The widespread crisis of small trade in the Italian urban centers, is forcing the cities to search innovative models of governance, able to draw a strategic and integrated development of tourist, commercial and cultural offer of the area. In response to this need, in recent years models of urban regeneration are spreading in many Italian municipalities, and these are identified in the so-called "Natural Shopping Centers" (CCN). This paper proposes an exploratory research on ten CCN Italian experiences, in order to compare the cases observed over a number of "key" dimensions. The study highlights critical areas in the management of CCN, which represent strategic and managerial challenges needed for Italian CCN (existing or under development) to promote an enduring competitive, economic and social balance, within the broader objective of urban regeneration.
Keywords: Natural Shopping Centers, urban trade, urban development, place marketing, urban governance, CCN Italian experiences