Milan is one of a handful of cosmopolitan cities thrusting billions of euros into neglected neighbourhoods as part of a modernization plan that will make the city more attractive—and sustainable—than ever. Dubbed CityLife Park, the inspiration for this new concept comes from the landscapes of the Lombardy region, with a design inspired to serve as “a park between the mountains and the plain.” Located in the northeast corner of the city on a former fairground site, this €2 billion residential and business district project will be the design capital’s largest new public space in more than 120 years. Let’s take a look at the project underway and how residents will benefit once it’s completed.-Bruno De Man
Milan’s new green lung
Comprising nearly 170,000 square metres, CityLife Milan will be Milan’s third-largest park (after the Parco Sempione and Giardini Pubblici), as well as the city’s—and Europe’s—largest car-free zone. In an effort to promote sustainable modes of transportation, the park will feature cycling paths and pedestrian walkways, which will link to the five new residential districts designed by celebrated architects like Zaha Hadid and Daniel Libeskind. Apartments will not only provide residents with views of the expansive green space, the buildings themselves will also be environmentally friendly and Class A-certified, ensuring they offer the utmost in energy efficiency. In the heart of the district, meanwhile, the landmark “Tre Torri,” or Three Towers, will serve as the city’s new centrepiece and help redefine Milan’s skyline, in addition to featuring Italy’s tallest skyscraper, the 220-metre Isozaki Tower, designed by Japanese architect Arata Isozaki. Two of the new buildings have already earned the Leed Gold pre-certification rating, adding to the city’s efforts to become more sustainable. While the park will be car-free, cars can still access the site via underground parking, with space for up to 7,000 vehicles. Citizens can also conveniently access the park by subway thanks to the new Metro line 5 stations, which will make CityLife accessible and easy to reach no matter where people are coming from in the city.
Acting as Milan’s “green lung,” CityLife will link to existing parks in the northwestern part of the city, adding 2,000 new trees, temporary gardens and art installations, making the area a natural respite for both travellers and residents looking for a green escape from the grey of urban living. “Our aim was that the park must provide its own calm integrity, with simple, bold landscaped spaces that create their own contexts within the three-dimensional urban environment that surrounds them,” explains Donncha O Shea, a partner at Gustafson Porter + Bowman, the landscape architecture firm working on the project. By linking existing gardens to new green spaces and building energy-efficient towers that double as both office space and residences, CityLife is showing how a neglected corner of town can quickly be reborn and redeveloped into one of the most vibrant areas for citizens to live and work in