25.03.2019  16:00

Inauguration of Green Living Lab San Siro

First results of partnership agreement between City, Politecnico and associations on shared care of communal assets

Until just a few weeks ago, anyone walking along Via Abbiati, a 300m long street that cuts through an historical neighbourhood of social housing in Milan’s San Siro area, would not have been struck by the beauty of the area. Flaking high-rises, illegal building, pavements overrun with illegally parked cars, abandoned rubbish and walls continually covered in graffiti. A sense of abandonment and neglect which the diverse and dynamic population in the area certainly don’t deserve.

On Sunday 24 March all this changed with the inauguration of GreenLivingLab San Siro. A day of activities, workshops and games to celebrate the urban regeneration work which is the first step in enabling the residents to take back this corner of the city and start to use it again as a public space.

Attending the event were Mayor Giuseppe Sala and Councillors Marco Granelli, Lorenzo Lipparini, Pierfrancesco Maran and Gabriele Rabaiotti. Representing the Politecnico di Milano – one of the key players in this project – Prof. Gabriele Pasqui, Director of the Department of Architecture and Urban Studies and Rector’s Delegate for social policies and Prof. Francesca Cognetti De Martiis, Rector’s Delegate for social responsibility for the territory.

Today Via Abbiati looks completely different. The pavement, previously overrun by cars, is now painted with zebra designs and children’s games marked out on the tarmac, which were partly chosen by the residents. Planters have been built enabling residents to experiment with communal gardening. New bicycle racks have been installed, as well as deterrents to illegal parking and small archways to protect pedestrians on the pavements, measures that along with the new 30 km/h speed limit will make the road safer. All this is framed by a large decorative sign made of metal with the phrase “TAKE CARE”, the inspirational slogan behind the project. The revitalisation of the area also includes a programme of activities organised by the associations who made the decision to take care of this space.

GreenLivingLab San Siro is the product of a partnership agreement for the joint care of communal assets signed by the City of Milan, the Research-Action Mapping San Siro group from the Politecnico di Milano, Municipality 7 and the associations Temporiuso.net, Alfabeti Onlus, Genera and Imby, with the collaboration of Retake Milano.

The project is a pilot action within the framework of the European project “SoHoLab – the regeneration of Large-Scale Social Housing Estates through LivingLabs”, which won funding from the Belgian King Badouin Foundation and the Cariplo Foundation.

The work was made possible thanks to the innovative tool of a partnership agreement, introduced in 2018 by the City Council, which aims to entrust the public with the care and management of communal assets, creating a relationship of equality, sharing and close collaboration with municipal authorities.

“Today we are celebrating handing back Via Abbiati to its residents, which has been made possible thanks to the innovative tools of tactical urbanism and partnership agreements on shared administration of communal assets,” said Councillor for Participation, Active Citizenship and Open Data, Lorenzo Lipparini. “Thanks to the hard work of many organisations, this part of the city can now finally come back to life and become invigorated, improving the quality of life and use of public space to the benefit of all the residents in the neighbourhood.”