The Research Centre on the Inner Areas and Appenines (ArIA), has been inaugurated on April 22nd 2016 and is located in Campobasso at the University of Molise. ArIA focuses on the rural and forest landscapes and their challenges related to land and population planning, taking into consideration the historical background and the institutional and socio-economic context. ArIA, following a scientific, multidisciplinary and innovative approach to study inner areas, offers an important contribution to society, administrations and policy makers for the definition of the best tools for governance and territorial policies.
ArIA aims at the development and preservation of the Inner Areas, which are defined as those areas that are 40 minutes away from large and medium-sized urban centres, and from their associated infrastructures (schools, hospitals and public transportation). The population of these areas is around 13.48 million, representing 22.2% of the Italian population. The definition of the Inner Areas in Italy started by the polycentric mapping of the Italian landscape, which is characterised by a network of municipalities or aggregations of municipalities with public services that are surrounded by areas more or less peripheral to this network. This identification of inner areas, supported also by different geovisual tools, is a first suggestion for the Italian land planning and is open to discussion, but it will provide useful, operative and integrated models specific for the development and preservation of Inner Areas.