Services for citizens in peripheral areas: a hierarchy of centrality based on their availability and accessibility

Simone Garlandini, Gian Paolo Torricelli


The liveability of a region depends directly on the residents’ ability to access a variety of services that support materially the human settlement and daily life. In the case of peripheral areas, the presence of services and their accessibility play a fundamental role – a centrality – to hinder demographic decline and, specifically in the case of the Alps, to safeguard the mountainous territory. The indicator of centrality proposed in this article aims to identify the “central places” of a peripheral/marginal region. More precisely, it ranks places, within a particular territory, on the basis of their centrality, which is defined according to two conditions: the availability and the accessibility of private and public services. Our method was evaluated for the case of Ticino, a mountainous territory in Southern Switzerland. The indicator combines several variables that were geo-processed in a geographic information system (GIS). It made use of four geo-datasets to model, quantitatively and qualitatively, the supply of local services (thirty types of private and public services were taken into account and classified in five categories), the proximity of the population to services (mean linear distance), the availability of public transport (quality of stops) and the potential connectivity of residential buildings to the Internet (quality of the Internet connection). The indicator of centrality here proposed is built on parameters that make it useful to point out the potentials of peripheral/marginal areas in terms of services development.


services; accessibility; peripheral region; liveability; centrality index; Switzerland (Canton of Ticino)

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Copyright (c) 2017 Simone Garlandini, Gian Paolo Torricelli

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ISSN: 2239-267X

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