Abstract: Aso Valley is among the most advanced agricultural contexts in Italy. In recent years it has hosted the experimentation of some policy tools whose innovation was given by the fruitful cooperation between public and private actors in promoting rural development. This paper aims at critically analyzing contents and aims of the spaces of cooperation in Aso Valley, demonstrating to which extent they have influenced policy-making processes and reconstructed the fragmented institutional panorama characterizing the local level. Emphasis is placed on the role that planning could play in supporting rural policies. It is demonstrated that the integration of rural policies into territorial planning could better sustain local farmers’ activity, empower agricultural enterprises and reduce the conflicts between urban and rural land uses.
Keywords: local cooperation, soft spaces, rural development, rural policy, aso valley