Why Milan stands out as an example of the 'resilient city'

·2-min read
The hundreds of trees in the Bosco Verticale have contributed to the return of many bird species to the center of Milan.

The municipality of Milan is working on building numerous cycle paths and is slowly excluding the most polluting vehicles from its city center. And with projects like the Bosco Verticale, the city is encouraging the growth of vegetation -- whether on facades, walls or roofs -- in order to reduce carbon emissions, noise pollution and make its urban landscape greener. All these actions make Milan one of the leading European cities in terms of urban resilience.

The municipality of Milan recently approved the implementation of a vast cycling plan and the construction of additional bicycle paths within the next 15 years. These intelligent routes are designed to connect the city center and the suburbs, thus further developing the use of this sustainable means of transport.

For several years, the Lombardy capital has been implementing numerous initiatives to help create a greener and more pleasant environment for its residents. So could the Italian city be an example to follow when it comes to shaping the urban environments of tomorrow? It certainly seems that way.

Promoting sustainable transport

Milan is following a path of maximum carbon reduction in its transportation. While embracing cycling, the city is also promoting public transport and limiting car use as much as possible through a congestion charge. A whole area of the city center, called "Area C", is subject to a fee of about five euros for drivers wishing to enter during the day. Only electric and hybrid vehicles can enter the zone free of charge. This is a way of limiting pollution in the city center, following the principle of "the polluter pays."

The city's initiatives have even won the praise of the UN and its Making Cities Resilient 2030 (MCR2030) program. At the end of 2021, Milan was named as one of four European "resilience hubs," leading the way in developing more resilient urban policy. This includes the construction of green infrastructure.

Making the urban environment greener

The Bosco Verticale is perhaps one of the city's most famous initiatives. This veritable vertical forest helps make the urban landscape greener, while also creating greater proximity between nature and the built environment. The hundreds of trees involved have encouraged the return of many species of birds. And that's not to mention the carbon emissions absorbed by these plants.

"In a world that constantly changes, resilience is the only possibility for a city to continue developing in a fair, inclusive, and sustainable way," said Milan's mayor, Giuseppe Sala, at the time.

And the city is continuing to work on making its walls green. As part of a European project called "Clever cities," Milan is launching a competition to reward the best green roofs and walls in the city.

Louis Bolla

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