Milan is a powerhouse and in many ways acts as a test bed for contemporary architecture and design in Italy. In the past 10 years or so the city has seen a shift in thinking when it comes to urban regeneration with an emphasis on the Milan of the future, learning and building from the cities past mistakes. Forbes coined this transition “Milan: The Grey City Is Going Green” (A, Girardi, 2019).
Porta Nuova Vision
The redevelopment of Porta Nuova can be seen as the kickstarter of the new beginning and is situated just north of the centre of Milan. This project redeveloped a huge area of former light-industrial usage, to a now mix-used place for living, working and visiting. Porta Nuova business district is one of the largest redevelopment projects in Europe, the abandoned area had the potential to connect three adjacent neighbourhoods and this was later achieved through sensitive natural development of the existing. Of the 72 acres of land that the project held, a massive 42 acres of this is public and pedestrian areas. When visiting the area the connection of public spaces provided was outstanding, where various networks of different uses seamlessly bind together through intuitive urban design. The success of such a vast amount of public space provided was helped by Milan’s urban density being high and therefore allowed the new buildings in the project to follow the same principles. The project was achieved by a vast multi-disciplinary team of urban designers, architects and the three main master planners being Pelli Clarke Pelli, Boeri Studio and Kohn Pedersen Fox.
photo by author
The underlying theme for the re-designing of such a huge network of spaces in the city centre was landscaping, with one of the main partners AECOM seeing the development as an ‘urban by-pass’ which could link the previously separated neighbourhoods due to the existing public transport networks. The area emphasised that public spaces were the project strategy and the human dimensions of the public realm are very evident when exploring. The project has developed integral sustainability in terms of the urban, infrastructural and environmental and has rekindled a contemporary vitality for Milan, through careful masterplanning and multi-disciplinary work it has been successful in achieving its vision.
photo by author
Milan is coined as the economic hub of Italy and it is this mixed use business district that illustrates the cities progression in all its glory. The appointed Mayor Giuseppe Sala when talking about Milan’s urban development last year stated that
“Creating new green areas for the city of Milan and building green infrastucture is pivotal to urban social change,” (G, Sala, 2018)
This again reaffirms the success and prosperity of the Porta Nuova project for the overarching aim of Milan’s future.