Keywords: face-to-face interaction, social capital, local development, cognitive-cultural economy
The paper examines the elements on which the success of the cognitive-cultural economy in the Milan metropolitan area is based, focusing in parti¬cular on the importance of interactions and social networks. We present the relationship between social capital and local development with respect to the social transformations characteristic of the post-Fordist economy; the objective is to determine to what extent traditional research concepts and hypotheses are still capable of serving as effective instruments for the analysis of contemporary society. We thus investigate the most innovative and representative segment of the contemporary urban economy, in particular its relational elements, in order to understand how the city sustains (or hinders) the emergence or development of the local economy. The analysis of social relations within communities proves to be a key element in the effort to construct an image of the complexity of urban development in the post-Fordist economy.