OECD Territorial Reviews: Milan, Italy


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ISBN Number: 9264028919
Publication Date:
October 2006
Pages: 178
Number of tables: 23
Number of graphs: 61



OECD Territorial Reviews: Milan, Italy

Milan is often identified as a prosperous region and an international capital of fashion and design. Once a successful industrial city located in the northern part of Italy, Milan has grown into the core of a wider industrial metropolitan region that is home to more than 7 million people. The OECD Territorial Review of Milan recognises that Milan’s historical skills endowment and its advantageous geographic location could underpin its ambition to become a southern European and Mediterranean capital. At the same time, the Review demonstrates that Milan displays disappointing international performances and seems to have lost part of its long-established drive. If Milan is to be upgraded into a creative service hub interwoven with a vibrant industrial fabric, rapid action will be required to:

  • bolster its innovation dynamics and attractiveness;
  • support the reform process via more inclusive governance mechanisms.

The OECD Territorial Review of Milan is integrated into a wider programme of national and territorial reviews undertaken by the OECD Territorial Development Policy Committee. The overall aim of these reviews is to provide practical policy advice to governments focusing on multi-level governance and regional competitiveness.


Chapter 1 Milan in the global economy

This chapter analyses how Milan’s long-established comparative advantages have been progressively affected by globalisation challenges. Milan is still a major engine of Italian growth thanks to the presence of a well educated and relatively young labour market, a lively entrepreneurship pool, and networks of dynamic small firms. Yet it has undergone a significant territorial transformation and its promising production framework faces underexploited innovation capacity, threats to local human capital and deteriorating liveability.





The chapter is divided into three parts. Part 1.1 assesses Milan’s socioeconomic changes. Part 1.2 identifies the metropolitan region’s major comparative advantages. Part 1.3 discusses the challenges Milan is facing within the global economy.

Chapter 2 Enhancing the competitiveness of Milan

This chapter highlights the opportunities for the Milan region to improve its international competitiveness. Concern over Milan’s competitiveness should extend beyond a purely local debate and onto the national agenda as the performance of Milan and the performance of Italy are intertwined. Current trends call for action to foster innovation within a coherent strategic vision. 

The chapter is divided into two parts. Part 2.1 reviews policy tools for enterprise support, especially for SMEs, research-intensive activities and Milan’s “global” activities (such as fashion, design and fairs). Part 2.2 discusses an integrated strategy to improve the region’s attractiveness and liveability.

Chapter 3 What governance to revive Milan?

This chapter looks at potential governance mechanisms to enhance the competitiveness and liveability of the Milan metropolitan region. While Milan’s span and economy have changed, its governance has remained fragmented. The potentially decisive impact of Milan’s spillovers on national competitiveness advocates in favour of a national policy for large metropolitan areas such as Milan.

The chapter is divided into three parts. Part 3.1 examines Milan’s past attempts to institutionalise metropolitan governance within the ongoing decentralisation agenda. Part 3.2 suggests basic collaboration mechanisms to overcome local fragmentation in key issues, especially transportation. Part 3.3 demonstrates the need to build sustainable governance in a longer term to facilitate the emergence of ad hoc “flagship projects” and to develop a “Milan community” based on trust, creative ideas and collective political leadership.

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