Territorial Innovation in the Alps. Heterodox Reterritorialization Processes in Trentino, Italy

Bruno Zanon


Recurrent attention has been paid to regional disparities, and specific European, national and regional policies have been activated to reduce differences. In this framework, mountainous regions are usually considered ‘peripheral areas’ per se, but in the Alps a variety of conditions coexist because of the presence of many urban centres and innovative activities. Large parts of the Alpine regions can be termed ‘inner areas’ and some parts are ‘fragile areas’ in that they are not only set apart but are characterized by complex morphological conditions and by social weaknesses reflected in deterritorialization processes. In this context, there are interesting examples of innovation based on the activation of new links between local communities and the involved space. The article sets out the results of an inquiry into three cases of locally-based development in Trentino, in the Italian Alps, which are not centred on the role of firms and are not dependent on public policies. The presence of some leaders made it possible to start innovation processes making new use of generic resources and leveraging on the ability of the community to learn and adapt, to construct new coalitions, and to establish new institutions. The paper proposes a theoretical framework within which to analyse innovation processes in inner areas and in fragile mountain areas, and it illustrates the main results of the research, showing that territorial innovation processes can take place also in heterodox ways.


Reterritorialization processes; Inner areas; Fragile areas; Social capital; Trentino, Italy

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ISSN: 2239-267X

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