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Introduction

The co-briefing session is about getting knowledge about the spatial and social context for the masterclass and experimentation lab by focusing on a place called “La Piana”, a 6000mq empty square in front of an independent and sparkling theatre in the south part Milan, Teatro Ringhiera.

Context

The Ringhiera theatre is run by an association called Atir that has been very interactive with neighbourhood in the last years organizing a lot of community engagement activities in the public spaces in front of the theatre main entrance.

Since “Atir” began to manage the theatre in 2007, a strong dialogue started with the neighborhood, the local associations and the administration in order to activate and to open up the public space of the theatre to the city. There are hidden spaces, not because hidden from the public, but as they relate to historical memory and are no longer traced to contemporary places: this is the case of the Boifava neighbourhood, located on the edge of the attractive area of the Navigli – a dense urban one – and the Parco Agricolo Sud – a protected rural area in the south of Milan.

How to make La Piana the point of connection between these two typical Milan peculiarities? How to activate this place through services and actions? How to “put on stage” the citizens stories related to La Piana?

Since 2014, the theatre – thanks to its Social Program – organized the Street Art Festival http://www.atirteatroringhiera.it/pagina.php?id=33, asking international artist to re-design the “piazzale” through temporary works of art, performances and installations. The artistic process involves citizens and the local community in a sort of “composition game”, starting from collecting inhabitants needs and desires until co-construction phases, with the collaboration of institutions and administration.

The collaboration between the theatre and the research team at Politecnico was established to enhance the relationship between the citizens and the space by using design approach, tools and output.

Co-briefing session

On October 14th and 15th, a co-briefing session was done coordinate by Alice Holmberg and with the participation of Davide Fassi (Associate Professor- Politecnico di Milano), Laura Galluzzo (Fellow researcher, Politecnico di Milano), Daniela Selloni (Fellow Researcher, Politecnico di Milano), Annalinda De Rosa (PhD candidate, Politecnico di Milano), Maria Spazzi (ATIR association), Nina Bassoli (ATIR association). The session was divided in two parts:

Day 1, 14.10.2015 at Teatro Ringhiera, Milan

During the first day two main activities were done: in-the field visit of the area and “indoor interviews” to the participants to frame the works to be done. We also discussed the measuring element and that in terms if Human Cities, it would be relevant to streamline the methods for monitoring and evaluation.

Day 2, 15.10.2015 at POLIMI DESIS Lab, Design Department, Politecnico di Milano

The second day was more aimed at defining some milestones to build a brief on. According to the “indoor interviews” done, we focused the attention to “tools” and “legacy”, or how to share some tools to be used even by other partners and how to be effective in long term after the experimentation lab end, creating legacy in between the lab results and the future of the space.

> Challenges, potential and possible scope for the experimentation: Use optimization of the built environment through the project “School as a Service” at Aalto University’s campus in Otaniemi, Espoo (Finland). It consists of the creation of a new temporary school in Otaniemi for those schoolchildren whose own school is under reparation, based on service design thinking rather than product design

> Aesthetic context:
– Helsinki School of Architecture’s positioning in relation to Helsinki School of Photography and their distinctively Nordic ambience
– Cultural consciousness, in contrary to the often built-in visual obsolescence of ex. pop-up graphics
– Traditional Nordic design values and Aalto’s values of affordable, high quality good design, promoting democratic access to good value

> Partners:
– City of Espoo
– Design Factory – Startup Sauna – Urban Mill
– Aalto ARTS

> Main topics:
– Holistic approach to building
– Diversity of uses
– Sustainability statement
– Definition of Nordic ambience

> Theoretical work:
– Critical assessment of the terminology around “human”. What is the concept “human” in Human Cities?
– Paper “Happy together vs melancholy of loneliness. Disruptive practices on community and privacy”

> Discussion:
– Prototype the service operator: create accessibility to space and redefine the space ecosystem
– Access in service design
– Define overlapping spaces and overlapping uses of spaces
– Reach out to possible new stakeholders
– Create an OS (operating system) for optimised spaces
– Branding and aesthetics, benchmarks are local adaptation – reacting to context, durable design, meaningful, inspiring, creating interactions, colourful, sustainable, furniture ownership by the users, turn the uses inside-out
– Hosting + reception + interaction = adaptive business model

> Attendees: Alice Holmberg, Antti Ahlava, Jarmo Suominen, Fernando Nieto, Pekka Tynkkynen, Mia Hertsberg

The Cité du Design will lead  various experimentations on Saint-Etienne territory in 2015-2017. One of the topics is to tackle the retails and street level spaces. In the contemporary urban context, the classic city, with its town center and its suburbs, disappears to make way for a world of networks, connections, of multi- polarity. The flows of traffic – carried by land, sea or digital routes, take over from places. These structural evolutions are impacting both people and spaces , like the shops in the city centres. How to invent innovative proposals to activate these spaces and scales ?