Living streets lab

POC Living Streets Lab

Living streets lab

Terraces in front of bars instead of parking places? Car lanes turned into cycle lanes? Streets closed to traffic and turned into playgrounds? There is a need to rethink public space mainly due to the current physical distancing measures, but also in order to anticipate scenarios of more sustainable and liveable cities…

A call for tactical urbanism

Living Streets Labis a research and didactic project developed by the Polimi DESIS Lab within the framework of “Piazze Aperte” (Open squares). Launched by the Council of Urbanism of Milan’s Municipality, it’s a strategy to experiment slow and safe mobility through the use of temporarily transformed social public spaces, such as existing streets, crossroads and sidewalks. 

After 2 years of successful projects, a call was launched in the fall of 2019 to all citizens, asking for proposals of ‘tactical urbanism’ within the city of Milan.

The Polimi DESIS Lab at the Politecnico University of Milan, together with 50 postgraduate students of the MSc Interior and Spatial Design course, have started a collaboration with the municipality by assisting 10 groups of proponents in order to develop their proposals. A larger group of citizens was engaged, and co-design sessions were carried out in the midst of the Covid-19 lockdown through the use of online tools and interactions. Combining the designers’ skills with the needs and the creativity of local stakeholders has brought disruptive solutions, to be developed over the next months.

“Open streets” distancing measures

“Piazze Aperte” is anticipating a bolder strategy implemented by the municipality to face the post-Covid19 lockdown. At the end of April, a document called “Open Streets” was adopted by the city council to ensure distancing measures were respected within urban travels and moving towards sustainable mobility. Solutions such as parklets, bike paths, sidewalk expansion among others have been adopted. Polimi DESIS Lab has thus started to design solutions to transform existing parking areas into spaces to socialise, and to expand the size of bars and restaurants in order to guarantee adequate and safe space for the people.

  • Project holders : Polimi DESIS Lab. – Politecnico di Milano – Department of Design
  • Designers : Davide Fassi, Anna Meroni, Francesco Vergani, Martina Mazzarello, Ambra Borin 
  • Stakeholders : In collaboration with Comune di Milano Assessorato a Urbanistica, Verde e Agricoltura, Comune di Milano, AMAT – Officina Urbana
  • Photo credits:  Polimi DESIS Lab. – Politecnico di Milano – Department of Design, POC Living Streets Lab