This paper does not describe the results of a specific research but presents a reflection on the possible urban scenarios based on sustainable development in all its possible aspects. In terms of city and territory as complex, open and dynamic systems, various aspects are tackled: from the need for participatory processes, to issues of urban security, to the coexistence of diversity, to illegal construction and so on. Despite globalization and the tendency towards social and urban homologation, local contexts still present significant differences; they derive from the different historical stratifications, from the current social and economic conditions, from the local administrative capacity and efficiency. The skills, effectiveness and efficiency of government and governance are also different, not only in different countries but also within the same country. For the above reasons, the reflection, although of a general nature, makes particular reference to the conditions of urban systems in southern Italy, united by: urban degradation and widespread building, illegal construction, organized crime, recent immigration, deficient control of the territory, and so on.
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