New requests of regeneration for tertiary-office districts: what kind of evolution is possible? From a European perspective to the case of the Milan Metropolitan area, Italy

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Abstract Summary
Inside the framework proposed by the Track, this contribution intends to focus on the topic of regeneration and retrofitting of tertiary-office areas and buildings. In many European contexts, in fact, the condition of under-utilized (or even dismissed) offices and directional districts is a significant reality: see for example the cases of Amsterdam Amstel in The Netherland, the Part Dieu district in Lion, France, but also many other Europeans case and reflections (Agence Francois Leclercq 2015, Bergevoet T., van Tuijl M. 2016, Fernández G.A. 2018). These interventions can be related to previous periods of economic growth and real-estate developments, or to important projects at regional and national levels that have not maintained over the years a high level of attractiveness for tertiary, institutional or scientific functions. Another aspect to be considered is the distance from the core of the agglomeration, being an important factor that influences the features of the district, its economic value and trajectory, the settled activities. In addition, many projects of regeneration of tertiary districts have been settled only in relation to the condition of vacancy: there are also growing demands of environmental and energetic quality, better public spaces and sustainable mobility, the need to articulate a wider range of practices and innovative workplaces. More recently, also considering the effects of Covid-19 pandemic and its following consequences, tertiary districts and workplaces will be affected by many changes and new requests. Some of them will not be intensely used anymore, workers and company (if possible) will avoid long-trip commuting in favour of smart-working, new demands and requests of modification will arise. In previous research phases, different projects of the European office district’s regeneration have been analysed (Fini 2019, Armondi, Fini 2020), putting in evidence both policies and planning instruments, and urban design devices and tools. Defining a further step on this line of research, this contribution wants to focus now on the Metropolitan area of Milan, the strongest city in Italy for various tertiary and economic activities (many related for instance to the fashion industry, news and editorial activities, publicity and design. What kind of vacant offices spaces is it possible to identify in this metropolitan area and how to “typify” them (i.e. scattered and punctual situations or complex mono-functional districts)? What planning tools and actions are defined by municipal and metropolitan institutions or even by the private sector? What suggestions can be traced from the previously analysed European cases – in addition to the institutional or academic debate - for this specific context? The paper, so, wants to define a “constructive” link between the general framework, cases already analysed, and the context of Milan, its current condition and arising questions of retrofitting office buildings and districts. References: Armondi S., Fini G. (2020), “The Changing Spatialities of Employment. Geographies of Industry and Services”, in: Leal Filho W., Azul A., Brandli L., et al. (eds.), Encyclopedia of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Sustainable Cities and Communities, Springer Nature Switzerland. Agence Francois Leclercq (2015), “La Défense. Vers un Quartier d’Affaires a haut niveau de services”, Urbanisme, no. 54, pp.58-63. Bergevoet T., van Tuijl M., (2016), The Flexible City: Sustainable Solutions for a Europe in Transition. Rotterdam: NAI Publishers. Fernández G.A. (2018), “New Productive Uses Areas. Central Business Districts (CBD), Business Parks, Technology Parks and Corporate Cities”, in Medina C.D., Monclús J. (eds.), Urban Visions. From Planning Culture to Landscape Urbanism, pp.197-206, Springer International Publishing, Cham. G. Fini (2019), “Lione Part-Dieu e Amsterdam Amstel: approcci e dispositivi di rigenerazione di due aree terziarie internazionali”, Territorio, n. 90, pp. 120-130.
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2: Ensuring the Economic Diversity and Resilience
Assistant Professor
POLITECNICO DI MILANO, DAStU Department of Architecture and Urban Planning
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