Skip to main content

Restoring the peri-urban habitat

I. SUMMARY INFORMATION
Project
304371
Status
Submitted
Award category
Reconnecting with nature
You want to submit
NEW EUROPEAN BAUHAUS RISING STARS: concepts or ideas submitted by young talents (aged 30 or less)
Project title
Restoring the peri-urban habitat
Full concept/idea title
Designing nature, culture and social values, exploring a new aesthetic of the fringe
Description

The project rethinks part of the southern fringe of Milan, a polluted industrial area between the city and the countryside. We promote a strategy for a resilient landscape connecting productive activities with nature and social functions through circular and nature-based actions toward a more livable environment.

Hence, great attention was given to the natural capital, boosting biodiversity by integrating former industrial artefacts with ecological corridors between local habitats.

What is the geographical scope of your concept/idea?
Local
Milano
Lombardia
Does your concept/idea address mainly urban or rural issues?
It addresses urban-rural linkages
Does your concept/idea refer to a physical transformation of the built environment or other types of transformations?
It refers to a physical transformation of the built environment ('hard investment')
Has your concept/idea benefited from EU programmes and/or funds?
No
Has your concept/idea won an EU prize?
No
How did you hear about the New European Bauhaus Prizes ?
Word of mouth (colleagues, friends …)
On whose behalf are you submitting the application?
As an individual in partnership with other persons
II. DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT
Please provide a summary of your concept/ idea

The project area runs for 1.5 km and is located on a polluted industrial settlement, between a dense social housing context and the open countryside. This area constitutes part of the southern fringe of Milan and, with other urban fringes, is an important site that could be open to regeneration processes in the coming years.

Here, it is promoted a strategy to create a resilient landscape to enhance the green leftovers and produce a renewed relation between nature, industries, and citizens. This scope foresees a new aesthetic of the peri-urban manufacturing territory, making closer the relationship with local communities and restoring the area's natural capital.

The first action is the identification of design areas, working in the possible relation between active factories, in the form of industrial heritage adaptation, dismissed spaces, to be reused, and the necessity to boost the ecological potential of the site, providing ecological corridors between the case study area and the countryside. In this sense, the project suggests a strategy for ecological regeneration, using natural elements as a design tool. Indeed, an abacus of trees and flowers (pollinator bands) represents a nature-based solution set to reclaim the polluted soils and facilitate the faunistic repopulation, thus highlighting the ecological role that the project could envision. The architectural action, in this terms, is focused on the shaping of open green spaces, selecting specific areas to implement actions of forestation, assembling small artefacts that could reuse industrial structures, and implementing ecological elements such as the disposal of a dovecote tower. Together with this action on the spatial feature of the site, the project develops a transversal action where social inclusion and engagement are at the centre of the transformation, with the idea that a process of restoration of the territory could happen only through active involvement of local communities.

Please indicate the main themes of your concept/idea with 5 key words
urban fringe regeneration
nature based solutions
industrial heritage adaptation
biodiversity safeguard
community development
Please give information about the key objectives of your concept/idea in terms of environmental sustainability (including circularity) and how these would be met.
Please highlight how the concept/idea can be exemplary in this context

The current polluted industrial area, set at the southern margin of Milan, requires a reflection on the design action and a vision of the future for this area. The necessity of dismantling some of these industries set up the urgency of imagining some key objectives that could highlight the sustainable transition of the territory. Indeed, some of these industries are abusive and partially built with polluting materials. The project develops a strategy in which the enhancement of green spaces, the reuse of some structures, and the implementation of social services could conceive methodology for regenerating urban fringes considering the sustainability both in its material and immaterial factors.

Therefore, the project wanted to investigate how the usage of Nature-based solutions could impact the reclamation of a polluted territory and increase the urban biodiversity. This process is pursued through a keen usage of local species of vegetation, able to restore the natural capital of the area, connecting the periurban industrial landscape with nature, implementing green corridors, and increasing the possible social value of this portion of the territory.

At the same time, a circular approach witnesses the reuse and recycling of former structures, transforming neglected spaces into a new social hub for the community, transforming an industrial area into a more dynamic space for the city.

Furthermore, by applying a thinning strategy of the buildings, the percentage of draining and open spaces is higher than the previous industrial settlement, highlighting the aim to reduce the land occupation.

Thus, the final scope is a territorial repair, which is assumed to systematize the areas with the context, reactivating social dynamics and the metabolic cycles, producing practices of coexistence and care of the peri-urban space by the inhabitants. 

Please give information about the key objectives of your concept/idea in terms of aesthetics and quality of experience beyond functionality and how these would be met.
Please highlight how the concept/idea can be exemplary in this context

The project shows how implementing ecological corridors, and the renaturalization of some former industrial areas could generate a new landscape between the countryside and the city. Designing with nature-based solutions also goes in the direction of increasing the presence of local fauna, such as birdlife and pollinating insects. The regeneration of this territory promotes a renewed biodiversity at the city's margin, where the experience of space relates with a new sensoriality of nature and the productive spaces that remain active in the fringe. In this perspective, the project aims to define a new ecosystem in which the landscape blends natural elements with the built environment. The nature-based solutions, such as the implementation of ecological corridors, seem to outline an emerging aesthetic connected to the "Tiers Paysage" concept, defining a connection between regeneration processes and environmental urgencies. Hence, the role of nature overcome the technical solution, reflecting upon a new landscape between rurality and urbanity, making the user and the environment closer. 

Moreover, buildings contribute to the general aesthetic of the place, using local materials such as bricks, reused wood, etc., and are framed as instruments to reinforce some ecological connection and preserve and regulate the life of the new landscape itself, as exemplified by the placement of a dovecote tower. 

Finally, the regenerated landscape is connected with the bucolic aesthetic, currently fragmented and polluted by the abusive industries built in the second half of the XX century. In these terms, the project serves as a pioneering prototype for a new aesthetic possibility of the periphery, where productive plants, fragmented fields, and historic farms could merge, giving a new image of the sustainable city, revealing a new coexistence between human and nature.

Please give information about the key objectives of your concept/idea in terms of inclusion (equal opportunities, public participation, citizen engagement, co-design, universal design, accessibility, affordability, etc.) and how these would be met.
Please highlight how the concept/idea can be exemplary in this context

Similarly to other peripheries, the project area is subject to social and economic depression. Because of this reason, the regeneration project aims not only to reclaim soils but also to implement new spaces to attract people and foster social inclusion.  

To do so, we propose implementing social activities connected with nature, so realizing urban gardens connected with the close Cascina Nocetum. This local rural community works to give equal opportunities to migrants and fragile people and integrate them into society. Thus, inclusiveness is framed as a design action among people and spaces to have cultural and social needs at the core of the project.

Moreover, to combine socio-ecological actions in active approaches with local communities, the project proposed the organization of self-construction workshops, where the recycling of materials could serve as a possibility of social engagement for co-creation processes. The idea of having this relation between self-construction workshops and ecology goes in the direction of more public engagement in the territory's regeneration process and for a more gender-sensitive approach to the transformation. This is also achieved thanks to the possible relation with local organizations that could participate in these workshops.

These participation and citizen engagement processes are thought to be a fundamental part of the regeneration. Indeed, only through active involvement of people could there be an effective act of social care of the site, reducing the current degradation and restoring a sense of identity. 

Please explain how these three dimensions would be combined in your concept/idea.
Please highlight how this approach can be exemplary

The project is based on the idea that ecological values and sustainability can be achieved only taking into simultaneous consideration: the effectiveness of the solutions applied, so the technical aspects; the aesthetic of the intervention, so questioning the impact that sustainable strategies could have on projects; the social involvement, as a crucial element to generate an active and long-lasting sustainable project grounded in the community.

Because of this relation, the whole project should be read through this triple-lens. The implementation of nature, useful to create ecological corridors, and enhance the biodiversity of the urban fringe, is also an essential element that could transform the aesthetic of industrial plants. Nowadays, these present a set of neglected spaces that could be re-design in a perspective of environmental adaptation, working on the open spaces among the fabrics. The application of circular strategies is essential to reduce the consumption of resources mitigating carbon emissions, but it is also a possibility to work with the local communities for activities that imply public participation.

In these terms, people are more than users since they are actively involved in caring for the territory through their active participation in urban gardening, but also thanks to the creation of new places of gathering that could work as spatial planform for workshops.

Moreover, nature-based solutions and circularity are displayed choosing effective technical solutions, but thinking to the specificity of the place, using local vegetal species, and reusing the local materials, to achieve an image of the project that could be rooted in the specificities of the territory.

Please highlight the innovative character of the concept/idea as compared to mainstream practices in the field of the concept/idea.

The intervention is based on the vision that the project could be a tool to regenerate a polluted marginal area. The combination of nature-based solutions, circular economy strategies, and a social-sensitive approach hints alchemy that open to the possibility to repair and sustain the territory, relating to the theme of regeneration as a growing and adaptive instrument, anchoring the project in its specific urban landscape, intimately entangled with the community process among the site.

This synergy helps the project develop a relationship between the productive spaces and a renewed natural value, working on constructing the image of the future city, both in terms of aesthetic and effectiveness of resilient actions. To achieve this aim, the proposed project considers an intermediate scale between the city and the single architecture to act on the local metabolism, allowing interaction with local communities and generating an environmental impact on the southern fringe of Milan. Moreover, the design proposal applies Nature-based solutions and circular strategies not as technical solutions instead as a systemic approach to increase local biodiversity and reinforce the ecosystem of the peri-urban Milanese area between rural and urban spaces, and reduce the usage of resources.

To conclude, the project could be seen as an operative design prototype, working as a synthesis of contemporary ecological values, exploring possibilities of renewing aesthetics for peri-urban projects. This is achieved through a design-driven approach, exemplifying a methodology that could be applied in similar urban fragile contexts.

Please detail the general plans that you have for the further development, promotion and/or implementation of your concept/idea.

 If this project should be awarded, the further step is to begin promoting and communicating the project through discussion tables with local associations, the community, and city administrations to include this project within a broader discourse on the regeneration of marginal urban areas.

In the first phase, we plan to start a discussion with the local association “Terzo paesaggio”, “Made in Corvetto”, and “La Città Intorno”, which are active on the territory and already have a strong relationship with the inhabitants.

Through this relationship, efforts will be made to promote bottom-up initiatives that launch the regenerative process that the project puts in place. At the same time, we will establish a dialogue with the management body of the southern agricultural park, a large basin for local biodiversity, to insert and implement in successive phases the ecological corridors to protect flora and fauna.

At the same time, the project could be discussed within the regeneration actions nature-based driven, such as “Riforestami”, which aims to green the city of Milan.

Moreover, the dismantling of the buildings, the subsequent recovery of materials and structures and the new constructions could be part of the proposal to the municipality concerning the need for a new implementation plan for the area towards the Milan-Cortina 2026 Olympic Games. 

Finally, the project will be part of some scientific articles on the theme of nature-based solutions, social engagement and circular design approaches to renew fragile areas, promoting a methodology that could be transferable also to similar contexts around Europe.

Imagine that your idea/concept is awarded in the New European Bauhaus Prizes 2022. What kind of initiatives would you take throughout the following year (June 2022- June 2023)

If this project should be awarded, the further step is to begin promoting and communicating the project through discussion tables with local associations, the community, and city administrations to include this project within a broader discourse on the regeneration of marginal urban areas.

In the first phase, we plan to start a discussion with the local association “Terzo paesaggio”, “Made in Corvetto”, and “La Città Intorno”, which are active on the territory and already have a strong relationship with the inhabitants.

Through this relationship, efforts will be made to promote bottom-up initiatives that launch the regenerative process that the project puts in place. At the same time, we will establish a dialogue with the management body of the southern agricultural park, a large basin for local biodiversity, to insert and implement in successive phases the ecological corridors to protect flora and fauna.

At the same time, the project could be discussed within the regeneration actions nature-based driven, such as “Riforestami”, which aims to green the city of Milan.

Moreover, the dismantling of the buildings, the subsequent recovery of materials and structures and the new constructions could be part of the proposal to the municipality concerning the need for a new implementation plan for the area towards the Milan-Cortina 2026 Olympic Games. 

Finally, the project will be part of some scientific articles on the theme of nature-based solutions, social engagement and circular design approaches to renew fragile areas, promoting a methodology that could be transferable also to similar contexts around Europe.

III. UPLOAD PICTURES
IV. VALIDATION
By ticking this box, you declare that you are not in in one or more of the exclusion situations foreseen under Article 136 of the Financial Regulation.
Yes
By ticking this box, you declare that all the information provided in this form is factually correct, that you assume sole liability in the event of a claim relating to the activities carried out in the framework of the contest, that the proposed concept/idea has not been proposed for the New European Bauhaus Prizes 2022 in any other category or strand and that it has not been subject to any type of investigation, which could lead to a financial correction because of irregularities or fraud.
Yes
By submitting your application, you guarantee that you are the author or have the rights to proceed with the application and to authorise the use of the project, concept, idea, and that you have obtained any necessary consents, licenses or assignments from third parties and included copyright notices when necessary.
Yes
By submitting your application, you understand that all the applications that meet the eligibility requirements will be shared for the purposes of the selection processes, and notably published on the secured platform https://prizes.new-european-bauhaus.eu/ and for the purposes of the promotion of these on the New European Bauhaus website and/or other European Commission communication channels. In this sense, the applications would be widely available. Applicants should ensure that they present their ideas, concepts, projects, in such a way that they could be shared without giving rise to intellectual property related concerns. If your submission is selected as one of the finalists, it will additionally be shared for the purpose of the public vote that will take place. The European Union is granted a licence to use and share your application with the general public and the official external experts for the purposes of the selection process, including the voting. The European Union has the right to use the images and visual materials and the description provided in the application for communication purposes related to the contest and beyond. Rights granted comprise the right to store, reproduce, display, publish and communicate or distribute copies in electronic or digital format, including, but not only, through the internet. Unless you have disclosed your name, the European Commission has no obligation to share your name when using or disseminating your contribution to the public. The European Union cannot be held responsible in case any submitted idea, project, concept is found to infringe third parties rights. The European Union shall be neither responsible for the use that third parties may do of the applications or related content.
Yes

Attention

In order to submit your project, please make sure you have filled in all the mandatory fields marked with *, in both the “Basic information” and “Description of the project” tabs.

Attention

The country you have selected is not a Member State of the EU.

Please select the country your project was either implemented in the EU for strand A in or is being developed or intended to be implemented in the EU for strand B.