Mapping the Epidemic

Mapping the Epidemic

A Systemic Geography of COVID-19 in Italy

1st Edition - August 27, 2021

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  • Editors: Emanuela Casti, Fulvio Adobati, Ilia Negri
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780323910613
  • eBook ISBN: 9780323910620

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Mapping the Epidemic: A Systemic Geography of COVID-19 in Italy provides a theoretical-methodological framework based on space-time analysis to map and interpret the set of factors that could have contributed to the spread of COVID-19, as well as a reflexive cartographic mapping visualizing the virus’s dynamics. After an introduction that constitutes the theoretical anchor of the work carried out both with respect to territorial analysis and the use of reflexive cartography, the book discusses the role played by reflexive cartography in research on the COVID-19 pandemic conducted by an Italian university working group dealing with reticularity and the territorial fragilities that have influenced the spread. The data, subjected to analysis, are translated into reflexive cartography as a tool for restitution and investigation of the territorial dynamics. Each chapter consists of detailed information in which the European context of data analysis is illustrated, to then investigate the Italian territory and focus on the case of Lombardy and, in particular, of Bergamo as the epicenter. The book addresses the theoretical and methodological approaches of mapping the epidemic in Italy and the importance of cartography in the outbreak response, as well as including data accounting for contributing factors such as atmospheric pollution and infection rate, population distribution and major mobility corridors, and measures adopted to contain the outbreak, by implementing mapping at the regional Lombard, national, and European levels. Mapping the Epidemic: A Systemic Geography of COVID-19 in Italy uses an interdisciplinary approach that highlights the key role of geography and cartography in providing usable data and conclusions on the virus outbreak and will be valuable for researchers and professionals in the fields of geography, GIS, and spatial mapping, as well as statisticians working on mapping outbreaks and epidemiological scientists needing mapping data on the virus.

Key Features

  • Details reflexive mapping of the COVID pandemic, giving an interpretation that explains the epidemic’s variable complexity and visualizes it
  • Provides a space-time approach, based on a database from the beginning of the Italian emergence to the decline phase, showing the virus spread intensity and speed in relation to socio-territorial factors
  • Is complementary to studies carried out in the biomedical domain, referring to the results of these studies in an original and innovative way, envisaged through cybercartography


Researchers and professionals in geography, cartography, GIS, and spatial phenomena and mapping. Statisticians working on mapping outbreaks and epidemiological scientists needing mapping data on the virus

Table of Contents

  • Cover image
  • Title page
  • Table of Contents
  • Copyright
  • List of figures
  • List of contributors
  • Acronyms
  • Preface
  • Editors’ comments: The Covid-19 epidemic in Italy, a European epicenter
  • Introduction: Territorial analysis and reflexive mapping on the Covid-19 infection
  • Abstract
  • 1: Context
  • 2: Epidemiological data and the issue of sources
  • 3: Stages of virus propagation in relation to social and territorial factors
  • 4: Theoretical grounding and spatial dimension of the virus
  • 5: Geographical implications of the contagion and Italian outcomes
  • 6: From GIS to reflexive mapping
  • 7: Conclusions
  • Chapter 1: Population and contagion spread
  • Chapter 1.1: Evolution of epidemic outcomes in Europe
  • Abstract
  • 1.1.1: Premise
  • 1.1.2: Covid-19 in Europe
  • 1.1.3: Factors favoring viral propagation
  • 1.1.4: Conclusions
  • Chapter 1.2: Italy into three parts: The space–time spread of contagion
  • Abstract
  • 1.2.1: Introduction
  • 1.2.2: Mapping contagion: The spread of Covid-19 across the three Italies
  • 1.2.3: Morpho-climatic and socio-territorial factors
  • 1.2.4: Suggestions for a new territorial project
  • Chapter 1.3: Evolution and intensity of infection in Lombardy
  • Abstract
  • 1.3.1: Premise
  • 1.3.2: The Lombard territory: Distribution and temporal evolution of infection
  • 1.3.3: Concluding remarks
  • Chapter 1.4: Contagion and local fragilities in Bergamo and the Seriana Valley
  • Abstract
  • 1.4.1: Premise
  • 1.4.2: The province of Bergamo as a case study
  • 1.4.3: The Seriana Valley hotspot
  • 1.4.4: Conclusions
  • Chapter 2: Mortality and severity of contagion
  • Chapter 2.1: Estimation of mortality and severity of the Covid-19 epidemic in Italy
  • Abstract
  • 2.1.1: Introduction
  • 2.1.2: Mortality in Italy in March 2020
  • 2.1.3: Mortality estimation for Covid-19
  • 2.1.4: Analysis of mortality by age
  • 2.1.5: Conclusions
  • Chapter 2.2: Mortality and severity of infection in Lombardy
  • Abstract
  • 2.2.1: Introduction
  • 2.2.2: Analysis of mortality data in Lombardy
  • 2.2.3: Covid-19 mortality estimate
  • 2.2.4: Analysis of mortality by age
  • 2.2.5: Conclusions
  • Chapter 3: Mobility and urbanization
  • Chapter 3.1: Commuting in Europe and Italy
  • Abstract
  • 3.1.1: Commuting between proximity and reticularity
  • 3.1.2: The European context of mobility
  • 3.1.3: A focus on commuting in Italy
  • 3.1.4: Conclusions
  • Chapter 3.2: Urbanity and commuting in Lombardy
  • Abstract
  • 3.2.1: Urbanity and commuting for reflexive mapping
  • 3.2.2: Monitoring commutes in Lombardy
  • 3.2.3: The rhizome-like form of commuting in Lombardy
  • 3.2.4: Conclusions
  • Chapter 4: Pollution and territorial diffusion of contagion
  • Chapter 4.1: Correlation between atmospheric pollution and contagion intensity in Italy and Lombardy
  • Abstract
  • 4.1.1: Introduction
  • 4.1.2: Links between pollution and contagion
  • 4.1.3: Initial assessment
  • Chapter 5: Dynamics of contagion and fragility of the healthcare and welfare system
  • Chapter 5.1: Epidemic onset and population and production density of outbreaks in Lombardy
  • Abstract
  • 5.1.1: Premise
  • 5.1.2: Outbreaks and sporting events in Lombardy
  • 5.1.3: The production and logistics fabric underlying Lombardy's outbreaks
  • 5.1.4: Reticularity between outbreaks in Northern Italy
  • 5.1.5: Initial results
  • Chapter 5.2: Nursing and Residential Care Facilities (RSA) and contagion-related fragilities in Italy
  • Abstract
  • 5.2.1: The role of nursing and residential care facilities during the Covid-19 epidemic
  • 5.2.2: Elderly care and nursing and residential care facilities (RSAs) in Italy
  • 5.2.3: Conclusions
  • Chapter 5.3: The Italian health care system and swab testing
  • Abstract
  • 5.3.1: The healthcare system in Italy
  • 5.3.2: The epicenter regions of the epidemic
  • 5.3.3: Conclusions
  • Chapter 5.4: Dysfunctions and inadequacies in Health Districts and Nursing and Residential Care Facilities for the elderly in Lombardy as highlighted by the Covid-19 epidemic
  • Abstract
  • 5.4.1: A model for elderly residential hospitality to the test
  • 5.4.2: The national and Lombard care-system for non-self-sufficient people
  • 5.4.3: Lombardy in the plural
  • 5.4.4: Conclusions
  • Chapter 6: Public policies for epidemic containment
  • Chapter 6.1: Public policies for epidemic containment in Italy
  • Abstract
  • 6.1.1: Premise
  • 6.1.2: Contagion containment measures in Europe and their space–time evolution
  • 6.1.3: The Italian legal system
  • 6.1.4: Italian measures in a space–time perspective
  • 6.1.5: Conclusions
  • Chapter 6.2: Containment measures in relation to the trend of infection in Italy
  • Abstract
  • 6.2.1: Introduction
  • 6.2.2: Main public measures for infection containment in Italy
  • 6.2.3: Results of containment measures on infection progress
  • 6.2.4: Outcomes of containment measures on citizens fined by the police
  • 6.2.5: A difficult balance between Regions and the State: healthcare and transport
  • 6.2.6: Conclusions
  • Conclusions: Towards spatial vulnerability management for a new “happy” living
  • Abstract
  • 1: Territorial fragilities and containment interventions
  • 2: Territorial regeneration and potentials set forth by the pandemic
  • 3: The anthropocene era: Environmental and pandemic crises
  • 4: Happy living
  • Index

Product details

  • No. of pages: 252
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Elsevier 2021
  • Published: August 27, 2021
  • Imprint: Elsevier
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780323910613
  • eBook ISBN: 9780323910620

About the Editors

Emanuela Casti

Emanuela Casti is full professor of Geography at the University of Bergamo where she directs the CST-Centro Studi sul Territorio, is responsible of the DiathesisLab ( and is President of the MA in Geourbanistica. Considered and innovator in cartographic theories studies, she has formalize a semiotic theory that investigates the relationship between cartography and geography, extending it to the new systems of cybercartography in the book of theory Reflexive Cartography published in the Modern Cartography Series by Elsevier. Her researches concern the historical context (the prehistoric cartography in Valcamonica, the renaissance and modern cartography of Venice, the Italian and French colonial cartography in Africa) as well as the contemporary one: mapping of movement, of conservation (;, for the governance (;, and the regeneration of urban peripheries ( She has published more that a hundred of essays, among which the books: Reality as representation. The semiotics of cartography and the generation of meaning (Bergamo University Press, 2000); Reflexive Cartography. A New Perspective on Mapping (Elsevier, 2015).

Affiliations and Expertise

Professor and Chair of Geography, University of Bergamo, Italy

Fulvio Adobati

Fulvio Adobati is a Researcher in Urban Planning at the Department of Engineering and Applied Sciences of the University of Bergamo. He carries out research, study and territorial planning activities at the "Lelio Pagani" Center for Territorial Studies. he is a holder of the Integrated Course of Architectural Design-Architectural and Urban Composition at the Degree Course in Building Engineering, of the Course of Territorial Cultures and Policies at the Degree Course in Letters-Culture and Territorial Analysis, of the Spatial Dimension of Urban Planning course at the master's degree course in Geourbanistics.

Affiliations and Expertise

Department of Engineering and Applied sciences, University of Bergamo, Italy

Ilia Negri

Ilia Negri graduated in Mathematics at the University of Milan, PhD in Methodological Statistics at the University of Trento and PhD in Mathématique (option Statistique) at L'Université du Maine (France). Today her research focuses mainly on Stochastic Differential Equations, empirical processes, non-parametric inference for diffusion processes. Recently she has also dealt with environmental issues (placement of measures) and the social sphere (changes in the structure of families).

Affiliations and Expertise

Department of Engineering of Management, Information, and Production, University of Bergamo, Italy

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