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Piazze Aperte: How Milan Gave its Piazze Back to the People

[Leggi in italiano] [Download the report]

Piazza Spoleto-Venini, in Milan

 

As part of collaboration between Agenzia Mobilità Ambiente Territorio (AMAT), Bloomberg Associates and the Global Designing Cities Initiative, the the City of Milan has developed an innovative public space program named Piazze Aperte or “Open squares.”

After various demonstration projects in 2018 and 2019, in which the city tested the new methodology, at the end of 2019, the City of Milan launched a call for proposals entitled “Piazze Aperte in ogni quartiere” (Open Squares in every neighborhood), with the aim of identifying new spaces to be transformed, receiving over 60 suggestions. 

As of May 2022, the Municipality of Milan has now implemented almost 40 tactical interventions and continues to plan new ones—with one in two Milanese residents now living within 15 minutes (800 meters) of a piazza aperta.

The outcomes of this project are summarized in a new report released by the city of Milan, produced with the support of Bloomberg Associates and GDCI.

 

The 38 Piazze Aperte

 

Timeline

 

Piazze Aperte in Numbers 

 

Piazze Aperte aims to enhance public spaces and turn them into community gathering places, to extend pedestrian areas, and to promote sustainable forms of mobility to benefit the environment and improve the quality of life in the city. The goal is to put public spaces once again at the center of community life and to encourage people to make the most of public squares, rather than just using them for parking or thoroughfares.

Piazze Aperte uses a new approach to urban design, based on short-term, low-cost measures aimed at creating new public spaces and safer streets. This use of interim or tactical urbanism strategies allows cities to try out new uses for urban spaces, and to launch long-term strategies to promote city living. 

The advantages of this approach are linked to the immediate impact that these measures have on local residents, who can themselves become advocates for innovation projects and active participants in urban transformation.

  • Via Pacini. Credit: Apicultura

 

The temporary nature of tactical urbanism allows cities to try out solutions that can be reversed if needed before investing time and resources into permanent infrastructure. Interim, simple, fast, and economical solutions can produce immediate benefits, test experimental solutions, help in making the right choices, and support future decision-making on permanent solutions.

Through “Collaboration Agreements” – a written tool through which the City of Milan and its residents define the aims, objects and expected results of the “Piazze Aperte” program – active citizens, informal groups, associations, educational institutions, committees, foundations, and companies promoting “corporate maintenance” can collaborate with the Administration to implement programs that address the management, maintenance, improvement, and activation of various forms of urban commons.

 

Selection of Projects

 

Piazza Spoleto-Venini

  • Piazza Spoleto-Venini, Before.

 

Piazzale di Porta Genova

  • Porta Genova, Before.

 

Piazza Sicilia

  • Piazza Sicilia, Before.

 

For more information, download the Piazze Aperte report!

Download Here

 

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Photo credits: Global Designing Cities Initiative and Bloomberg Associates if not otherwise specified.

Written and translated by Fabrizio Prati (with text extracted from the Piazze Aperte report)

Blog designed by Annah MacKenzie and Fabrizio Prati

Thanks to: Chistie Klima, Demetrio Scopelliti, Stefano Ragazzo, the Bloomberg Associates team, and all the people involved in the Piazze Aperte program

For info about this project, please contact [email protected]
For media inquiries, please contact [email protected] 

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Read more about our work in Milan:

Interim Plazas in the Land of Piazzas

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