Starting from a field-work done inside two cross-border Alpine valleys, both connected to the metropolitan areas of the lowland plains, and supported by a cartographic work that brings together spatial and statistical data on industrial demography at the whole scale of the Alps, this contribution attempts to open a critical reflection on the polarization, specialization and marginalization of the Alpine territories. The central aspect of this work is to bind the shape of the city-territory to the structure of the industrial and infrastructural space, by revealing the real substance of the "Alpine productive platform" and by explaining its strength and its strategic importance in the light of the “third industrial revolution”.