Piazze Aperte - "Open square" initiative in Milan

Piazze Aperte - "Open square" initiative in Milan

Taking road space from motorists can be politically risky, but in Milan – one of Europe’s most congested cities – it’s starting to pay off.

In 2018, the municipality launched its Piazze Aperte ‘Open Squares’ initiative, using paint and planters, benches and ping-pong tables to reclaim public space for people to enjoy.

The project was carried out in collaboration with Milan’s Mobility and Environment Agency (AMAT), Bloomberg Associates, the National Association of City Transportation Official (NACTO) and the Global Designing Cities Initiative. The temporary nature of the interventions makes it possible for cities to act quickly and test solutions that can be reversed if needed.

After various demonstration projects in 2018 and 2019, in which the city tested the new methodology, at the end of 2019, the City of Milan launched a call for proposals entitled “Piazze Aperte in ogni quartiere” (Open Squares in every neighborhood), with the aim of identifying new spaces to be transformed, receiving over 60 suggestions. 

As of May 2022, the Municipality of Milan has now implemented almost 40 tactical interventions and continues to plan new ones—with one in two Milanese residents now living within 15 minutes (800 meters) of a piazza aperta.

The outcomes of this project are summarized in a new report released by the city of Milan, produced with the support of Bloomberg Associates and GDCI.