Milan has been at the forefront of urban regeneration in Europe in the last few years. The city has been transformed, but there is a lot more to come: there is a pipeline of plans worth €13 billion on a gross area of 4.3 million sq m. It seems fitting therefore that it is in Milan that the Sustainable Urban Regeneration Lab has just been launched by Bocconi University.
SUR Lab, supported by Hines, Intesa Sanpaolo, MilanoSesto and Prelios, aims to study and promote the development of sustainable urban regeneration and to analyse its economic impact in a global context.
“By sustainable urban regeneration we mean interventions that do not involve land consumption, ensure high standards of energy efficiency, contribute to circularity and utilise nature-based solutions,” said Edoardo Croci, director, SUR Lab. “This approach makes it possible to generate individual and social value and to increase not only infrastructural capital, but also human, social and environmental capital.”
The new structure led by Croci gathers the interdisciplinary skills of economists, urban planners and geographers and encompasses research, teaching and dissemination. The first year of the five-year research programme will be devoted to new work and life models after the pandemic and the trend towards more green spaces and more collaboration between the public and private sectors.
A new website that will be set up next year, www.surlab.unibocconi.eu , will collect data and material on the best practices of sustainable urban regeneration around the world. Workshops and conferences on the topic will be organised to share insights and bring together experts.
The four partners of SUR Lab are all involved in the sector in different ways. Intesa Sanpaolo, Italy’s largest bank, has been funding sustainable infrastructure and major projects like MilanoSesto.
Sustainable infrastructure and urban regeneration platform
“We must invest in projects aimed at improving the quality of life in our cities and enhancing mobility and we need an investment platform for sustainable infrastructure and urban regeneration,” said Carlo Messina, managing director and CEO, Intesa Sanpaolo.
MilanoSesto is the largest land reclamation in Europe carried out entirely by private companies, said Giuseppe Bonomi, CEO of MilanoSesto Spa, the property owner. The 1.5 million sq m area where the Falck steelworks used to be is being transformed into a sustainable and inclusive urban hub with more than 50,000 residents.
Hines, the international real estate firm that has established a strong presence in Italy, is leading the way with large-scale development projects like MilanoSesto and the former San Siro Trotto area in Milan. “We want to encourage the sharing of expertise and knowledge on urban regeneration processes, which are increasingly strategic for a sustainable future,” said Mario Abbadessa, senior managing director & country head Italy.
Fabrizio Palenzona, president of Prelios Group, the real estate-focused asset manager, said that SUR Lab will become a laboratory of cutting-edge ideas and that it will be stimulating to “dialogue with the new generations of Bocconi students and to share their vision, perspectives and ideas, both as users and as future creators of the cities of tomorrow”.