Public spaces as a planning dimension: Milan case studies and potentialities

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After a long apathy phase, a combination of increased real estate pressures and international initiatives like Expo or the latest Triennale revival, heavily activated in Milan the realization of new public spaces and revitalization of old ones. Which include, among others, starchitects new inner city neighborhoods and landmark buildings, new design and fashion urban network spaces, car limitation policies to extended urban pedestrian areas. However, Milan urban renewal path is concretizing through heterogeneous results as they were the proceedings which inspired these transformations. Indeed, each of these modified areas has been individually conceived, being absent any meaningful high scale planning indication outlining an overall transformative vision of the city. This is clearly reflected in the Milan increasingly fragmented geography (Secchi, 2013), where the collective urban dimension has been often degraded to the rank of a public spaces collection to be consumed, rather than an urban structuring spatiality seeking connections. Such an attitude drives to the weakening of the heterogeneous but highly intertwined urban complex which has always characterized this city. The overlap of historical compact frames and contemporary fragmentations, as well as different densities, gave rise to the actual Milan spatial condition, where emerge considerable public spaces potentials that could lead to fertile experimentations. But if public spaces are trivialized, they end up becoming self-referential entities, missing the task to condense differences and relations of the city.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Spaces of Dialog for Places of Dignity, Lisbon, 11-14th July, 2017
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