Planning Studies Centre

italian version

Reference Framework for the Land-Use Policy (in Italy)

This is a basic research line that the Centre has pursued since the beginning of its research activities, aimed at building a programmatic, spatial scenario for the entire national territory, which could include the options and spatial choices (i.e. the best and desirable forms of land-use organisation) at the scale of the whole country and taking into account the entire gamma of a country's territorial and environmental resources.

The constant denomination of such a research line, which engaged the Centre in successive historical and chronological phases, is that of the “Reference Framework for the Land-Use Policy” (acronym: QUADROTER).

Right now it is possible to identify more than one outcome of this research line; thus belonging to these different phases there is a Quadroter 1, Quadroter 2 and Quadroter 3.

Quadroter 1 is represented by a series of researches that were developed in the second half of the 1960s, immediately after the birth of the Centre. They have been performed in the years 1965/66 by means of a fund and joint commitment by the Ministry of Budget and Economic Programming (at that time only Ministry of Budget) and of the Ministers Committee for the South Regions. It has been tried, at the time, to construct certain programmatic development lines concerning land-use through a series of region and coordination studies. The coordination studies, one for Central-Northern Italy and one for Southern Italy, have been performed on the basis of a group of studies on a regional scale. The results of such studies have been given the title, “ A Hypothesis of Italian Land-Use ” and published in a special issue of the journal Urbanistica (no. 49, 1967).

Quadroter 2 has been the specific contribution of the Planning Studies Centre to the elaboration of the “ Progetto 80 ”, a project promoted by the Minister of Budget and Economic Programming, particularly on the initiative of Giorgio Ruffolo, at that time General Secretary of Programming.

The “ Progetto 80 ” was a programmatic document, elaborated in 1969 by the “Centre-Left” government at the time, which collected great lines of political action for a reform of the country, valid for the decade from 1970 till 1980; and which should have constituted a reference frame of the programming activity during said decade starting from the ‘Five-year-development Plan of the Country 1971-1975'.

Quadroter 2 resumed the result of Quadroter 1 and enriched it with some perspective, even more unified at the national-territorial scale, and constituted the framework of the “ Social Environment Project ”, one of the basic “Social Projects” of the “ Progetto 80 ”. The research has been published under the title “ The Land-Use Projections of the Progetto 80 (only in Italian) ”. The publication was carried out by the state printing house as an official research of the Ministry of Budget and Economic Programming in three volumes (1971); a more condense edition was published as a special issue of the journal Urbanistica in 1971 (March, no. 57).

Quadroter 3 was a research of the National Research Council, promoted as ‘Targeted Project” (Progetto finalizzato) , accomplished on incentive from the Ministry of the Environment in the years 1991-1992. The research had to be interrupted for insufficiency of funds. The approach of the targeted project research was very similar to that of the two previous Quadroter researches, but it had been enriched by new technical studies on a vast scale, which remained, however, at a project stage. The Planning Studies Centre developed only a limited amount of these researches, i.e. those that were consistent with its competencies. Professor Franco Archibugi, the director of the Centre, has been the scientific coordinator of all these studies. The “Italian Geographic Society” and its chairman Professor Franco Salvatore have also played a specific role. Unfortunately, the intervention of other qualified research organisations has gone no further than a mere design of the respective research projects.

Quadroter 3 has been based on the designing of a series of maps (21, to be precise), which should have constituted the outcome and findings of a series of studies and interconnections of different, interesting, territorial phenomena; those enquiries were aimed at supplying a reference to localisation policies of the socio-economic development, respecting criteria and objectives of environmental protection. In other words, it was capable of rendering any socio-economic developing policy more sustainable from the environmental and land-use point of view.

The research was launched with an official document of the Ministry and with a first, basic paper, prepared by the coordinator of the project, called “the Quadroter Maps”. This document synthesized the methodology for constructing every single map (in it are indicated all the sector experts and all the research organisations involved in the project). Not all the maps have been constructed and carried out; and not all those carried out have been published by the CNR. Some researches, very interestingly, have been carried out but their outcomes are still in the drawers of the CNR, without anyone worrying about assuring them at least a minimum of diffusion, despite numerous requests, not even within the scientific community represented by the CNR. The “political” turnover at the Ministry of the Environment and their political, bureaucratic facets within the CNR, but overall the anti-scientific style and habits, which endured within the latter, have wasted many resources, even if they had already been spent in that period of “academic parceling” having dominated in the country for a long time.

The ‘targeted project' Quadroter (i.e. Quadroter 3) has been abandoned by the CNR even before it could stand on his own feet, before the researches could be concluded and first knowledge benefits be drawn. The individual research projects and the individual Maps, of which Quadroter was a component (see attached document 'the Quadroter Maps' (only in italian) ), have not been carried out. The few researches concluded were not published. In any case, without the general competitive examination of all maps designed, they could not have given any results regarding Quadroter, which was created to give a complete framework (i.e. based on a set of different viewpoints and types of knowledge of the territory) for the choices concerning territorial organisation as consistent, rational and optimal.

In effect, only the research concerning " The Urban Eco-System in Italy: A Proposal for the Urban Re-organisation and Spatial and Environmental Re-equilibrium at regional-national level " (publisher: Gangemi 1999) has been published, which in any case should have been improved in the light of all the Maps designed. This research constitutes an important but limited part of the entire research project. From here has been drawn a Urban Eco-System Map on a national scale with the typological characteristics of each system and an outline of the fundamental inter-systemic relationship. In this research a good deal of the whole programmatic perspective of the research has been synthesised.

But the last aim of Quadroter – which, beyond a first territorial configuration, should have become an instrument of permanent verification and monitoring of the territories, suitable to allow a new operating system of choices on behalf of the territorial policy on a national as well as a regional and local scale – has not been achieved. All we've kept of it is a projected design of the Maps and a projected design of methods to be applied in order to read them as being linked as well as overlapping; today this method can only mean a scientific contribution, very far from being used, even though it has a relevant, didactic and educational significance.

It is to be hoped that some provident Agency wishes to again experiment with the sponsorship of a Quadroter 4 (and later, perhaps, also Quadroter 5), resuming and improving what has already been done, and projecting what hasn't been done yet, and thus would take on the responsibility to offer the completion of the Reference Frame for the Territorial Policy to the country.

The utility and functionality of the Quadroter project have been illustrated and discussed in several places and from many points-of-view. Here we select some documents and writings that cover a large gamma of these points of view:

  1. The point of view of the Minister of the Environment, through a speech of the Minister of that time, Giorgio Ruffolo, on the motivations and role of Quadroter (only in Italian)

  2. An illustration on the meaning of the research, which tries to answer to the following questions: what is Quadroter?”(only in Italian) and "to which necessities of the environmental policy was it intended and does it still intend to answer?"

  3. The general project or, better, the working programme (only in Italian) of the research, as elaborated by the coordinator

  4. A report on the research “Quadroter” (only in Italian) developed by the research coordinator in a meeting at the Politecnico of Milan (1992). This report is accessible also in English - with some modifications - in an article on European Planning Studies (Volume 2.).

  5. A designing-oriented and methodological document regarding Quadroter, in which are exposed the results concerning the design of the different Maps of Quadroter (only in Italian), with which should have been concluded the different researches belonging to the targeted project. As already mentioned, the targeted project “Quadroter” (which we have better identified as ‘Quadroter 3') has been interrupted. For this reason, only very few of these Maps have been concluded; and of those concluded only a limited amount have been diffused and published on behalf of the CNR.

The Planning Studies Centre, after having left the Quadroter 3 (that is the strategic project of the CNR) uncompleted, has continued (with the contribution of the Italian Geographic Society and thanks to the work of two of its collaborators, the architects Rosa de Rosa and Valeriano Pesce) to keep both the methods and results of Quadroter, equipping and improving it with an evermore advanced system of information documentation.


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