Building Resilience into Milan’s 2030 City Plan

By 2030, Milan will be a city increasingly connected to its larger metropolitan area as well as the globe. At the same time, it will be a city with a local focus, with special attention given to the main squares and transport nodes that are central to the growing youth population and the city’s middle class. The city will be even more innovative and inclusive. A green and resilient Milan will require the same quality of urban space for the city center as for the suburbs; the city’s 88 neighborhoods characterized by a strong local identity. By overcoming the physical, social, economic distances between the city and its periphery, growth will be inclusive, extended to all neighborhoods, and will engender improved quality of life for all residents.

Workshops ‘idee per la città che cambia’

Currently under review, the far-reaching City Master Plan of Milan was developed through a strong engagement process. In the words of Mayor Sala: “The goal is that Milan becomes the city that its citizens want. We think that the projects outlined in the City Plan are more likely to succeed as a result of the partnership between Milan and its citizens – starting with the requalification of the city periphery.”

The Master Plan furthermore provides strategic objectives and measurable indicators of progress for the City Resilience Department, led by Chief Resilience Officer Piero Pelizzaro. Of the five main objectives which drive Milan’s 2030 Plan, the Resilience Department will play a significant role in the implementation of Objective 3: “A green, livable and resilient city.” Top initiatives in this section include restoring and consolidating a series of underutilized public and private spaces into ecological corridors, as well as incentivizing the environmental sustainability of existing and new construction through the introduction of new buildings standards.

Keep reading to learn more about Milan 2030.

1_CONNECTING MILAN, THE METROPOLITAN AREA, AND THE WORLD

The core of a wide metropolitan area, Milan aims to increase accessibility through massive investments in public transport: the construction of the new M4 metro line (connecting travelers from Linate airport to the city center in less than 15 minutes), the extension of other metro lines beyond the city boundaries, and the strengthening of the railway belt, in addition to the development of high speed trains and of the regional railway service. We expect the evolution of the urban form to go hand in hand with the advancement of public transport, focusing on the relationship between future development and mobility. Thanks to a model that integrates built densification and regeneration of public space, 12 transit hubs – which currently attract millions of people daily – are expected to become major metropolitan spots. This is underpinned by the logic of urban growth that clusters residents within a short distance from a train or metro stop, to reduce dependency on private mobility.

 

2_AN ATTRACTIVE AND INCLUSIVE CITY OF OPPORTUNITY

Milan’s youth population is expected to increase by 50 thousand by 2030. It is critical that new incentives open the way for the ‘Fourth Economy’ to bring innovative production back to the urban core – offering new job opportunities to Milan’s youth as well as to residents from all social classes, ages, and backgrounds. Six areas in Milan’s periphery, accessible to all and placed on strategic axes, will additionally be developed with the intent of attracting international investment and serving as centers of economic opportunity. These outposts could be used for a range of purposes: from institutional and administrative offices, to structures to support cultural production, hospital facilities, classrooms and university services, incubation spaces for startups, large sports facilities, or depots for sustainable mobility.

3_A GREEN, LIVABLE, RESILIENT CITY

Sustainability and resilience are at the center of the vision for future Milan. Compared to current regulations, the new city plan provides for the reduction of land consumption by 4% – made possible by a unique approach corralling over 3 million square meters previously zoned for agricultural use or new construction. The Milan 2030 strategy envisions the creation of a consolidated Metropolitan Park, connecting all existing parks, as well as the city’s fragmented network of public and private spaces, into ecological corridors. Overall, the city of 2030 will boast 20 new parks larger than 1 hectare. The redevelopment of Milan’s railyards will open up an additional 65 hectares of green space, which will not only house the city’s third largest park at Scalo Farini, but will also be the structure of “Green Track” – a new ecological system that is developing along the railway, partially financed by the European CLEVER Cities project.

In collaboration with the Polytechnic University of Milan, city administration is working to draft urban forestry guidelines with the goal of planting 3 million trees in the whole metropolitan area. This project is part of the city’s Resilience Strategy under development with the support of 100 Resilient Cities, and which Milan seeks codify into a masterplan.

Also important to Milan’s resilience work is the new city plan’s increase in environmental performance standards required for existing and newly constructed buildings, through the Article 10 of the Implementation Rules; the new standards demand higher energy efficiency, re-naturalization and de-pavement (including green roofs), and the certification of CO2 reduction.

4_ONE CITY, 88 NEIGHBORHOODS

Milan 2030 outlines several initiatives for overcoming barriers between the inner and outer city. Selective densification is the principle applied to the regeneration of 6 main squares located between the city center and the periphery. These squares currently function as traffic hubs and as gaps in walkability; in gaining a new identity, they will be able to stimulate investment and improve the city’s attractiveness and livability. The redevelopment of 7 disused railyards along the railway belt (measuring more than 1 million m2 altogether) as well as a project for reopening the Navigli, the historical water channels of Milan, will additionally help forge a unified identity for the city’s 88 neighborhoods.

 

Milan’s regeneration, far from being solely focused on the changing skyline, already embraces public space as a fundamental common good. Interventions on public squares both large and small are being undertaken with the aim of strengthening local neighborhood identities, favoring walkability, increasing green space, and supporting local shops and tourism. They favor safety, cohesion, and social inclusion, building off of widespread services which are designed in particular for young people, the elderly, and the most fragile sections of the population.

5_A CITY THAT REGENERATES

Diffuse regeneration of the urban fabric will be encouraged in specific areas of Milan. Where levers and incentives can be utilized, we expect them to stimulate the renovation of degraded lots – thus increasing urban quality, enhancing the functional mix and services, and overall facilitating the economic, social, and cultural development of the city’s most vulnerable sectors. The main target of regeneration is the struggle against vacant areas and abandoned buildings. To reactivate disused public areas and create new opportunities, firstly, Milan has taken part in the Reinventing Cities initiative promoted by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group. The city launched an international competition for the regeneration of 5 sites under high sustainability standards, especially in terms of carbon neutrality. Moreover, the plan puts forth obligations for the private sector to either demolish abandoned buildings or to present a recovery project, under penalty of losing the existing building rights. Finally, the city’s Peripheries Plan has paved the way for renovating and assigning 3,000 vacant public housing units by 2021.

Overall, Milan 2030 is a vision for our city to not just grow larger, but stronger. As Pierfrancesco Maran, Deputy Mayor for Urban Planning, expressed: “The growth impacts the whole city, integrating €350 million of municipal funds with private investments, to bolster and better integrate Milan’s peripheries into the larger city. This is the story of Milan’s transformation. Public and private sectors are collaborating to solve problems, working in an integrated manner and serving as a model for other cities around the world.”