The socio-economic scenarios of confronti 2021

The ’Arena’ moderated by Rico Maggi

The ’Arena’ moderated by Rico Maggi

Life, work, travel. At confronti 2021, which took place at the LAC Lugano on November 16, researchers, practitioners and the public discussed these topics from different viewpoints and disciplines, consistent with the recent developments of scientific research. Prof. Barbara Antonioli Mantegazzini, deputy director of the USI Institute for Economic Research (IRE), provides a summary of the discussions.

The first part of the event focused on the group discussions, so-called "speakers corner", around the key topics featured at the 2021 edition of confronti: "New ways of living and well-being", "Coworking, sharing, pooling" and "Digital nomads, workation, bleisure". The second part of the event featured an "arena", moderated by the Director of IRE Prof. Rico Maggi, from which a number of macro-issues emerged.

Active role of the local region

"A local region is no longer just a ’passive recipient’ of the possible positive effects of new models of consumption and production", explains Professor Antonioli Mantegazzini. "On the contrary, it should take on an active role and operate mainly through its own institutions, which are playing an increasingly important role as privileged partners in the planning and implementation of strategic development policies".

Private vs. professional

The line that separates our private and professional lives is increasingly blurred. "Concepts such as co-working, co-housing, co-living, community, and digital nomads are poised to reshape consumption patterns, the way we use spaces and the profiles of the keyplayers in society", underscores the deputy director of IRE.

New urban ideas

"A multidimensional idea of the city that can be understood in physical, economic and relational-participative terms seems to be on the rise", Antonioli Mantegazzini observes. "The first dimension includes the built, the buildable and also the unbuilt, where ’fluid’ spaces can take on a different function in relation to contingent needs. The second considers the city as a meeting place for ’buyers and sellers’ - quoting Adam Smith. A space where individuals and companies can settle, and focus on sustainable consumption and production in the broadest sense of the term. The third dimension concerns the set of relations of various kinds established between the various players in a given region, encouraged by a sense of belonging and the ability to cooperate. Finally, of great importance we find the role of the public sector as an ’enabler’, which entails also the creation of crowdsourcing platforms to help ideas and projects to develop".

New patterns of consumption

The future will see new patterns of consumption influenced by a great heterogeneity of individuals in terms of employment, values, aspirations, age, and more. "For some, a return to the past will be the best, if not even obligatory, choice, while for others, the need for renewal, in line with the values and needs revealed by the pandemic, will end up shaping their behaviour, giving rise to new, lasting paradigms", notes the USI professor.

The importance of hierarchies

"The word ’hierarchy’ can have different meanings, depending on the context: from urban hierarchies, on several levels, to labour hierarchies, in which management levels are willing to grant greater flexibility".

Regional competition and territorial capital

In an increasingly globalised economy, the new competition seems to be between regional systems, within which investment and settlement decisions - residential and productive - depend heavily on local environmental factors. "Quality of life, a high level of social inclusion and cohesion, and effective policies of environmental sustainability can attract qualified human capital, potentially the bearer of innovation and creativity, capable in turn of attracting businesses with high added value", concludes Barbara Antonioli Mantegazzini.


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