Post WWII to Today
While lumped into one time period on this website, it is inaccurate to state that the last 70 years has experienced the same growth and trends. However, most of the spatial changes (read: expansion outside city walls) centers around transportation impacts, mainly the automobile and the movement of the economy.
The automobile, as in other areas of the world, led to the flight of many to areas outside the urban core. In Rome, poor traffic patterns and high levels of pollution also pushed residential areas outward.
1950s: Cold War brings US dollars & Economic Boom
After World War II, Italy was considered somewhat fragile with an active communist party. The U.S stayed very involved to keep the scales from tipping toward communism, most notably through the post war Marshall Plan that pumped in $1.5 million to rebuild. The Korean War also created a need for supplies which led to another
boost to Italian economy. Italian industry boasted cheap labor, so the city experienced substantial growth until the energy crisis in 1973.
1960s, 1970s, 1980s: These decades were periods of "irrational urban growth" from a number of factors: an economic boom and population increase, lack of planning and political stability, influence of the car and disregard for environmental issues. In fact, the car caused so much air pollution in the 1980s that population started dropping. Rome was looked at as an undesirable place to live: many said it was "a dirty place with terrible traffic."
From 1990s to today, the city has been using transportation improvements as “Il cura del ferro” (therapy by iron) to right many decades of lack of planning wrongs. There is now more focus on environmental issues and preserving open space. Additionally, cars now have limited access to this historic center.