In the periphery things get manifest that are not tolerated in the centre or have become invisible. Here forms of self-organization, of social and economic change come to the fore. Indigenous citizens as well as migrant and transnational communities take part in this process.

Rome has never been an industrial city; its economy is dominated by administration, services, film industry, tourism and not least by unleashed real estate speculation with a strong building industry that has an estimated contingent of 30 % in informal working conditions. These characteristics make Rome an observatory for advanced neoliberal transformations. Rome had attracted national migrants, mostly from southern Italy, since it gained importance and expansion as the Italian capital in the 19th century. From the 1980s on a massive international immigration from Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia started, a phenomenon that was so far unknown in Italy.

Via Casilina was the site of several significant incidents:

In 1990 the former Pantanella factory was squatted by more than 1000 migrants from North-Africa, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Homeless families affected by poverty, bombings during WW2 or by evictions by the Fascist republic, as well as Italian Roma communities had found shelter in the arcs and along the remnants of antique aqueducts of Mandrione and Tor Fiscale.

Roma refugees from former Yugoslavia and later from Romania settled at the illegal but initially condoned camp of Casilino 900. The camp was formerly built by internal migrants coming from Southern Italy.

Informal settlements of Valle Borghesiana that started in the 1980s are an example of self building and self-organized planning by the inhabitants.