world crisis due to the collapse of the stock markets and Wall Street – was the phase of greatest development and growth of direct state investment. Among these, see for example the nationalisation of British Petroleum, the Port of London Authority, the British Broadcast Corporation, the Central Electricity Board.

Today, the economic system in the United States[40] relies mainly on private individuals to operate and manage public services. The American governance, unlike the British one, does not often assist the private sector in providing funding for the construction of facilities or for the operation of activities. The government itself mainly intervenes by providing tax incentives and subsidies. Especially in the pre-eminence of the private subject over the public, reference is often made to the phenomenon of the public-private partnership with the phrase imperfect partnership.

It is, in fact, customary to agree in negotiations (all the more so in the case of projects of considerable complexity) on the provision of extensive guarantees, without, however, the public entity taking over, pull the plug, in a direct way in these projects[41].

Turning to the German model, it is interesting to note that, in a very peculiar way compared to other European states, it is notoriously organised into a particular form of centralised federalism. For the purposes of the present, it is useful to specify that the German system consists of a polycentric and decentralised structure: a chamber representing the government at central level, the Bundestag, is flanked by another chamber, the Bundesrat, representing the Lander at regional level. The Lander do not fit into the regulatory scheme of the regions, as understood for example in the Italian legislative system, but constitute genuine unitary federal states.

Leaving aside here the functions exercised by the central government, it should be noted that the Lander exercise within their territorial jurisdiction the legislative function for the matters assigned to them by the Constitution.

From an administrative point of view, the Lander enjoy broad decision-making powers, they have the power to decide independently on matters within their own jurisdiction, including, for example, the development of particular projects of territorial importance, or the construction and environmental fields. In fact, it is interesting to note that in the German legal system, a model of obtaining resources for public purposes has been developed that is an alternative to the canonical figure of project financing, called the forfeiting model[42].

The forfeiting model is configured as a special arrangement: the private economic operator sells commercial bonds to the bank, which derive from the construction contract signed with the public sector. At the end of the contract, the bank becomes a creditor of the public sector; in fact, the amount of the credit sold to the bank is equal to the value of the payment that the public sector is obliged to make to the private sector as reimbursement for the investments made.

The peculiarity of the forfeiting model lies in the fact that the private economic operator benefits from a financing system which is considered by most to be more profitable than the system envisaged in project financing itself.

More specifically, there is another instrument better known as the E-Modell or, in practice, the Buyer’s Model (Erwerbell Mo-dell). It is characterised by the circumstance according to which a private company, on land it owns, in dealing with the implementation of a project consisting of the construction of a building (therefore, also in the operational phases of the design, construction, financing and management of an infrastructure)[43] it is at the end of the term of the contract that the ownership of the land, as well as of the building constructed thereon, are transferred to the public entity, with forms of remuneration defined from time to time.

The E-Modell described above differs from the I-Modell, or proprietary model, which is the contractual model most commonly used in German law (approximately 70% of partnership contracts are concluded with this formula). The Inharbell Modell is similar to the model described above, with the main difference regarding those the private party’s activities, of financing, planning, construction, and management, is carried out on land owned by the municipal administration. It is precisely in this that the difference with the E-Modell is substantiated: the land on which the infrastructure is built is already owned by the public contracting authority.

The leasing model, or L-Modell, presents elements of affinity with the two aforementioned instruments. The private contracting entity carries out the same activities as mentioned above, i.e., the planning, construction, financing, and management of a property on a fund it owns. Moreover, at the end of the contract (and herein lies the difference with the two models considered above) there is no obligation for the private party to transfer the ownership of the property to the public body.

If the contracting public body is able to assess whether to buy the building, paying the consideration already indicated in the contract, to return the ownership of the building to the private party, or to decide to ask for an extension and prolong the duration of the lease of the building, or even to adopt some alternative solutions to continue using the building, the remuneration consists of a prefixed fee to the private entity to enable the latter to cover the costs of planning, construction, management and financing[44].

On the international front, it is worth mentioning the Australian model[45] , where significant experiences have been recorded in the construction and environmental fields, especially in terms of expanding private access to the construction and management of public services. I it important to mention that it was only in 2015 that the State announced the implementation of the Melbourne Project, the purpose of which is the construction of a rail-metro tunnel to be completed through public-private partnership agreements.

This contracting is focused on construction and specifically construction of a rail tunnel, that has to be used for the construction of a metro, as a result of which: the companies/private contracting parties provide the sources of funding and, as a result, make 9-11 billion available for the completion of the work; they also assume the burden of designing and constructing the double underground tunnel from South Yarra and Kesington, as well as the five stations that will be built along the new rail line[46].

In this system there is recourse to agreements between the state and the private sector, with works previously carried out through this instrument including the construction of the Peninsula Link – a 27-kilometre-long motorway in south-east Melbourne – and the construction of the $5.7 billion desalination plant in Wonthaggi.

8. The new paradigms of public intervention in the economy, as characterised by the modernisation of the rules of economic and territorial planning, seem today to find full expression in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, as an instrument aimed at the implementation of multiple objectives enshrined on a large scale.

On the fringes of the pandemic crisis, there seems to be an overall path towards the so-called circular economy which appears to be focused on planning investments in order to achieve predefined goals, echoing the goals set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (better known as sustainable development goals) and the ones set out in the Paris Agreement, the so called European Green Deal.

In fact, the resources made available by the Plan are accompanied by a programme of reforms, including of competition, aimed to ensure at least a threefold purpose. Firstly, there is the need to ensure that those implementing the investments can count on public evidence mechanisms able to guarantee fair competition through techniques of control and monitoring of public procedures for the correct access to incentives.  Secondly, the European legislator has ensured to regulate the objectives set to protect the allocations. Thirdly, the European legislator has taken care to regulate the objectives governing the appropriations. In addition, it was intended to ensure the so-called sharing economy, to be understood in the sense of a solidarity economy, therefore, anchored to guarantees of equity and sustainability.

In other words, the economic planning outlined above is part of the commitment made by countries around the world to ensure environmental sustainability by limiting global warming to 2°C, with the implementation of the most appropriate measures to limit it to 1.5°C. In this regard, it should be remembered that the European Union itself, with the European Green Deal (COM/2019/640 final), has set out energy and climate objectives (capable of guaranteeing a concrete reduction in greenhouse gases, GHG), foreshadowing the need for an overall reduction of 55%, aiming for climate neutrality by 2050. All this, in accordance with the Clean Energy Package, the European Commission having presented the proposal for a “European Climate Act” on March 4th 2020, later approved on July 9th 2021. Consequently, Regulation 2021/1119/EU on the subject was adopted. While, for the purposes of Regulation 2021/241/EU, establishing the Recovery and Resilience Facility, Article 18 sets the percentage for spending on investments in climate objectives at 37%.

The NRP therefore confirms the need to enhance research in the most innovative areas, including photovoltaics, hydrolysers, and batteries for the transport and electricity sectors. As well as the pursuit of Green Communities, pursuable through the creation of associated and/or coordinated urban and metropolitan communities for the overall help in drawing up, financing, and creating sustainable development plans in the energy and environmental fields.

Indeed, urban regeneration based on the so-called green city model plays a specific role in the reform plan, in order to guarantee the pursuit of a significant ecological quality and to ensure environmental sustainability, with specific intervention programmes.

Social housing is even envisaged, with a view to overcoming marginalisation and social degradation. Moreover, interventions for the so-called third sector are envisaged, pursuant to Article 55 of Legislative Decree No 117 of July 3rd 2017 (Code of the Third Sector, pursuant to Article 1, paragraph 2, letter (b), Law No 106 of June 6th 2016), which can be pursued through the intervention of private subjects and operators up to a maximum limit of 30% of the intervention. Similarly, the use of infrastructural and building interventions finds its full implementation and social function in the provision of Community Houses. In fact, the aim is to consolidate the resilience of the national health service in terms of its ability to provide services that are actually suitable for the pursuit of the planned purposes. It is in this perspective, therefore, that the innovative concept of Community Hospitals must be included.

9. In this context, if on the one hand the centrality of the incentive instruments for the pursuit of the programmed climate objectives has emerged (and, to this end, allocated both on a national and Community basis), on the other hand the convergence of multiple actors responsible for the implementation of the innovative model of intervention in the economy, lastly contemplated in the PNRR, is current.

In fact, in the light of the analysis carried out, it seems interesting to note that while in the original meaning urban regeneration, has to be intended as territorial redevelopment, it is in the recent challenges, also at EU level, that the various categorical classifications have undergone significant tempering.

As a result, the natural and juridical phenomenon seems to tend to frame in the group of an ecological macro-area, erected as a cardinal principle of the whole system. The expansion of the elements that make up territorial planning, in the expression of economic planning assumed, has been followed by an increase in the number of actors involved and cooperating in various ways. First of all, the important role played by the delocalisation of planned interventions in the territorial areas of cities has been recorded.

It is the compass of the superior criterion of proximity and of the smart city principle (coined at EU level) that, in fact, guides local realities to perform the delicate task of identifying the most suitable tools for mitigating climate risks (including those of high urban, building and energy quality), for the overall pursuit of the desired goals on a national, EU and international basis.

The concept of the circular economy (in the sense of re-use, rehabilitation, and recovery of existing buildings, as well as environmental sustainability) has been used as a means of overcoming the original problems, by means of industrial planning which, ex ante (and ex post, a follow-up procedure), is able to prevent the repetition of the problems that have historically occurred. The dichotomous vision that has always characterised (and perhaps even contrasted) industrialisation with respect to the environmental fabric has therefore been overcome.

In the process of modernising economic and social phenomena, we seem to be witnessing a uniform vision of the ecological system, in which each of its constituent legal or naturalistic elements (law, economy, territory, environment) is declined to the common good.

The need to preserve the territory does not translate, at least no longer, into the recorded need to compress economic initiative (private and public), as in the past. Environmental protection is also protected at constitutional level (like the equally primary interests involved in the matter) which today becomes the instrument for directing resources towards the development of a virtuous ecosystem. It is, moreover, the same PNRR that makes use of the land policy programmed for the pursuit of social ends, likewise directing public allocations in favour of the implementers for the pursuit of public interest objectives.

Land planning therefore becomes an economic planning tool, so as to aim the entire system at minimum levels of environmental pollution, in the context of the need to ensure the recovery of the economic cycle, but also through the modernisation and efficiency of production networks (in this context). Consequently, it is in the margins of the huge number of resources, and overall measures, for the support of the economy coming from the EU, and the launched programme better known as Next Generation EU, that the methods chosen by the European legislator for the pursuit of such objectives should be identified.

Well, just like the institutional prototype of public intervention in the economy, the so-called “relaunch heritage”, contemplated in the context of the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti[47] (which lays down specific rules for the disinvestment of invested capital), it is the European legislator himself who has constantly contemplated accurate rules for the repayment of the appropriations provided. This proves that Keynesian economic theories have been superseded, since the current logic governing EU policy is strongly linked to the virtuousness and suitability of economic operators, as a real “compass” for the effective achievement of the planned objectives.

In fact, according to the guidelines set out in Reviving and restructuring the corporate sector post-covid, the desired ability to generate the common good through an investment policy that favours the selection of the most suitable implementer for the purpose emerges.

This emerges in the light of the G30 Report, which expressly confirms the role played by public-private partnerships in overcoming critical market situations. Public partnerships can be seen as entrusting from economic operators with emerging problems, and where the possibility of overcoming the systemic crisis is also highlighted through the use and creation of bad banks (or similar instruments). Therefore, the phenomenon justifies the framing within the group of a system reclamation process that seems to echo the analogous experience that characterised the fate of non-performing loans, which were then de facto absorbed by Funds and Banks[48].

Consequently, it is in the archetype of competitive fair play that the instrument for monitoring the efficient use, and direction, of the resources allocated is grasped, so that “growth would arrive and become the decisive factor for debt sustainability”.[49] Without prejudice to the unknown linked to the fate of companies that are not adequately prepared to face the aforementioned innovative market challenges.

In conclusion, it is in the outlined role of public-private partnership instruments (as in integrated governance) that the most appropriate guarantees for the pursuit of the planned objectives are to be found. This innovative model of territorial and economic planning must, in fact, ensure that the historical inadequacy of corporate choices in environmental matters is overcome. Moreover, economic and financial operators that enter in the market and are called upon to absorb any system diseconomies. By the way, also to the effects of the very recent change in the combined provisions of Articles 9 and 41 of the Constitution (on environmental matters)[50] are crucial.

It is hoped that the instruments of control on the matter will be implemented, ensuring an even more adequate verification of production standards and, at the same time, preventing the proliferation of secondary markets for the reclamation of toxic sites (or, in buildings, of prohibited materials) coined by the same economic operators, instead, called to ensure the internal and supranational objectives (most recently, sanctioned in the PNRR).

In order to not favour “parallel” pollution markets and with a view to providing further forms of public support for the economy in the future, the financial literature has recently warned of the possibility of a new Next Generation EU.2 [51].

[1] See EU Communication: A wave of renovation for Europe: greening our buildings, creating jobs, improving lives, October 14th 2020, Com(2020) 662 Final. Also PASSALACQUA, Ri-conoscere la Rigenerazione. Strumenti giuridici e tecniche urbanistiche, PASSALACQUA-FIORITO-RUSCI (ed.), Santarcangelo di Romagna, 2018; Constitutional Law, n. 1/2022, art. 9 introduced environmental protection and art. 41, section 3 Cost. for the environmental purpose.

[2] DEREGIBUS, Appunti su Chora, spazio e architettura. Da Platone a Derrida, in Philosophy Kitchen EXTRA 2 – Year 5 – January 2018. Dialogues between architecture and philosophy, in which the author points out: Chora is thus both the place/site of transformation, and the receptacle/nutriciousness, which continuously receives and generates: a dual metaphor that Plato summarises with the image of the seed sieve. 4 But a sieve still requires a hand to work it: while Chora is the place of transformation, of continuous becoming, the Demiurge is the divine craftsman who manipulates the material of space, directing its transformations. The Demiurge is the one who, acting as a good man and lover of the Good (hence with a basic ethical intent), following pre-existing laws (and so not acting according to his own pure will), manipulates chaos (hence classified as evil) into an ordered mathematical-geometric structure (hence good): therefore, the Demiurge represents the image of the “divine craftsman” who transforms instability into (relative) stability. The Demiurge does not operate by chance but by going along with something that already exists. In other words, the interaction between ideas and matter takes place according to their ‘dispositions’ to displace themselves in certain places, so as to realise the absolute rules: And before this, all the elements were disposed without reason or regularity; but when the universe began to be ordered, first fire and then water, earth and air, while retaining traces of themselves, are nevertheless in the condition in which the whole is likely to be found when the god is absent (Ti. 53b). Rules that, in the Platonic case, were first and foremost mathematical and geometrical, that is, rules capable of ordering matter in a perfect way: a Pythagoreanism that would make the Platonic world interesting to scientists and thinkers such as Galileo Galilei, Kepler and Heisenberg.

[3] PASINI, L’Equazione dei disastri, Cambiamenti climatici su territori fragili, Turin, 2000.

[4] CAPRIGLIONE – TROISI, L’ordinamento finanziario dell’EU dopo la crisi. La difficile conquista di una dimensione europea, Turin, Utet giuridica, 2014. SACCO GINEVRI, Il ruolo dello Stato nei settori strategici dell’economia, in M. PELLEGRINI (ed.), Corso di diritto pubblico dell’economia, Padua, pp. 453 et seq.

[5] CELATI, L’Intervento pubblico per la riconversione ecologica dell’Economia, Modelli, strumenti e prospettive giuridiche, Padua,, 2021, p. 8. Cfr. CLARICH, Editorial. The “invisible hand” of the State in the economic and financial crisis, in Riv. Regolazione dei mercati, fasc. 2, 2015, pp. 1 ff.

[6] URBANI, in Istituzione, Economia, Territorio, Il Gioco delle responsabilità nelle politiche di sviluppo, Studi di diritto del governo del territorio e delle amministrazioni pubbliche. Series directed by: BARTOLINI-BOSCOLO-CERULLI IRELLI-D’ORSOGNA-MALTONI-URBANI, Turin, 2020, p. 98. CHIRULLI-IAIONI (ed.), La co-città: diritto urbano e politiche pubbliche per i beni comuni e la rigenerazione urbana,Naples, 2018. BARBANENTE, Dalle città il nuovo Mezzogiorno: rigenerazione urbana, coesione sociale, diritti e lavoro nelle città meridionali (ed. DI GIOACCHINO), Roma, 2007. FRANZ, writings by Federica Alcozer Trasformazione, innovazione, riqualificazione urbana in Italia, Milan, Angeli, 2001. STANGHELLINI, La persona anziana nella grande città: riqualificazione urbana e rete dei servizi nell’European urban pilot project, Milan, 2001, Part of the papers presented at the conference held in Milan in 1999.

[7] See Official Gazette No. 4 of January 7th 2022, with which the Ministry of the Interior announced the publication of the Decree of the Ministry of the Interior, in agreement with the Ministry of the Economy and Finance and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Sustainable Mobility December 30th 2021 on “Identification of municipalities benefiting from the contribution provided for by art. 1, paragraphs 42 et seq. of Law No. 160 of  December 27th 2019 and the Prime Ministerial Decree of  January 21th 2021, to be allocated to investments in urban regeneration projects aimed at reducing phenomena of marginalisation and social degradation, as well as improving the quality of urban decorum and the social and environmental fabric“.

[8] On this topic, see URBANI-CIVITARESE MATTEUCCI, Diritto urbanistico, Turin, 2013.

[9] For more details, see STELLA RICHTER, I sostenitori dell’urbanistica consensuale, in URBANI (ed.), Le nuove frontiere del diritto urbanistico, Milan, 2013, 21. LOMBARDI, Il governo del territorio tra politica e amministrazione, Milan, 2012, p. 173. URBANI, Urbanistica solidale. Alla ricerca della giustizia perequativa tra proprietà e interessi pubblici, Turin, 2011, p. 110; GUALANDI, Dallo “jus aedificandi” allo “jus restituendi” (intended as the right to recover, regenerate and replace the existing). Reflections on urban regeneration, in, 4, 2014.

[10] HEIDDEGER, Being and Time, Milan, 1976.

[11] In this regard, see CLEMENTI, Urbanism in the 21st century, in Enciclopedia italiana di scienze, lettere e arti, Rome, 2006.

[12] IELEO, L’Agenda digitale: dalle parole ai fatti: sanità, scuola, ricerca, start up, smart city, infrastrutture, appalti, anticorruzione, radiotelevisione, 2015. BONOMI-MASIERO, Dalla smart city alla smart land, Venice, 2014. CTI (Club delle Tecnologie Informatiche) Liguria, La città digitale: sistema nervoso della smart city, Milan, 2014. FALCONIO-CAPRIOLI, Smart city, sustainability, efficiency and participatory governance, watchwords for the cities of the future: a practical guide, Milan, 2013.

[13] European Landscape Convention (Art. 2).

[14] For further information on the subject of consensual urban planning, see MAZZARELLI, Le convenzioni urbanistiche, Bologna, 1979. URBANI-CIVITARESE-MATTEUCCI, Amministrazione e privati nella pianificazione urbanistica: nuovi moduli convenzionali, Turin, 1995. PORTALURI, Potere amministrativo e procedimenti consensuali, Milan, 1998.

[15] See also article 23, paragraph 3, of the town planning law of 1942, which required “the participation of owners representing, on the basis of the cadastral taxable amount, three quarters of the value of the entire building area”. See also Article 30(1) of Law 457 of August  5th 1978, which provides that “the owners of buildings and areas included in the redevelopment areas, representing, on the basis of the cadastral taxable amount, at least three quarters of the value of the buildings concerned, may submit proposals for redevelopment plans”.

[16]  The limits and relationships, the effects of which constitute an external limit to the discretionary choices of the planning authority, have been identified by Ministerial Decree no. 1444 of April 2nd 1968. On the erogation of Ministerial Decree no. 144 of 2.4.1968, see art. 2-bis of Presidential Decree no. 380 of  June 6th 2001.

[17] Council of State, sec. IV, March 11th 2013, no. 644.

[18] CANGELLI, Strategic Plans and Urban Plans. Metodi di governo del territorio a confronto, Turin, 2012, p. 187 ss.

[19] See, for further study, DE PRETIS, Piani integrati e buon andamento dell’amministrazione, in Le regioni, 1993, p. 919. LEONE-TARASCO, Spunti ricostruttivi in tema di programmi integrati di intervento: dal modello statale alla disciplina regionale, in Foro amm.-C.d.S., 2003, p. 1149. DI CORSCIA-MESCIA, I programmi integrati di intervento: natura giuridica e procedimento di formazione, in Giur. amm., 2008, 10, p. 435. URBANI, L’edilizia abitativa fra piano e mercato: i programmi integrati di promozione di edilizia residenziale e di riqualificazione urbana, in Democrazia e diritto, 2009, p. 89. CARLOTTI, Edilizia residenziale pubblica e piani integrati di intervento. Competenze Stato, regioni ed enti locali, in Foro it., 2009, p. 631. VILLAMENA, Programmi integrati di intervento: osservazioni su requisiti generali ed efficacia, in STELLA RICHTER (ed.), Sicurezza del territorio – Pianificazione e depianificazione, Milano, 2014, p. 247.

[20] For an analysis of the preparatory acts and a full examination of the text of the Lazio regional law, see

[21] DI LASCIO-GIGLIONI (ed.), La rigenerazione di beni e spazi urbani, Bologna, 2017, p. 355.

[22] Think of the famous ‘O’ zones of the General Regulatory Plan of the Municipality of Rome.

[23] See the full text at

[24] See the full text of the Regional Law of Umbria January 21st 2015, n. 1 at .

[25] More in detail, urban regeneration (art. 2, par. 1, letter e) means urban planning and building interventions including: “the redevelopment of the built environment, the reorganisation of the urban layout through the creation of facilities and infrastructures, green spaces and services, the recovery or enhancement of existing ones, the rehabilitation of the built environment through the provision of ecological infrastructures aimed at increasing biodiversity in the urban environment”. While, art. 3, paragraph 1, introduced the letter e)-quinquies to art. 8, paragraph 2 of the regional law no. 12/2005, which provides – in the perspective of regeneration – that the plan document: “identifies, also with graphic representations on an adequate scale, the areas in which to start urban and territorial regeneration processes, providing specific intervention modalities and adequate incentive measures, also in order to guarantee the functional reintegration within the urban system and to increase its environmental, ecological, landscape and energy performances”.

[26] Encouraging the resumption of activities of the settled communities and the regeneration of living and working conditions; raising the level of seismic safety and urban quality, both in terms of the recovery or creation of meeting places and public services that characterise the identity of each urban centre, and in terms of the quantity and quality of equipment and collective spaces and infrastructures for mobility, accessible and fully usable by all citizens).

[27] Available at the link DDL S. 193 (

[28] For the full text, cit.

[29] CELATI, op. cit., p. 133 et seq.

[30] CELATI, ibidem.

[31] LOTTINI, La Cassa Depositi e Prestiti come agenzia?, in Foro amm., commentary on Tar Sicilia, fasc. 4, 2002, p. 1405 et seq.

[32] BANI, La Cassa Depositi e Prestiti S.p.A. di diritto singolare, in AA.VV., Scritti in onore di Francesco Capriglione, vol. I, Padua, 2010, p. 273.

[33] CELATI, op. cit., p. 137.

[34] See Article 1(86) of Law No. 160 of 2019, see Finance Act for 2020.

[35] In addition, Decision C(2020)9121 final dated December 10th 2020, by which the EU Commission extended, inter alia, the terms within which the Earmarked Assets may carry out interventions under the Temporary Framework. Lastly, the rules governing the Earmarked Assets were affected by Decree No. 26 of the Ministry of Economy and Finance of February 3rd 2021.

[36] Refers to a limited liability company invested and formed solely or partially by a state organ, state-controlled institution, state-authorized investment company or a department authorized by the state. (XUELEI-XIN, Information disclosure of state-owned enterprise in China, Tsinghua China L. Rev. 1, p. 3 ff.). For some comments on this point see ZHANG, The single entity theory: an antitrust time bomb for Chinese state-owned enterprises?, in J. Comp. L. & Econ., 2012, p. 805 ff. SAMUELS, “Tain’t What You Do”: Effect of China’s Proposed Anti-Monopoly Law on State-Owned Enterprises, in 26 Penn. St. Int’l L. Rev., 2007-2008, p. 169 ff. See the considerations in AA.VV., La Cina luci e ombre. Evoluzione politica e relazioni esterne dopo Mao: Political evolution and external relations after Mao, edited by ROSTAGNI, 2010, according to which the refusal to recognise the status of market economy was perceived by China in a particularly offensive way, also in light of the fact that, instead, such status was recognised to countries like Ukraine. In relation to this issue, there are a number of journalistic articles in AgiChina and Finding Aid Strategies Investments.

[37] WANG, The Political Logic of Corporate Governance in China’s State-owned ­enterprises, in Cornell International Law Journal, 2014, p. 635; see on this point the Author’s opinion: “It Is both the judge and the most powerful player in corporate China“.

[38] Il Fatto Quotidiano, China, 30% incentive cuts announced for electric cars and plug-in hybrids, January 2nd 2022, available at:

[39] For a clear and specific analysis on this point see TONINELLI, The rise and fall of state-owned enterprise in the western world, Cambridge, 2000, p. 12; on the same subject, see what has been deduced in TONINELLI, From private to public to private again: a long-term perspective on nationalization, Análise Social, Vol. XLIII, 2008, pp. 675-692. See on this point, for an in-depth study GIUSEPPONI, Gestione e controllo delle amministrazioni pubbliche: strumenti operativi e percorsi d’innovazione, Milan, 2009. Seven agencies had already started their activities in 1914. It should be pointed out here that at world level, the phase prior to 1929 – the year of the world crisis due to the collapse of the stock markets and Wall Street – was the phase of greatest development and growth of direct state investment. Among these, see for example the nationalisation of British Petroleum, the Port of London Authority, the British Broadcast Corporation, the Central Electricity Board; add to this the extensive nationalisation of companies in the Italian context, in the transport sector, for example, look at the establishment of the Ferrovie dello Stato and AGIP Companies. In the transport sector, for example, look at the creation of the Ferrovie dello Stato and AGIP Companies; in the French sector, look at the nationalisation of certain industries, including Potasses d’Alsace and the Office National Industriel de l’Azote. As is widely known, the New Deal comprised the restructuring and reform plan implemented by President Roosevelt between 1933 and 1937, designed to revive the American economy, which had been tried by the financial crisis of 1929. See also TONINELLI, The rise and fall of state-owned enterprise in the western world, Cambridge, 2000, p. 12: “(…) when the new social regulation came along as a response to the environmental, consumer and civil rights movements of those years”. See, furthermore, ANTONICELLI-MAURO, Il Testo Unico delle società a Partecipazione Pubblica, Turin, 2017, p. 215 et seq “The main role of the federal agencies was to carry out a control and monitoring activity and, therefore, to prevent the management of public utility services from taking place according to discriminatory criteria; in this way, in fact, the pursuit of revenue for private companies capable of managing the service was simultaneously guaranteed and, at the same time, the supply and distribution of such services was ensured in an equitable manner. This regulatory process, initiated by convention as it was called in 1887, increased in the following years. Following the collapse of the American economy, i.e. in the period from 1930 to 1940, there followed the great wave of regulatory legislation associated with the enactment of the new deal, a project aimed – as is well known – at restructuring the American economy. A further regulatory development took place in 1960-1970 when the ‘new social regulation’ was passed. This new regulatory intervention, although widely desired and desired by the electorate, was opposed by the business and entrepreneurial community. The reasons for this opposition centred on the increased costs that the more incisive regulatory activity entailed; in short, a phase of ‘cautious de-regulation’ appeared in the US legal system. In the 80’s, with the rise to government of the American President Reagan – bearer of a liberalist and strongly conservative ideology – a decisive turning point occurred which led to the deregulation and liberalization of the investment and financial sectors. Although the management of public services was largely devolved to private operators, some activities remained in state hands; see, by way of example, the projects relating to the Panama Canal Company, the Alaska railroad, and Tennessee Valley Authority; furthermore, at a later date, in 1970 and 1987 respectively, there was the nationalisation of the postal services – U.S. Postal Service – and the railroads, which were subsequently drawn into the public-private partnership system. The American capitalist and free-market system was called into question after the collapse of the economy in 2008. The analyses carried out on this point have shown, quite clearly and distinctly, that the crisis mainly affected the states that had adopted a capitalist system – such as Europe and America – whereas it had a much less significant impact on the economies of, for example, China or India. In the opinion of several authors, in fact, although the capitalist system during the Cold War demonstrated unquestionable superiority, it was not able to guarantee such prosperity also during the following years”.

[40] In fact, some authors consider that public-private partnerships are not particularly widespread, although there is every indication that they are not; see CUSTOS-REITZ, the author of this article. ID., Public-Private Partnerships, 58 Am. J. Comp. L. 555, 2010, p. 555: “Although the notorious American preference for private enterprise would seem to provide fertile ground for an early emergence of PPP, the modern acceptance of the term only recently ­made its way into the United States. The paradox is better assessed against the historical background of the public-private divide and the precursors to PPP”.

[41] For more details see BAKER, Investigating Enron as a public private partnership, in Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 16, Iss. 3, 2003, pp. 446-466.

[42] It should be pointed out that within the German legal system there are numerous ­disputes as ­to which of the two models leads to more fruitful results. See on this point, for a comparison between the two different institutions, DAUBE-VOLLRATH-ALFEN, A comparison of Project Finance and the Forfeiting Model as financing forms for PPP projects in Germany, in International Journal of Project Management 26, 2008, pp. 376-387. Regarding the frequency of application of the two institutions, the author states that: “During the first years of PPP in Germany, the Forfeiting Model was the preferred financing form. for most of the implemented German projects since 2002. Overall, 37 out of 51 projects with an investment volume of about 780 million Euro are financed by the Forfeiting Model”.

[43] It should be noted that this type of contract usually has a duration of ­20-30 years. The amount of payment that fluctuates from the public to the private party is agreed upon when the contract is concluded and aims to pay the private party a sum that includes the costs of planning, management, construction, financing, purchase of the fund and the property.

[44] This specific contractual model, until 2010, had a use limited to 9% of the public private partnership contracts developed in German law. Finally, it is worth examining the M-Modell Mietmodell, which differs from the L-Modell in the presence of a single element of divergence: in this case, the public contracting entity does not have a contractual option to purchase the building constructed by the private party; if, at the end of the contract, it wishes to transfer ownership of the building, it must purchase it by paying the private contracting entity a price equal to the commercial value of the building. Irrespective of whether or not the public body decides to purchase the property, the latter is required to pay certain instalments to be paid regularly to the private party, the object of which is remuneration for the use of the property and the management thereof.

[45] See Hodge, Public-private partnership, and legitimacy, 29 U.N.S.W.L.J. 318, 2006, p. 318: “the preferential use of private finance, high level of complexity through bundled ­contracts, and new accountability and governance assumptions. Moreover, the first two of these ­characteristics have major implications for the third”.

[46] On this topic, see also ANTONICELLI-MAURO, op. cit., p. 288 et seq.

[47] See Article 27(5) of Decree-Law No 34 of 19 May, converted with amendments by Law No 77 of July  17th 2020.

[48] The initial reluctance of the system, and with it the markets, to favour instruments suitable for the absorption of NPLs by bodies created ad hoc (to relieve the banks’ balance sheets), has in fact been overcome by the need to guarantee an innovative model of economic crisis management supported by financial realities which, insofar as created for the purpose, are able to direct their activities towards the direct management of asset classes whose source is the same impaired loans (at that point the object of a market, so to speak, reserved).

[49] DRAGHI, G30 Report, in QUADRIO CURZIO, La rotta tracciata da Mario Draghi, available at:

[50] The text of Article 9 of the Constitution, following the constitutional reform that introduced a new paragraph, is as follows: “The Republic promotes the development of culture and scientific and technical research. It protects the landscape and the historical and artistic heritage of the Nation. It protects the environment, biodiversity, and ecosystems, also in the interests of future generations. The law of the State regulates the ways and forms of animal protection”. The text of Article 41, following the amendments made by the approved constitutional reform, reads as follows: ‘Private economic initiative is free. It may not be carried out in conflict with social utility or in such a way as to damage health, the environment, security, freedom, or human dignity. The law determines the programmes and controls that are appropriate so that public and private economic activity can be directed and coordinated for social and environmental purposes”.

[51] This is also due to the lack of suitable instruments for coordinating the discipline of the NRP and that governing the Structural Funds, as well as the chronic delay in the launch of investment programmes. See MOLICA, The competition of the NRPs opens the debate on the future of the European Structural Funds, In Brussels there is an open debate on the hypothesis of making the Recovery and Resilience Facility permanent or extending its governance and operation model to other EU funding programmes, February 9th 2022, available at:


* Full Professor of Constitutional Law – Alquds University; Former Minister of Justice, Twelfth Government.

** Extraordinary Professor of Economic Law at Link Campus University – University Delegate for Institutional Relations with Local Bodies.

Although this essay is the result of a joint reflection, the preface is mainly attributable to prof. Ali Khashan, while the remaining part to prof. Alessio Mauro.


This entry was posted on 16/02/2022 by in law, Senza categoria.
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