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Regulating Urban Foodscapes During Covid-19 Pandemic. Privatization or Reorganization of Public Spaces?

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New Metropolitan Perspectives (NMP 2022)

Part of the book series: Lecture Notes in Networks and Systems ((LNNS,volume 482))

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This paper describes how the municipality of Milan incentivized the occupation of public spaces by private activities. From a methodological viewpoint, this study adopts a neo-institutionalist view on “foodscapes”. The approach is mainly conceptual but empirically illustrated, to discuss the spatial implications at stake. The first section (§ 1) provides an introduction on how Covid-19 pandemics made the relations that link objects and people in urban spaces more visible. To do this, the focus of our attention will be on restaurant businesses, which are among those that have had to review their way of working radically in the face of specific epidemiological issues but also the more general changes taking place in urban areas during the pandemic. The second section (Sect. 2) is devoted to the spatial analysis of emerging foodscapes in Milan, highlighting the distribution of restaurants outdoors (i.e. on urban streets). The third section (Sect. 3) discusses the issues affecting local businesses and restaurant entrepreneurs in Italy in the aftermath of the first year of the pandemic. Section (Sect. 4) concludes.

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    This research is part of the research project “Norms, Uncertainty and Space (NOUS): Cities in the age of Hyper-Complexity” funded by the Department of Architecture and Urban Studies (DASTU), Polytechnic University of Milan (Milan, Italy).

  2. 2.

    Among which, at the European level: The State Aid Temporary Framework (19th March 2020). At the national level, a series of law decrees: DL n. 9/2020 (2nd March 2020); DL n.18/2020 “Cura Italia” (17th March 2020); DL n. 23/2020 “Liquidità” (8th April 2020); DL n. 34/2020 “Rilancio” (19th May 2020); “Ulteriori misure urgenti per fronteggiare l'emergenza epidemiologica da COVID-19” (L. 14th July 2020); DL n. 104/2020 “Agosto” (14th August 2020); DL n. 137/2020 “Ristori” (28th October 2020); DL n. 149/2020 “Ristori-bis” (9th November 2020); DL n.154/2020 “Ristori-ter” (23rd November 2020); DL n. 157/2020 “Ristori-quater” (30th November 2020). At the local level, between 11th March 2020 and 30th December 2021 43 ordinances were issued by the mayor of Milan (34 in 2020 and 9 in 2021; corresponding to one ordinance every 15 days). Available online: (accessed 28 December 2021).

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    Available online: (accessed 2 December 2021).


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Correspondence to Anita De Franco .

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De Franco, A. (2022). Regulating Urban Foodscapes During Covid-19 Pandemic. Privatization or Reorganization of Public Spaces?. In: Calabrò, F., Della Spina, L., Piñeira Mantiñán, M.J. (eds) New Metropolitan Perspectives. NMP 2022. Lecture Notes in Networks and Systems, vol 482. Springer, Cham.

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