Analyzing Fringe Belt Phenomenon in the Historico – Geographical Structure of Milan, Italy

Dzheylan Safet Karaulan, Ayşe Sema Kubat


The object of this paper is to identify the specific land use patterns in relation to a general framework of the fringe belts formation and modification through the urban expansion of Milan, a city with solid Italian planning tradition, by defining strong characteristics and land use transformations through comparative map analysis in a consistent timeline period.

Adapting the study of fringe belts, as signatures of the pulsations of urban growth, and a reflection of urban space needs beyond those of the residential and retail sectors, is pertinent as it contributes to understand each phase of city alteration and urban growth and relate them to economic and political forces linked to the contemporary development of metropolitan areas.  Applied adequately, fringe belt studies have been taken in different parts of Europe, but few have been done in Italy. This research, as a comparative study of superposition data approach, has aimed to verify the true development pattern of a city with dynamic typo-morphological transitions, with powerful industrial and service sector shifts recently, strictly reflecting on the shaping of the overall urbanized territory.

A general study of the urban evolution has been undertaken and development of the municipality has been observed with a focus on defining land use maps, and obtaining a comparative data analyzes by overlapping and tracking land use transformations and expounding fringe belt modifications through different expansion periods of the urban territory. In the contemporary city, fringe belts can play crucial role as vast green open spaces for recreation and leisure, natural boundaries from harmful industrial surroundings, as well as ecological corridors and mediums for natural systems maintenance and natural remedy to improve the quality of life and provide healthier environments for the overall urban systems.

Adapting the study of fringe belts in a regulated conceptual framework, and referring them into the historico-geographical structure of the urban development could lead up to adequate planning and urban design strategies that aim to improve the quality of life in contemporary urban landscapes.


urban development, fringe belt formation, land use, transformation, modification

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