Series 14 Vol 3 Special Issue (2020)

Consumption and Demand for Places: a Reading through the Neapolitan Case

Rosario Sommella
Dipartimento di Scienze Umane e Sociali, Università degli studi di Napoli “L’Orientale”, Italy
Libera D'Alessandro
Dipartimento di Scienze Umane e Sociali, Università degli studi di Napoli “L’Orientale”, Italy

Published 2021-06-21


  • consumption,
  • demand for places,
  • commercial function,
  • urban image,
  • retail


The contribution starts from the historical importance of the commercial function in Naples in structuring the urban space, a function to which it is possible largely to trace the long-lasting relationship between consumption and demand for places, as well as many changes in the urban image. Retail organized the city not only on the main streets but also at the scale of non-minoritarian and widespread micro-spaces in the various neighborhoods, in a Naples that, especially in the twentieth century, was transformed according to macro logic very different from today’s. Today the element that seems to most order the structure of places and the urban landscape is consumption, mixed with living and related activities, walking and cultural functions: elements mediated by local authorities, which in turn must deal with new phenomena. The question arises in territorial terms, as retail and consumption (and their protagonists) claim places and public space. The case study will be that of the metropolitan territory in an extended sense and will be analyzed through four scales chosen as the most exemplary of the change: the upgraded/touristified city-centre; the historical centre in its marginal parts; the metropolitan interstices; the small and medium-sized centers at the metropolitan scale. Demands of products and places that become the expression of a new demand for cities bring out the potential, contradictions and conflicts of a Mediterranean city in transition.