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Living with Horses in Milan.

Final Synthesis Design Studio Theme: Living with Animals

san siro



p by

LOTTO city



140 hectares of greener y

Background & Opportunities BACKGROUND The Hippodrome in Milan was founded in 1888, and by the 1920s, it became one of the main prominent areas in the city of Milan. Everyone knew about the Hippodrome, its beautiful horses, the stables and the superb expertise of staff at the Hippodrome. Time passed, people updated their sport preferences: car races and football matches relegated the Hippodrome and its horses to the betting business, hence reducing its importance in the current society. SNAI is a government dealer for gambling that today owns most of the space. Recent laws opened gambling to a wide range of gaming channels, gradually weakening the SNAI’s interests towards the horse-racing sector, consequently towards the Hippodrome itself. The human (around 2000 people), animal (900 thoroughbred horses) and spatial resources (140 hectares of greenery, including unique historical architecture) set in the Hippodrome area are suffering a gradually bleak future towards abandonment and ruin.



 Historical district dedicated to horsemanship and sports.

Around 2000 people

 wide green area inside A the city of Milan.  n underused space due to A lack of proposed alternatives.

 rucial presence of people C with a vast knowledge about horses.  ecrease in work D opportunities due to economic crisis.  vident interest and E participation.


animals  High number of thoroughbred horses. Mainly used for horseracing. High costs of maintenance.

RESEARCH A field research at the Hippodrome and its surrounding areas brought us into contact with different stakeholders – professional jockeys, groomers, furriers, breeders, veterinarians, horse owners, riders, tourists, neighbors, people who are interested in future projects at the Hippodrome, and people that may enjoy the development of these projects. There was a lack of concern from SNAI, and on the contrary, we found that the horse owners and staff had a surprising and keen interest in restoring and conserving the Hippodrome to its former glory days. From conversations with these stakeholders, we realized that they care a lot about the presence of the horses in Milan, and it is not due obvious interests such as horse betting, but because of true passion towards horsemanship: animals and traditions. We believe that this intangible and immeasurable passion is essentially the most precious resource – the driving force behind this design project. There is the need for a radical change to save the unique relationship between the city of Milan and horses, as there are meaningful trends to justify an effort in this sense.

TRENDS The City Escapers are thousands of people awaiting weekends and holidays to get away from the city, go to the countryside, and enjoy natural open spaces. Aside from the city escapers, there are also the Outdoor Seekers – hundreds of people who fancy a run alongside traffic jams, rather than being cooped up in gyms. Another current lifestyle trend is the Slow Food trend, which found a good ground where to root and evolve into a fitting new Slow Life trend. This trend conveys values related to all aspects of well-being. In relation to the above-mentioned trend, there has been a remarkable increase in requests for horse riding holidays, including amateurs and first-timers. Last but not least, therapeutic horse riding, introduced recently to aid in psychotherapy and physiotherapy, is also becoming popular to improve the well-being of healthy individuals with minor issues. Trends associated with equestrian activities in the city of Milan are at odds. People who used to ride are leaving equestrian centers and the number of new subscriptions is decreasing. This is due to the notion that equestrian sports are only for the elites – exclusive, expensive and time-consuming. And in this day and age, those characteristics are devastating the existing Milanese equestrian centers. This project we, as designers, are proposing is the amalgamation of current lifestyle trends and a unique system of resources, striving to make the joy of the interaction with horses available to everyone.

Outdoor Seekers

City Escapers

Identifying the Weaknesses initial concept and business model

KP Scientists Stables Hospitals Equestrian center Cascinas SNAI



Animal care Culture and leisure Activities Research activities Structural maintenance

Self-ser vice Personal assistance

CS Segmented market Citizens Neighbors Horse lovers

Value Proposition Open the hippodrome area to the city

KR Horses Knowledge Location

CH Par tners Bike MI Ippodrome Tourist touchpoints



Staf f Animal care New structures Structural maintenance

Usage fee Space rental Subscriptions Income from competitions

WEAKNESS IN Initial CONCEPT The weakness of our first business model was mainly the value proposition, which was too vague and ambiguous. In hopes of including all possible partners and users in the system of the new Hippodrome area, we neglected to define the customer segment in more detail. As a result, the identity of the partners overwhelmed the identity of the project, and therefore, struggled to prioritize some of the key elements of our project. The ambiguity of the value proposition led to the contradictory presence of both children and gamblers in the area as customer segments, and a confused brand image.

KP Scientists Stables Hospitals Equestrian center Cascinas SNAI

CS Value Proposition

Segmented market Citizens Neighbors Horse lovers

Open the hippodrome area to the city Problem: An ambiguous value proposition weakened the prioritization of the elements in the system.


NEW AND IMPROVED VALUE PROPOSITION The improvement of the business model started with a huge attempt on the analysis and definition of our main customer segment. We wanted to make Hippodrome available to the city, create an immediate and easy accessibility to the horses for the citizens. Initially, we felt that it was essential to keep horse enthusiasts and professionals in the key user segment, given the unique resources we were working with. This consideration probably became our main obstacle in creating a better system for our value proposition. Horse professionals were already located at the Hippodrome while horse enthusiasts registered at equestrian centers are decreasing in numbers. Once we have identified the cause of the dissatisfaction for our initial proposition, we understood a better business strategy for Equicentro is to, neither focus on professionals nor on horse enthusiasts, but on users who regard horses inaccessible as city animals, despite having an interest in them and in equestrian activities. From the above analysis, we derived our new and improved value proposition:

To make interaction with horses available to all, and eliminate the perception that equestrian activities are too risky, expensive, demanding or difficult. And a business model that is better defined, with elements that can be easily prioritized.


KA Animal care Culture and leisure Activities Research activities Structural maintenance

CR Self-ser vice Personal assistance

Segmented market Amateurs First-timers Horse enthusiasts

Value Proposition

KP Stables Equestrian centre

KR Horses Knowledge Location

CS Staf f Animal care New structures Structural maintenance


Make interaction with horses available to all, and eliminate the perception that equestrian activities are too risky, expensive, demanding or difficult.

CH Par tners Ippodrome Website


Usage fee Subscription fees

The New and Improved Project EQUICENTRO

a horse for all,and all for the horse. Equicentro is a business, and in parallel, a social investment that aims to re-establish the Hippodrome area, improve the quality of life in Milan, renew and bring forward the close relationship between humans and horses, that started centuries ago, into the future.

Core proposition To make interaction with horses available to all, and eliminate the perception that equestrian activities are too risky, expensive, demanding or difficult.

Peripheral propositions Provide a low-cost introduction to both traditional and unconventional equestrian practices.  reate possible equestrian interests by allowing people to come into close contact with horses C through basic daily activities. F acilitate user connection to the center and to the other users with a multifunctional platform, both physical and virtual.  ncourage bottom-up initiatives through organization of and participation in personalized E activities with horses.



Not just for the elites

Value Proposition Affordable

Engaging, surprising, unconventional activities

easy and immediate initial contact with horses

M a ke i n t e r a c t i o n w i t h h o r s e s a v a il a b l e t o a l l, a n d e li m i n a t e t h e p e r c e p t i o n that equestrian activities are t o o r is k y, e x p e n si v e, d e m a n d i n g o r d if f i c u l t.

Increase interest in horses



How Equicentro Works at Level One LEVEL ONE – EQUICENTRO WELCOMES YOU Equicentro is a vast and open horse park in the city of Milan. You can come during the opening hours and explore the area for free. You will be also invited to enjoy the “Basics of Life”, a set of complimentary activities designed to introduce the unique experience of interacting with horses to everybody, especially to those who perceive equestrian activities are too risky, expensive, demanding or difficult. We welcome Milanese citizens, as well as tourists and visitors, to come and discover an unexpected and extraordinary side of the city.

THE BASICS OF LIFE The core set of the activities at Equicentro, the Basics of Life, is complimentary to all, aiming to introduce horses to people who have no or little knowledge and interaction with the horses. The offer is divided into four categories of activities: eat, work, rest and play. Each category of activities will allow different levels of engagement and proximity with the animals. Every activity is designed to help people to get closer to the horses emotionally, psychologically and/or physically, but more importantly, increase the people’s willingness to have a closer relationship with the animals. The educational element of each activity is always combined with an entertaining proposal so that visitors can deepen their equestrian knowledge in a light-hearted atmosphere. The Basics of Life activities are located in various parts of the park in order to allow visitors to explore and enjoy all areas of the center, and have a feel of the happenings at Equicentro. Equicentro’s staff is more than happy to support the visitors in making the most out of the “basic” activities, and to ensure that you will feel at home at the center, as much as the horses do.

Visitor Journey at Level One Visitor hears about Equicentro through word of mouth.

Upon reaching the infopoint at the Equicentro entrance, he obtains info on the Basics of Life.

He then goes to pick up the necessary elements for the chosen activity.

Proceeding excitedly to the activity location, he spends some time getting to know the horses through the activity.

After he completed the free activity, he returns the elements to the staff.

The visitor has the option to go back to any infopoint to pick another free activity to complete.


And goes on his way to explore the vast area of the park further with his friend.

the basics of life - activities menu

Co.groom It

Horse Nursery

Breed Cognition

Lunch For Two

What Remains

Cav Lab

Location of Basics of Life Activities





Feeding the horses during Lunch for Two. Lunch for Two is one of the special activities offered free-of-charge by Equicentro, to enhance interaction with horses and the knowledge about these beautiful animals. Lunch for Two invites visitors to feed the horses in a way that turns to be an entertaining, educational and functional experience. You will be responsible for the meal of a horse. Find a hungry horse and feed it, while doing so, you will discover many things about horses, and bear in mind… what they eat could be the same food that you eat!

Getting equipped for Lunch for Two.

Picking up some hay for the horse.

Another of the horse’s favorite.

Looks like I can eat what they eat!

Ready for lunch with the “partner”!

Excited to see and feed my horse!

The horse is as excited as I am!

Ready for lunch with the “partner”!



Taking the remains from the stables to the lab. What Remains is one of the activities offered at Cav Lab, the main workshop at Equicentro. The Basics of Life, the set of free activities that promote easy and accessible contact with horses, and which does not include the obvious riding, proudly presents What Remains, an activity that will take you to the stables, collect the main ingredient of your experiment: horse manure. Enter the Lab and find out how to turn the “remains” into very special notebooks!

How Equicentro Works at Level Two LEVEL two - EQUICENTRO TAKES YOU FURTHER For those who desire spend time with horses on a regular basis, Equicentro is the right place. Aside traditional equestrian sports and specialties, you will find an extensive range of innovative sports, activities and games; all aiming to create a deeper level of engagement with those extraordinary animals. Equicentro presents the chance of developing your relationship with horses in active, even in extreme ways (sports area), as well as gentle and meditative ways (wellness area). Visitors are given the options of paying an activity fee for a one-time tryout, or for those who are able and willing, can sign up for a monthly or annual membership subscription.

Types of Subsciption


Monthly Membership

Annual Membership

Allows the user to try out the different paid activities without a subscription commitment.

With an affordable monthly premium that includes a short-term insurance, the member is able to participate in any Level Two activities.

Adhering to the value proposition of making Equicentro available to all, an annual membership allows the user to have substantial savings on the membership fees while deepening interactions with the horses at Equicentro.

Visitor Journey at Level Two Visitor hears about Level Two while exploring the park.

He goes to the infopoint to obtain more information about Level Two membership options.

After picking a suitable membership, he registers and pays for the subscription.

When he feels that he is good enough at the activities, he volunteered his assistance to other members and visitors.


In about 10 days, he receives his Equicentro membership card in his mail. Alternatively, he could have picked it up at the center office.

As a regular member of Equicentro, he is able to network with other members/visitors to share his experiences.

All excited to start his paid activities, he goes to the Equicentro website to create his profile and personalized calendar of activities.

Being a horse enthusiast, he plans to visit Equicentro on a regular basis and challenge himself to be an expert on certain activities.

LEVEL TWO - the WELLNESS AREA Hopping onto the bandwagon of an increasingly popular lifestyle trend, Equicentro specializes in a series of activities fusing wellness and interaction with horses. The well-known and successful range of horse therapies, born to help in the treatment of pathologies, is in fact open to everyone at Equicentro, with more moderate variations of the therapy methods. The sole presence of horses can regulate the human heartbeat and the human brain activity, and at Equicentro, there are the best experts in this field to convey these basic discoveries in activities that will maximize the positive effects. The wellness area is targeted at your holistic well being, with activities such as Horse Rhythms and Therapeutic Riding for your mind and soul, and Saddle Gym and Assisted Physiotherapy for your body.

Wellness Activities Menu

Cav Yoga

Therapeutic Riding

Assisted Physiotherapy

Body and Soul 1:1

Saddle Gym

Horse Rhythms

Location of Wellness Activities




LEVEL TWO - the SPORTS AREA Horses have always been related to open-air sport activities. Equicentro keeps this tradition by providing an avant-garde place and facilities for people interested in equestrian sports. Equicentro hosts a whole variety of traditional equestrian sports for the ones who are looking for the best staff and best rinks. For the more adventurous, Equicentro also offers innovative approaches to horse activities, such as technicallyand virtually-enhanced trainings, along with exclusive sports, including Virtual Archery or Stand Battle, a proper form of riding merged with sumo wrestling, conceived to challenge the best riders and to improve the chemistry between man and his horse.

Sports Activities Menu

Safe Steps

Adrenaline Speed

Riding Orienteering

Virtual Archery

Stand Battle

Horse Jumping

Western Riding

Location of Sports Activities





sample wellness activity – BODY AND SOUL 1:1

Experiencing the power of instinctive trust.

Body and Soul 1:1 is a new 2012 activity for the Wellness fanatic at Equicentro. This innovative and gentle derivative of horse therapies is proven to have extraordinary effects on stress and psychological insecurities. In a 2-hour session, you will learn to understand horses in order to choose your “partner” for the day. You will then go for a walk with your chosen horse, letting it guide you, experiencing the power of instinctive trust. A break is essential when the horse slows down, giving you the opportunity to enjoy the tranquil park of Equicentro before returning to the stables. To end your session, you will be led to take a relaxing nap at the calm and therapeutic hay quarter.

sample SPORTS activity – VIRTUAL ARCHERY

Challenge your skills on horseback.

Virtual Archery is a must and is exclusive to the Sports area of Equicentro. With the support of technological tools, we offer a wide and flexible range of shooting activities that will challenge your skills in archery while riding on the back of a horse. Challenge your friends for fun, or for serious horseback archers, follow our special training program that aims to improve your relationship with the horses while hitting the target. Are you up for hitting the mark?

Touchpoints of Equicentro getting in touch with equicentro Equicentro supports, extensively, one-to-one relationships between staff and guests. Each activity in the park is explained by touchpoints. One welcome centre is placed at each of the three entrances: a small and simple structure to provide information; shelter for rainy days, rest and acts as a reference point in the park. Infopoints also host staff that is in close proximity to attraction clusters. Boards show the plan of the place and the timetable of Equicentro life. A membership card will facilitate the access to premium activities. Last but not least, Equicentro takes care of the contemporary lifestyle, habits and tools offering the chance of a virtual visit to Equicentro on its website.

Membership Card

Information Boards


Getting In Touch Through The Equicentro Website


Welcome Center


Members can sign in to get their personal profiles. Your personal page will keep note of your favorite horse, your favorite activities, and your agenda. It is always updated with the center’s monthly agenda. It also gives you the chance to subscribe for activities from home and even to propose them, inviting your friends or opening to new ones. If you like to remember your experiences with pictures and to share them, the personal page offers you a service of photo sharing, transforming your time at Equicentro into both plans and memories.

How Equicentro Works Overall system map for equicentro Our business model is based on a “freemium� logic. Using key partners like the equestrian centers and stables, Equicentro can utilize the large number of horses, knowledge and professional staff. The resources and the immense space are used to create different activities that will get the appreciation of the visitors. The majority of the visitors are likely be occasional visitors but there are some others who wish to try premium activities, or to become members of Equicentro, and they will substantially contribute to finance the whole system. Members who have regular participation in the activities may upgrade their level till eventually, becoming staff members. In fact, the system aims to create not just entertainment and education, but also to have a role in connecting people who loves horses and, last but not least, in changing the perception that equestrian sports are inaccessible and unaffordable sports. The future, possible developments of the system map consider the role of secondary partners such as hospitals (for therapeutic riding at clinic level) and veterinary clinics (for academic activities) that may be developed and offered to Equicentro’s guests, with their expertise.

System Map for Equicentro secondar y

veterinar y clinic and Niguarda hospital


knowle dge equestrian centers horses

staff occasional temporar y members visitors


annual members

visit & activities for free

paying activities


regular par ticipation


upgrade level

material money resources informations


becoming staf f member

Why Equicentro Works in summary The slogan of Equicentro is “A horse for all, and all for the horse.” In other words, recalling its value proposition, we aim to “make interaction with horses available to all, and eliminate the perception that equestrian activities are too risky, expensive, demanding or difficult”. With Equicentro and its proposed activities, we created a space that welcomes everyone, offering them an instantaneous possibility to see and experience horses in Milan. Provoking the closeness to horses and nature through a first level and range of activities, we aim to get people to be members of Equicentro, hoping that they will engage with horses at a deeper level and on a regular basis, time-wise. What we have designed is not just a place to spend a Sunday, but also a place to root and grow the basics for a proper living with animals in Milan. Therefore, the combination of the two different levels of experience (approaching the horses for free and engaging with them as Equicentro members) ascertains to be a focused strategy. We offer the chance to experience horses to all those who are interested or just curious, and we support the developments of their engagement, by considering beginners as our main target, and as secondary and complementary target, the practitioners, who are there and will be “for the horse”.

A horse for all,and all for the horse.

equicentro is... a collaborative project by a bunch of horse-loving designers:

Irene Caputo – Camilla Brunelli Elisa Bacchetti – JoAnne Sim Elisa Legramandi – Alberto Casati

Equicentro_Open Hippodrome  

Product Service System Design _ Politecnico di Milano_ Final Syntesis Design Studio