Drawing upon results of fieldwork conducted from 2005 to 2018 in Florence, Italy, the article discusses renovation of a medieval convent and other urban renewal activities in the city center. It examines how the projects intersect with broader concerns regarding identity, change, and workways in the San Lorenzo neighborhood. San Lorenzo has deep associations with trade, including outdoor vending. Hundreds of men and women work in its homonymous open-air market. Notwithstanding vending's historical prominence, questions have arisen regarding whether the outdoor market today is an environment congruent with local values and traditions. Some “requalification” proposals call for drastic reductions in vendors' numbers, their transfer to a repurposed convent, or new restrictions. Others presuppose the right of market vendors to remain in place. To address this disjuncture and its implications, the article compares the mission statements and activities of two non-profit associations. The first is composed largely of residents and shop owners, the second of long-time Florentine street vendors. Findings reveal that tourism figures importantly but differently in their experiences and that urban renewal has created opportunities to exercise new forms of social control over micro-business operators who depend on tourism.
How Do You Solve a Problem Like Saint Orsola?: Urban Space and Neighborhood Renewal in Florence's Historic Center
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Anne Schiller; How Do You Solve a Problem Like Saint Orsola?: Urban Space and Neighborhood Renewal in Florence's Historic Center. Human Organization 1 December 2019; 78 (4): 288–297. doi: https://doi.org/10.17730/0018-72126.96.36.1998
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