Reinventing Cities. A new life for the Milano Greco station

The winning project is declared as being characterised by sustainability, resilience and urban quality 

Milan, 22 May 2019

A new sustainable and inclusive neighbourhood with greenery and rental properties in the Milan Greco railway station

These are the characteristics of the winning project of "Reinventing Cities", the international tender launched in 2017 by the Municipality of Milan together with C40 to take sites that are unused or that have fallen into a state of disrepair to then transform them into spaces for environmental and urban regeneration. Selected by a jury composed of international experts according to a reward mechanism based primarily on quality and secondly on the economic offering, it will be presented this afternoon in Oslo, in the presence of a representative of the municipal administration, together with competition winners from Chicago, Madrid, Oslo, Paris and Reykjavik.

Aimed at architects, urban planners, designers, developers, entrepreneurs and innovators and launched with the support of Climate KIC, "Reinventing Cities" aims to promote healthy, green, economically-sustainable and resilient urban development in the cities participating in the network. The initiative follows "Reinventer Paris", the 2015 announcement that saw the revitalisation of 22 Parisian areas through projects of high environmental and urban quality.

To follow is the description of the winning project for the Milano Greco station, which will be revealed by the team on Sunday, 26 May, starting from 6:30 pm, during a public meeting at the Triennale Milano, promoted by the municipal administration.

Greco Railway Station – L’Innesto

Named "L'Innesto" (or, the graft), it was conceived as a new element capable of creating connections. The winning project (with an economic offer of over 4.8 million euro) for the Greco Railway Station owned by the Italian State Railways, was presented by Investire sgr SpA together with the designers Barreca & La Varra, Arup Italia srl and others. A real new social housing district in Milan and the first in Italy with zero emissions, mostly comprised of rental properties and embellished with lots of greenery, it will develop throughout the station, extending around 73,500 square metres. Of these, net of the railway areas (being approximately 11,000 square metres), 72% (around 45,000 square metres) will be dedicated to greenery, spaces, pedestrian walkways and facilities for public use, in addition to the +60% quota established under the Programme Agreement for the redevelopment of the railway yard. 

With regards to the 24,000-square-metre buildable area, 21,000 square metres will be utilised for social housing and 3,000 square metres for compatible functions (coworking spaces, commercial activities, a sustainable supermarket...). In total, it is expected that the new district will host 400 new social housing units (60% leased and 40% for subsidised sale) and 300 beds for students, for a total of around 1,500 new residents, mainly aged between 24 and 44 years. 

"L'Innesto" will serve to reunite with the surrounding neighbourhoods, creating a quality pedestrian connection between Bicocca, Precotto and the University by connecting to existing and planned railway underpasses on the one hand, and on the other inserting the green corridor that extends from Porta Nuova to the Monza park, before reaching the Parco Agricolo Nord from the historical terrain of Martesana.

The project's three main objectives are: to create the first zero-emissions Social Housing through the use of innovative and sustainable construction technologies, to manage the community spaces in a resilient and coordinated manner thanks to the involvement of various public and private players (A2A, the Polytechnic of Milan, the Cariplo Factory, Delta Ecopolis and others), to create a collaborative and inclusive neighbourhood with shared spaces and an agricultural heart. The objectives will be pursued through a series of planned services and development strategies for the new district, with sustainability and inclusion as the common denominators. The new accommodations shall be largely constructed with renewable or recyclable materials, equipped with heating systems with radiant floor heating panels and solar-power systems. Great attention will be paid to the waste cycle, setting up a separated waste collection system with a weight detector, to make the inhabitants more aware of the quantity of waste they produce, along with the installation in the neighbourhood of two machines for mechanical composting to transform waste in compost for vegetable gardens and fertiliser for the green areas.

Sustainability also means water savings, with the installation of water distributors and the creation of a system for collecting and reusing rainwater, along with favouring soft mobility, improving pedestrian connections and discouraging the use of private vehicles. The main operation for the road network foresees its repositioning by approximately 55 metres further west of Via Breda, which would permit the continuation of the masterplan area and generate a predominantly cycle and pedestrian area. Limited penetration of vehicles within the neighbourhood is also promoted, along with the reduction in the amount of parking included (mainly to be underground), in favour of the provision of a fleet of share vehicles for the neighbourhood. As far as the greenery is concerned, the idea of a natural agricultural park for Greco has been devised: what is currently Via Breda will become the Viale dei Gelsi (literally, the 'Avenue of Mulberries') which, together with the main piazza, will constitute a green corridor extending 6,600 square metres, to which will be added a community garden for residents, new vegetable garden areas, the construction of an orchard and the planting of 640 trees. 

Great value is given to the concepts of community and inclusion, with the birth of a Human Adaptive Zone consisting of spaces and services for all, such as communal kitchens, laboratories, a neighbourhood concierge and a circular economy district. The social management of the housing will ensure a distribution of the types of housing available, including temporary social co-residences for 6-10 people and cluster flats, resulting from the aggregation of small housing units connected by a common space. "L’innesto" will offer up apartments with controlled fees, having lease values ranging from 70 euro/square metre to 110 euro/square metre and sales values of 2,200 euro/square metre, as well as apartments with an average subsidised and worker accommodation rate of 25 euro/square metre.

Finally, the concept of belonging to a community will be reinforced by the creation of a neighbourhood app where residents can access information relating to the services and data pertaining the surrounding environment in real time.