GDCI Projects October 16, 2023

​​From More Open Spaces to Safer School Streets in Milan

On Tuesday, May 3, the City of Milan announced Piazze Aperte per Ogni Scuola (Open Squares for Every School), a new phase of the Piazze Aperte Program focused on school streets. In collaboration with Bloomberg Associates and the Global Design Cities Initiative (GDCI), the City of Milan and the Agenzia Mobilità Ambiente Territorio (AMAT) welcomed more than 600 community members that submitted 87 projects designed to improve streets around 250 schools in Milan.

The launch event of Piazze Aperte per ogni Scuola at BASE Milano

At the launch, city officials, including Housing and Neighborhoods Deputy Mayor Pierfrancesco Maran, Mobility Deputy Mayor Arianna Censi, AMAT Planning, and Public Space Director Demetrio Scopelliti, applauded the success of the call for submissions, which yielded around 80 applications. Janette Sadik-Khan, chair of GDCI, and GDCI’s Director of Design Fabrizio Prati were also present and congratulated the participation of parents and school association. The event also allowed the applicants to present their proposals in a workshop open to the community.

The applicants' teams present their proposals for the second phase of the Piazze Aperte program

The first phase of the Piazze Aperte program called Piazze Aperte in Ogni Quartiere (Open Squares in Every Neighborhood) was launched in 2018. Between then and last year, more than 40 new public spaces were created resulting in more than 25,000 m2 of pedestrianized space. In November 2022, the City of Milan launched an open call, Piazze Aperte per Ogni Scuola, to promote new interventions near kindergartens, and primary and secondary schools.

In May, Bloomberg Associates and GDCI also joined parent associations, city officials, educators, and The Clean Cities Campaign in an event to promote Via Beroldo—a pedestrianized street in a neighborhood with three schools and over 3,500 students.

School children during an activity led by GDCI with the support of the City of Milan and local associations

With the support of the local school organizations and staff from the municipality, GDCI’s team worked (and played!) with over 250 school kids and teenagers to raise awareness about the importance of street design and transformations like the pedestrianization in Via Beroldo, as well as taking time to listen to their ideas.

GDCI also took part in the inauguration of the new vehicle-free space with GDCI’s reverse periscope—a tool that allows adults to experience streets from the viewpoint of a child, seeing the world at half the height of an adult. At the event, there were also opinion boards to help collect residents’ input and street puzzle prints to engage community members, especially children.

The reverse periscope in action at Via Beroldo

Capitalizing on the Piazze Aperte program, the City of Milan is not only invested in bringing more open, vehicle-free spaces to its school streets, but it will also focus on improving cycling infrastructure to connect schools. In June 2023, the City of Milan was among the 10 selected cities for the Bloomberg Initiative for Cycling Infrastructure (BICI) and will receive USD 400,000 as well as technical assistance from GDCI to implement the BEATS (Bagalori East to South) project. This will be the scale-up project for the Piazze Aperte program, and will create sustainable, green cycle lanes to connect to over 40 schools in Milan.

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

(This publication includes text from the Piazze Aperte per Ogni Scuola. Presentate 87 Nuove Richieste publication by the Commune di Milano)

Read more about our work in Milan: Download the Piazze Aperte report!

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