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(Visited 159 times, 1 visits today)

Milan, projects for the future

9 October 2017 Panorama

From the tender for the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products to the opening of the Human Technopole, till the relaunch of the former train stations and the new metro line.

“Milan back in vogue”, reads the title on the Financial Times. “An Italian city, Milan, that’s always in vogue”, echoes the Daily Telegraph. International magazines are realizing what has happened to the city after the “showcase” of Expo 2015: everybody likes Milan, it attracts tourists, it grows at double speed as the other Italian cities, it attracts assets from all over the world, it registers record after record.

And more importantly, the city reinvents itself. After the birth of the new neighbourhoods Porta Nuova and City Life, for the next ten years are expected investments, mostly international, for nearly 20 billion euro to renovate an area of 15 million cubic metres.

From the Duomo, where global brands like Starbucks and Apple are going to open their stores, till the suburbs in which the Municipality is intending to invest over 350 million euro, Milan is becoming more and more polycentric.

The city looks at the future. From the tender for the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products (the Mayor Beppe Sala commented “we have submitted our dossier to Brussels and we have good possibilities”), to the relaunch of the old train stations, to the new hospitals at the Human Technopole, till the sustainable mobility and the M4 metro line. Milan is not stopping and it has an old dream: re-opening Navigli.

The urban transformation

After City Life and Porta Nuova, the urban renovation of Milan is not stopping, with the revitalisation of abandoned areas and the re-qualification of many others. At the beginning of 2018, the international tenders will be launched to transform completely the old train stations Farini, Porta Romana, and Porta Genova, followed by San Cristoforo, Greco, Lambrate, and Rogoredo.

Then the second phase will start, with the urban and architectonical planning, and finally, the research for buyers and industrial and financial partners to develop the entire project which includes the renovation of the 250 thousand Sq m of the seven stations, which Ferrovie Dello Stato, the Municipality of Milan, and the Region of Lombardy have agreed on after a negotiation lasted 12 years.

Green will dominate the project. An actual green infrastructure will cover 65% of the renovated area, the works will start in the next three years. Translated: 675 thousand Sq m will become public green spaces (Farini will accommodate the third biggest park of the city with 300 thousand Sq m and the San Cristoforo area will be converted in an urban oasis), while 375 thousand Sq m will be occupied by buildings and 200 thousand will be used for the Circle line, the semi-circular train line for 100 million euro which will connect the city centre with the towns of the Milan metropolitan area.

Not only green and public transportation, but also work and new houses. In fact, at least 30% of the space will be dedicated to buildings, studios, factories and logistics. The fashion and design district will be extended till Porta Genova, while the station of Porta Romana will host the Prada Foundation and the Bocconi University. Lambrate and Greco will accommodate student houses, whereas in Porta Romana and Farini exclusive and popular houses will co-exist.

All this work to receive a growing population: it’s estimated that by 2025 in Milan there will be at least 100 thousand people more, who hopefully will be able to see some parts of Navigli open. Not all the 370 kilometres as during Leonardo times, but a small portion in some strategic places. This is a dream of the Mayor Beppe Sala and of many people from Milan, but it will be necessary at least 500 million euro.

The new infrastructures

Fourteen minutes. This is how long it will take to get to the centre in San Babila from the Linate Airport. We must wait till 2021 for the opening of the first segment of the new M4 metro line, with its 15 kilometres will connect San Cristoforo, in the west of the city, to the airport passing through the city centre.

With 86 million passengers per year, a train (unmanned) every 90 seconds, 21 stations, the connection with the three other metro lines and five points of interchange with the local train’s network, the blue line will become the spine of the city and it will make of Milan a polycentric city.

So far, the impact on the city has been strong, with tens of building sites that make difficult the already troubled urban viability, but when in full activity, the M4 promises to cut the traffic by 30 million cars per year and to reduce by 2% the air pollution, bringing Milan at the sixth place in Europe in terms of metro line extension.

“The M4 is getting a lot of interest from the international community, even from the committee that in November will appoint the new headquarter for Ema (European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products) which is leaving London”, confirms Fabio Terragni, M4 Spa President, the public-private company dealing with the design, implementation, and management of the works for a value of 2 billion euro. “Besides, thanks to the blue line, new neighbourhoods will be promoted, especially in the Linate area”.

Segrate, which will be connected by high-speed trains, will welcome the arrival of the Australian giant Westfield with the opening of the biggest shopping centre in Europe, while Idroscalo will be turned into a sports district. In San Cristoforo, destined to become a crucial junction point for rail interchange with the metropolitan city, will be built the new hospital for 500 million euro originated from the merger between San Carlo and San Paolo.

Also, the other metro lines will be improved, with the extension of the M5 till Monza and of the M1 till the Baggio area. For this project, the Municipality is raising 1.7 billion euro.

Home to multinationals

Euronext, the European Stock Exchange dedicated to tech companies, arrived in Italy last July. Precisely in Milan, “because we know that tech companies are here”, said Stephane Boujnah, Euronext Ceo, the biggest Pan European market that in the city will look for small and medium-sized companies operating in the life science sector to be listed in its market born from the merger of the Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam Stock Exchanges.

With a capitalisation of 50 billion euro and one billion and a half to invest, Euronext is only one of the 3,600 multinationals, a third of those migrated to Italy, that have chosen Milan for its headquarters. In fact, in Milan, there are 280 thousand people employed by multinationals generating a revenue of almost 170 billion euro. They’re mainly finance, technology, fashion, and food companies to choose (and love) Milan.

After the Korean company Samsung created an actual innovation district in Porta Nuova, the American giant Apple will inaugurate next summer its store in Piazzetta Liberty, which, for its importance, has been included by the company in its “town squares”, spaces open to public with concerts, labs for children, relax areas and workshops for entrepreneurs.

Starbucks too chose Milan to launch its campaign in Italy. The American chain will open at the end of 2018 in the former Poste headquarter in Piazza Cardusio its first “coffee factory”, for a surface of 2,400 Sq m and 350 seats. “A unique project”, said the Ceo Howard Schultz, presenting it, “Milan has born again after the Expo. The opening of the Roastery will be a catalyzer that will show to the world what an incredible place to invest Milan is. For us, instead, will be the beginning of a new adventure”.

The science centre

“We settled here in November of last year and 12 months after we got the authorization for the launch of Human Technopole, the facility will be finally operational. We’ve worked in silence, but we’ve reached this important objective thanks to the teamwork.

Professor Stefano Paleari, President of the Human Technopole Coordinating Committee is very happy with the results. The centre will be focused on the research on the genome with the investment from the State of 1.5 billion euro in the next ten years and it will raise in the ex-Expo area, with 1.1 million Sq m between Milan and Rho. The life science citadel will liaise with the scientific faculties of Università Statale, the new hospital Galeazzi, and several companies and multinationals such as IBM, Novartis, Bayer, and Abb, which will transfer its headquarters in the area attracting 2 billion euro investments.

The Human Technopole will be close to the structure Tree of Life and located in the former Palazzo Italia building plus an additional new building, that, when fully operational, will accommodate 1.500 researchers. “Three weeks ago, the works started for the re-organisation of Palazzo Italia” highlights Paleari, “the first researchers will start by the end of the year and by the end of 2018 they’ll become 400”. Moreover, last July the international tender for the role of General Director ended. “We received 46 applications, half of which from abroad, and at the end of October, the Searching Committee will select a short list of maximum five candidates from which to choose the General Director” continues the President.

In conclusion, the schedule was respected, “thanks to an alignment of planets” as Paleari comments, where Municipality, Region, Government, University, Ministry and Research Authorities have worked together for the launch of the technology and innovation citadel which, according to a study by the European House Ambrosetti, in 2028 will see over 50 thousand people  daily and will generate revenues for 7 billion euro.

American-style university

The ex-Expo area will also accommodate the first Italian campus of a public university, precisely the science faculties of the Università Statale that should be moving from its current place in Città Studi. The project has been approved by the Academic Senate and the Board of Directors. At the core of the plan of the University, there are the research facilities which will serve all the science departments.

In addition to the classrooms, the library, and the cafeteria, the project includes also plenty of green areas, some of them for the research and lectures of the Agricultural Faculty. Furthermore, there will be residences and sports facilities: football, rugby, swimming pool and gyms. Many public spaces to socialise are also included: a big square for events, a hotel for guests, shops and a kindergarten and a primary school for the children of employees and professors.

Much more advanced is the project that Bocconi University is implementing in the area around the former Milk Factory: over 36 thousand Sq m that will be occupied by a ten-storey tower, four buildings, a residence, a sports centre, and a big park. The project is signed by the Japanese studio Sanaa of Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa for an investment of 130 million euro. The works on the tower have already started and they’ll be finished by 2018 with the beginning of the new academic year.

The “shared” city

Milan is also the city where the “sharing mobility”, namely sharing transportation, reaches its peak.

The numbers are clear: car sharing has reached 15 thousand daily rentals, a record in Italy, thanks to companies as Car2go, Enjoy, Shar’ngo, DriveNow, EVai, and GuidaMi/Ubeqoo. Plus, in December will arrive the electric cars for the Refeel companies. It’s also confirmed by the 2017 Report by Sipotra (Italian Association for Transportation Policies) which shows that “Milan is the most advanced city for what concerns shared mobility and for its policies of sustainable mobility”.

Nowadays, according to data of the Municipality of Milan, the shared vehicles on the territory amount to approximately 3 thousand, 27% of which in the old town, and they serve nearly 600 thousand people subscribed to the service.

The trend is in continuous expansion. In the first months of the year, the daily use of shared vehicles has exceeded by 36% the average registered in 2016. Car sharing has become such a habit for people in Milan, that some companies have already started thinking about the vehicles to satisfy a new necessity: a car to drive outside the city.

Nevertheless, the most common shared vehicles in Milan are the two wheels. After Bikemi, the city bike sharing service present across the city with 280 stations, 3,650 standard bicycles and 1,000 electric ones, 60 thousand registered customers and 20 thousand rentals every day, in Milan have also debuted the Chinese Mobike and Ofo, operating with a “grab and drop” system.

While motorbikes haven’t had the expected success and the 150 Piaggio mopeds of Enjoy have been withdrawn at the beginning of the year. But there is always a second chance, and the electric motorbikes of MiMoto will try and, in spring of the next year, it will be the turn of the Yamaha scooters of ZigZag.

The focus on sustainable mobility in Milan has translated also in better cyclable lanes. The goal of the City Council is to bring the current 215 kilometres to 300 with attention to the connections between the centre and the suburbs and the new routes such as from Duomo to Porta Nuova, from Bicocca to Parco Nord, from Lampugnano to Bonola and Qt8.

Arts and culture

Not a simple carousel of events, exhibitions and concerts. Not only a dense calendar of initiatives and openings of new facilities. Rather a program with a clear vision, that is “the integration between arts, addressing to new types of public, and great attention for the children” commented the Councillor for Culture Filippo del Corno. At the end of October will open a theatre dedicated to children and teenagers in the Piazzale Maciachini area, designed by Italo Rota.

In 2018 Palazzo Citterio will open, another step towards Grande Brera, the ideal place where to host the contemporary art exhibitions of the prestigious city gallery. The opening will be the main highlight of a year dedicated to the Italian 20th-century art, with exhibitions (as well as concerts and literary happenings) in various places, involving the institutions of the city according to the model Milan experimented in 2015 with “Expo in the city”.

In the Expo area indeed, the Expo Open Theatre will take place next year, consisting of an area for live shows for an audience of 15 thousand people. In conclusion, there will be plenty of space for arts and culture. Even if the magic words are still “fashion” and “design”, with their dedicated weeks, the city is preparing to add four new pillars.

In fact, in 2018 every season will have its own creativity week related to a specific language: “art week” for spring, “photo week” for summer, a week for cinema in autumn, and one for music in winter. That is not all: the design week in June will double with seven additional days in autumn, the fashion week will occupy even more public spaces throughout the city, and in Corso Venezia will open a big museum on the Etruscan culture (thanks to the Rovati family).

In conclusion, the goal for 2018 is to recover a typical quality of Milan: the capacity to prepare the ground where excellent creative thinking can flourish in all its expressions.


Source: Panorama (by Mikol Belluzzi)

Translator: Cristina Ambrosi

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