I AM MY CITY Spazi Centrali Milan SUSTAIN conference Rotterdam poster

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The railway lines above the 4 tunnels and the two “Spazi Centrali” locations along the exits of tunnel no.4

location 1: Largo San Valentino

location2: Crossroad via Spoleto, Venini, Martiri Oscuri

[ SPAZI CENTRALI ] Milan, Italy

[Alexandra Tsatsou, Barbara Zamora, Carlo Capra] [iammycity.me] THINK BIG / ACT SMALL

WHO OWNS URBAN GOVERNANCE ?

IMPACT OVER OUTCOME

3 DAYS FOR SPAZI CENTRALI

Within Milan’s Greco neighbourhood, the railway viaduct of Stazione Centrale is a strong, rigid barrier that restricts social flows between the areas it cuts. However, examples from all over the world indicate the valuable potential of such outdated infrastructure and the multiple benefits they can bring to urban public space. The residents of the area have identified two public spaces in the neighbourhood as problematic or underused. Our team joined forces with them, and organized a series of activities to apply an urban processes facilitation method. The aim was to inspire users to reflect on the current situation and to develop ideas for the future of those spaces.

Even when private investments and the public sector bureaucracy dominate urban development, there is space for new forms of governance of regeneration processes. Since 2013 the residents of “Associazione 4 Tunnel” have been fighting against the decay of the areas surrounding the Stazione Centrale viaduct, with different activities like hands-on cleaning of tags and lobbying for spatial interventions. I am my city, as a young team of local and international urban professionals brought new working methods and tools to support the next step of this effort for a safer, greener and liveable neighbourhood.

We developed tools that facilitated users’ involvement in the process: not to gather just complains, but rather an analysis of the situation as well as solutions. Motivating the users of urban spaces to be actively involved in the planning and implementation of urban regeneration processes increases the sense of ownership over public spaces, leading to a transformations that can be more easily sustained over time. The outcome is an action and place management plan involving various stakeholders. But the impact is aimed to be bigger than the outcome: a long-term process of creating social bonds, identifying the potential of the neighbourhood, raising awareness for spatial, social, economic aspects of the commons.

The analysis themes in the tools were: space & place, mobility, society, environment, health & wellbeing. More aspects were added by the participants themselves. The process started with the young generation, the students of the local artistic high school who guided us through the neighbourhood and drew maps with their own perceptions, emotions, memories of the area. The second step was open meetings to gather input from the users of the locations through our tools. The outcomes were discussed with the public and the local government in a final event focused on the implementation and mainstreaming of the actions.

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Sustainable Cities Conference: Learning and networking for the cities of tomorrow Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands | 12 & 13 July 2016