The future of many contemporary Italian industrial districts (IDs) strongly relies on the capability of local place leadership (PL) to react to opportunities and threats related to global challenges and crises. IDs might indeed find sustainable solutions in the face of such challenges if PLs take an open and strong approach and drive progressive coalitions of local interests. Taking advantage of a systematic review of contemporary Italian ID case studies and their correlates in terms of local governance, we explore how different types of PLs may influence endogenous rerouting and transition to renewed development paths. Specific attention is given to the risks that either a weak PL or an enclosed strong PL could hamper sustainable solutions.
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