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Accepted Paper:

City dreams: Milan and its biggest urban regeneration program of all time  
Paolo Grassi (University of Milano Bicocca)

Paper short abstract:

Based on anthropological literature that questions the role and significance of urban regeneration in making contemporary cities, this paper will critically analyse some of the futuristic urban projects that will rebuild in the coming years seven Milanese abandoned railway yards.

Paper long abstract:

At least since the World Expo of 2015, Milan has been going through a phase of growth and expansion that moves from the organisation of mega-events and the implementation of large urban regeneration programs, including the one that will redevelop seven abandoned railway yards – “Scali ferroviari” in Italian – for a total of more than one million square meters. However, the lead times remain quite uncertain, leaving space for the production of ambiguous imaginaries on the future of the city. Moreover, this kind of urban development does not hide contradictions. Even following the pandemic, Milan is increasing its social polarisation. Wealthy and central areas juxtapose degraded and “left behind” public neighbourhoods. Based on anthropological literature that questions the role and significance of urban regeneration in making contemporary cities, this paper will critically analyse some of the futuristic projects presented by famous architecture studies since 2016, in response to calls and public competitions launched by the Municipality of Milan and the Italian Railways. In fact, as highlighted by some groups of social actors (such as local committees and political associations), despite the utopian imaginary of a green and sustainable city, these upcoming projects hide opposite urban strategies, based on the privatisation of public space and land rent. “From the railway yards, a new city”, declares one of the claims on the “Scali ferroviari” program website. The paper will explore what kind of “new city” is being built, who is contesting it and why.

Panel P154
Paper dreams: traces of unrealised projects as archeology of collective futures [Anthropology of Economy Network]
  Session 1 Thursday 28 July, 2022, -