Milan, a history in recreational spaces

Luca Maria Francesco Fabris,

Xiaoyue Li


Milan can count in its attractions one of the most ancient public parks in Europe, the ‘Giardini Pubblici’ (Public Gardens) opened in 1784 by Austrian Government to bring in Lombardy the Vienna’s grandeur. It was a success and can be reported as the first recreational public open space in Italy. After almost 200 hundred years, Milan started to face with the problem of the loss of its green structure overwhelmed by the continuous growing of the urban fabric. The answers were two wide parks devoted with the idea of reforestation that created a new definition of the outskirts of the Lombard metropolis: Boscoincittà (‘Wood-in-the-town’) coming out from the requalification of former agricultural fields and Parco Nord Milano (Northern Milan Park) renovating the brownfields left by heavy industry. Both of them were and are devoted for the recreational use and improved the quality of life of the people living in Milan. At the end of the XX century a new series of parks, at a quarter scale, replaces some former derelict industrial areas, left in various places inside the historic urban context of Milan. Finally in the last ten year Milan regenerated itself changing its skyline, but this kind of ‘revolution’ brought a quantity of new parks and opens spaces really devoted to recreational use at various scales, always in direct connection with the built environment both dedicated to residential or office use. The paper illustrates this time line reporting and discussing how the perception of recreational open spaces has changed in Milan, the un-expected green growing city.

Słowa kluczowe: Milan – Public Gardens – Urban Parks – Requalification – Regreening

Giovanni Borsi, Environ(ne)ment Approaches for Tomorrow, (Milano: Skira Editore S.p.A.,2006)

Susan Herrington, On Landscape, (Taylor & Francis, 2009) Nadine Olonetzky, Sensations A Time Travel Through Garden History, (Birkhäuser, 2007)

Luca Maria Francesco Fabris, Nature as Lovers, (Maggioli Editore, 2010)

Luca Maria Francesco Fabris, Emscher Park, (Abitare 386,1999)

Gilles Clément, The Planetary Garden and other writings, Translated by Sandra Morris, (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015)

Udo Weilacher, Syntax of Landscape The Landscape Architecture of Peter Latz and Partners, (Birkhäuser, 2008)