A Great Work: Renovatio Urbis in the Age of Globalisation

  • Arnaldo “Bibo” CecchiniEmail author
Part of the Urban and Landscape Perspectives book series (URBANLAND, volume 14)


The elements that give shape to the new way society is organised in the contemporary city are three:
  • The enormous, abnormal inequality, socially and in terms of power: nowadays the powerful on earth are like the semi-gods of mythology: they share only their mortal condition with the rest of humanity; the modern semi-gods do not even share places with us mortals: they live in separate spaces within or between the cities of men.

  • The power of income or financial capital, power that exceeds official power. Following the ‘glorious thirty’ of the post-war period – an age of cold and hot wars, risk of mutual destruction and really harsh international wars and wars of liberation from colonialism, of totalitarian regimes in power over half of Europe, but an age of growth of collective well-being, a period of over 25 years of prosperity and progress – urban policies were abandoned and financial capital alone took over the management of transformations.

  • New globalisation: today’s globalisation is special. It has enabled really rapid delocalisation of manufacturing activities and has brought to an end the need for spatial contiguity; in this age, for the first time, the semi-gods can do without being a part of the city and taking care of their part of the city.

The focal problems of contemporary city transformation are therefore the ones of power management in the city, a question of democracy and decisional power, on the one hand, and management and conflict ‘resolution’, on the other.

The great work all European countries need is a general plan for urban upgrading and city reconstruction (both ‘urbs’ and civitas), starting with the ‘rejected’ places, the outskirts: a work that would assure environmental sustainability, expert development, growth of social capital, improvement in quality of life and the aesthetic quality of cities.

Here we outline possible guidelines for it.


Globalisation Semi-gods Democracy City reconstruction Social capital Quality of life 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Architecture, Design and PlanningUniversity of SassariAlgheroItaly

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