Torino as a Learning City
This report reflects the results of a month-long field study of learning by the city of Torino, Italy. Previous work on this topic has suggested that cities deliberately learn, that other cities are preferred outside sources of knowledge, and that more or less informal networks of public, private, and civic minded persons are central to the processes of learning and innovation in successful cities.
The fieldwork revealed that, over the past three decades, the city of Torino reached out to multiple sources of learning, identifying and capturing important insights, many from other cities. Much of the knowledge acquired was later translated into benefits for Torino. A signal feature of the city's learning were fresh openings and new recruits in the circles of city thinkers, especially participants in the strategic planning process.
Two distinct openings took place, one in the mid 1990s and a second during the first half decade of 2000. Persons whose skills and creativity had not been previously tapped were brought into the strategic planning process without regard to political affiliation, family background, or industrial sector. The study also finds that Torino has not sustained a concentrated focus on learning that it once generated around the strategic plans. In recent years, it has diffused its focus, making it more difficult for the city to meet the new challenges now emerging, such as how governance will be organized to cover the wider metropolitan area, how the transformational impacts of the European high speed rail connections can be managed, what path to take to exploit the new promise and requirements for regional development, how to attract and integrate young global talent, and how to prepare for the oncoming globalization of Fiat as a world player in mobility.