There are urban places in Italy where good living is the norm, malaise the exception. This derives from: 1.existing material conditions: sufficient income, good work, efficient social services 2.lack of conflict factors: strong income gap or economic uncertainty 3.existing cohesion factors: civic pride, solidarity, historic rooting Such happy conditions can be spotted in the use of the city and the territory. In many ways: a)through the evident and customary care for the historic heritage b)by maintaining functions of social recognition and aggregation in the historic centre c)by containing tourist flows d)in a well organised peripheral development e)by correctly locating productive settlements in the landscape. These are the results of a development process that was able to skip the threats posed by an economic growth unaware of a parallel human and social development; on the other side, development indicators show that these places have taken full advantage of more general growth processes. Cultural, social and environmental moderation factors were obviously at work. This has happened, according to a first recognition, in a number of small centres of the Marche region. Here the size, certainly relevant in maintaining local traditions, was not an obstacle to the development of a contemporary living culture, as witnessed by the permanence of the young generation.