MIND Innovation District, Milan

Italy

Today more than ever, people need social interaction, daily physical movement, the presence of nature and an healthy environment: this is why the vision for MIND is to define an ecosystem based on science, innovation and well-being by bringing together education, research, creativity, commercial and cultural activities in order to contribute to the social, cultural and economical growth.

Today more than ever, people need social interaction, daily physical movement, the presence of nature and an healthy environment: this is why the vision for MIND is to define an ecosystem based on science, innovation and well-being by bringing together education, research, creativity, commercial and cultural activities in order to contribute to the social, cultural and economical growth.

Following the statement “Landscape First!”, MIND’s project is based on principles and strategies that see the landscape as a driving force for generating new urban identities. Transforming the ex-EXPO area into a new Park for Knowledge and Innovation means reconnecting this part of the city with its territory, strengthening physical connections, communities, and a sense of place. The vision for MIND is to define an ecosystem based on science and innovation by bringing together education, research, creativity, and commercial and cultural activities in order to contribute to social, cultural and economic growth. Within the Masterplan, the functions are conceived as districts: the West Gate, the Green Heart, and the Knowledge Hub, which are held together by the principles of Common Ground.

The Expo 2015 site will find new life thanks to the Masterplan of urban regeneration developed by the consortium led by Lendlease. The project involves the construction of a large multifunctional theme park that will develop as an ecological and social infrastructure, composed of a vast network of pedestrian and cycle paths, green islands, water features, new public functions, and an innovative conception of mobility.

There are three main elements on which the open space project is based: Decumano, 1.5 km of the linear park; Cardo transformed into a “water boulevard”; and the vocations of the new landscape: food, health, sport and biodiversity. This new green infrastructure, designed to respond actively to the challenges posed by climate change through nature-based solutions, involves the increase of permeable soils, the planting of 3500 new trees chosen among native species and able to absorb 225,000 kg of Co2 per year, and the inclusion of pollination strips to increase the biodiversity of the site.

The backbone of this already growing complex is a 1.5 kilometer-long park on the Decumano, the former artery that more than 20 million visitors once used to reach Expo. The park, with its natural and social installations, acts as a place of passage, orientation, and relaxation, where the new city‘s needs can be expressed and its rhythm set. The old Cardo will become a cultural boulevard located between the Expo legacies the Tree of Life, Palazzo Italia, and the Arena. The thematic areas of the park reflect the values of Expo’s “Milan Charter”: the 6-hectare Parco del Cibo e della Salute (Food and Health Park) surrounding the Cascina Triulza social innovation center, with gardens for university use, and the 7-hectare Parco dello Sport (Sports Park) with university athletic facilities that are also open to the public. In addition, there is a large botanical garden (with greenhouses used for research purposes), and finally, a park connecting Cascina Triulza, Lake Arena, and the Parco dello Sport.

Says Andreas Kipar: “The prosperity of a society is reflected in its standards for creating and caring for public facilities.”

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