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
2018 Launch of Piazza Dergano e Angilberto II—the first piazze to be implemented as part of a collaboration with Bloomberg Associates, Global Designing Cities Initiative, and Comune di Milano
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.
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
Piazzale di Porta Genova
For more information, download the Piazze Aperte report!
My Way to School: Making kids’ journeys to school in Santiago, Chile, safer and more enjoyable
In 2019, the GDCI team selected the capital city of Santiago, Chile, as a Streets for Kids Technical Assistance project. Together with Ciudad Emergente, a Chilean nonprofit, we selected Enrique Soro street as the project site. The project’s main objectives were to establish safe intersections, extend sidewalks, and reduce speeds.
The Global Designing Cities Initiative is committed to reimagining streets as places for people, shaping cities that are healthy, accessible, and equitable for everyone. We also recognize cycling as a safe, efficient, and sustainable mode of transportation. Despite the lack of safe cycling infrastructure that hinders many would-be cyclists around the world from relying on their bikes, there are a number of cities that have made significant progress in recent years. Committed to making its streets more cycle-friendly, Quito, Ecuador, has implemented large-scale, successful cycling infrastructure projects that make it a cycling success story.
Sixty leaders, twenty cities, one focus: How to make better streets for kids
GDCI’s first-ever Streets for Kids Leadership Accelerator welcomed 60 professionals from 20 cities around the world, all working at the intersection of children’s wellbeing and transportation. This competitively selected group came together for twelve online sessions over a six months period for an intensive course in street design best practices. Perhaps most importantly, this was a unique opportunity for them to share ideas, questions, and strategies with each other. Here’s a look back at what went into this program.