Regional development in Switzerland between 1950 and 1980 has mostly focused on rural and mountain areas. Despite these political efforts, urban centres have developed at much faster pace. As a result, deep imbalances between urban centres and the rural periphery have affected the optimisation of existing endogenous resources and the overall innovation, competitiveness and entrepreneurial rates across many regions. From 1990 onward, Switzerland has experienced a real change in the political economic context, which has pushed the country towards a globalized world. Nevertheless, these imbalances are still present between urban centres and the periphery.
Within this context, the concept of the “city-region” which has been traditionally well represented in the scholarly debate, has been gathering momentum in recent years. As a matter of fact, city-regions represent one of the most advanced and sophisticated stages of urban development. The combination of an urban core or cores, associated to semi-urban as was well as the rural hinterland through functional ties, are considered as efficient developmental strategies. These strategies are geared to respond to the exigencies of an interconnected and globalized world.
In the Swisslab_2021 the accent is posed on examining –comparatively how a city-region is being made in order to respond to current economic, social, political and cultural challenges. The Canton Ticino represents a relevant case-study where the concept Città Ticino (Ticino City) has been coined to define this new reality. The Monte Ceneri Base Tunnel, inaugurated in September 2020, offers a new mobility concept for the canton. By halving the travel time between the three main urban centres – Bellinzona, Locarno and Lugano – the birth of the City-Ticino will become a reality. Such revolutionary paradigm will pave the way for improving existing networks and opening new ones; it will enhance the cantonal economy by placing it closer to important economic and financial hubs at both national and international levels.
Venue to be announced Geneva