The processes to transform an underused public space into a lively one have to do with the role that a multiplicity of stakeholders play in the area. One of the most discussed urban issues of the new millennium is the identification of the elements that can contribute to build not only a “good” public space but a cohesive urban society around it, and also the re-iteration of the role of communities in this journey.
The activation of specific actions to increase social contact between inhabitants is the first and important action towards this goal. In general terms, social mix in itself is not sufficient to create social cohesion, this being the reason why other factors need to get into this mix: actions like institutional settings that support the interaction of residents, facilitate the contact between different groups of people, develop the sense of being part of a community through its spaces.
Working towards this direction, the Spazi Centrali project in Milan is bringing together the local government, associations and residents of all age groups, anticipating the change of unattractive spaces into enjoyable places that grow rooted in the nature, have their own multi-layered identity and trigger personal attachment and creation of memories.
The project has been working on a series of explorations of the Greco neighborhood, trying to identify key factors for analysis. Between 6 and 8 May the team will facilitate a series of workshops in the area applying a participatory public space assessment method and aiming at the revitalization and co-design of public space in the proximity of Milan Central Station. In these workshops, the neighbourhood in collaboration with urban professionals and stakeholders will develop ideas and organize a plan of actions. Ranging from hands on contributions to coordinated interventions, these actions need to simultaneously look at the bigger plans that lead the transition of the viaduct of Stazione Centrale from neglected infrastructure to lively public space based on cohesion, networks and relations of the citizens. The last day of the workshops will be dedicated to the follow-up of all activities and brainstorming: the implementation of actions by the community and the municipality.
If you would like to stay up-to-date with our activities, you are welcome to visit our website or like our facebook page. And if you are around Milan at that time, you are more than welcome to join us!
As an Economist and Urban Manager, Barbara is currently promoting a sustainable development model for Latin America through credit operations. She has work experience in The Netherlands supporting IHS, research and education activities and in Bolivia as part of the Oxfam Disaster Risk Reduction and Adaptation to Climate Change Program. Barbara’s areas of interest and expertise are urban planning related to public spaces and place-making, urban resilience, local government capacities, project management and off course creating local platforms to connect neighborhoods.