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Posts tagged ‘Milan’

The new spatial order of collective housing


Throughout the Twentieth Century, the European social housing complexes have built much of the city’s expansion. They have been the armor and the infrastructure of the suburban city. Nowadays, in many places of Europe, inhabitants are experimenting solutions aimed to radically change the way in which the city is built. Variety and excitement are such that the concept of cohousing, as matrix of many of the experiences, can’t cover the whole range of the community-oriented and self-managed variations. These are the two poles that mark the spread of the new collective housing: on the one hand its shared living, on the other its shared management. The following text tries to highlight some of the features of the new spatial order of collective housing, retracing some of the case studies that have been investigated in this blog. The new collective housing sets a new spatial order within the city. It is disseminated and apparently “spontaneous”, as it was the one celebrated by Colin Ward in the Seventies.

The two maps (above) compare the public housing complexes in Milan (Francesco Infussi, eds, Dal recinto al territorio. Milano, esplorazioni nella città pubblica, Bruno Mondadori, 2011) with the new forms of collective housing in Geneva (

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Sharing the Wonderland: collective living in a little carnies’ village in Milan


At the eastern periphery of Milan, since 50 years a community of carnies has settled in the municipality of Segrate. Working in the leisure park and living nearby in a sort of secluded informally built village. About seventy Italian families, perfectly integrated in the physical and social context they live in. They call the whole caravans’ settlement “the carnies’ city”: from the outside it appears as a gated community. Read more

Chiesa Rossa, Milan. A strong sense of proximity

In Milan, there are more than 50 farms owned by the Municipality. Chiesa Rossa is part of this system of urban farms. A few years ago, some important regeneration policies have added a library, open public spaces, an orchard and vegetable gardens to this monumental complex. Chiesa Rossa is also a social housing neighborhood. The houses were built in the first Sixties. The renovation of Chiesa Rossahas produced social ties and feelings of belonging to the place that are becoming increasingly strong, as the image of the whole city is becoming increasingly less important. The parish is also important. A strong sense of proximity is felt everywhere and it is guaranteed by the presence of a dense and well articulated associative network, by the symbolic strength of the Public protection (the Library, The Ringhiera Theatre), by the authority of the parish. It is here evident the will to affirm a strong right to live together.

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Olinda, Milan. Producing urbanity through a social entreprise

To produce a square through a collective entreprise, ensuring an individual income through collective work. This is one of the metaphors which effectively expresses the philosophy guiding the action of Olinda, a non profit cooperative located within the borders of the former psychiatric hospital in Milan. In 16 years of intensive work, Olinda has developed a whole set of activities and services, redeveloping some of the pavillons of the former asylum. The challenge is to produce urbanity while being located in a highly stigmatized place in the periphery of the city. Moreover, the challenge is to do it through a  business activity which is meanwhile providing jobs for disadvataged people (as the core mission of a social enterprise is). Read more

Dare terra al mondo, di Aurélie Sabatier e Laura Varvello

La tesi di laurea conseguita nell’ambito dell’Alta Scuola Politecnica (Politecnico di Milano e Politecnico di Torino), dal titolo Dare terra al mondo, di Aurélie Sabatier e Laura Varvello (professori Stefano Boeri e Isabella Inti, Politecnico di Milano, Cristina Bianchetti, Politecnico di Torino) ha conseguito il premio del concorso LinariaLa tesi sviluppa il tema dei benefici sociali legati agli orti urbani, periurbani e agricoli, da intendersi come laboratori agricolo – culturali di condivisione in grado di restituire al cibo di qualità il suo valore socializzante. Read more