- Urban acupuncture, a proposal for the renewal of Milan's urban ring road    click here to open paper content830 kb
by    Marzi, Maurizio & Ancona, Nicoletta | info@terraA.it   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
The regeneration of the outer ring road of Milan allows a better integration between two parts of the city, which originate from different periods, that actually communicate with difficulty but mostly not at all. The presented project bets on the renewal of the road space as a connective place and as place able to improve the social interaction.
This case study describes the winning project of the International Competition “Celebration of Cities”, launched in 2003 by UIA – International Union of Architects. After a brief report on the Urban acupuncture as the inspiring philosophy of the competition, the case study deals with the following themes:

- main steps of Milan's urban development;
- characters of the actual urban structure;
- recent urban events and unsolved problems;
- analysis of current potentialities;
- project’s description;
- conclusions: the road space as a potential relation’s place.

Milan is a harsh city, devoid of decent public spaces but it is above all a historically generous city. This is evident in the physical dimensions of a few of its empty urban spaces that clearly hold unexpressed potential. The outer ring of the Milan's urban road network is a partially forgotten resource despite being visible. This project proposes that in addition to the outer ring's innate use as a vehicular movement route, new conditions of mobility should be created.
Continuous zip between centre and surrounding, between different parts of the city the outer ring road is once more considered as a public connective space. This road exists today as a boundary zone between two different cities which originate from different periods. It's presence hampers the interaction between these two cities, that communicate with difficulty but mostly not at all. But still it represents a great occasion. The territory is a limited resource hence it is precious and requires intervention with regards to issues such as the quality of the environment, sustainable choices and recycling.
The potentiality of this infrastructure is surely the most interesting aspect to investigate, in order to link distant places and renew ideas initiated in the last few years. Along the outer ring there are moments of interest where the boulevard meets historical spaces, gardens, big squares and disused industrial areas, as well as sites of new projects.
The vastness and complexity of the site demands for a modular project response: an abacus of project elements, used from time to time according to a functional mix and depending on the specific section being addressed. The abacus is theoretically unlimited and the urban environment, with its continuous modifications and its different characters, suggests a precise use. The elements occur rhythmically, as cultured episodes in slow progression, clarifying the perception of the new connective structure.
By preserving most of the existing infrastructure the feasibility of the project is increased. Tree lines, carriageways, sidewalks, but especially the central parterre are freed of vehicular movement. These elements are maintained, rationalized, and integrated without substantial modifications to the ring road skeleton, but now expressing a new powerful force.
Acupuncture - regeneration - mobility - public spaces - recycle
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