Creative districts and urban development
using council properties to support creative entrepreneurship.
Workshop - marzo 2012 urban center - Milano
The workshop Creative districts and urban development: using municipal properties to support creative entrepreneurship investigates opportunities and barriers to achieving economic, social and environment sustainable regeneration in areas of Milan under transformation. The creative sector can be an important catalyst for regeneration in areas of economic and social deprivation. Many such areas have empty and underused spaces that provide an opportunity for supporting new and young cultural and creative enterprises. To capitalise on this opportunity, we need to find a new relationship between the city, the creative sectors and local communities.
Future urban development strategies need to connect the interests of local communities with the economic, social and human capital that creative groups can provide. Furthermore, the new communities (the creative sectors) and existing communities (those already living and working in the area) must find a common language if they are to avoid conflict, attenuate unintended and negative consequences (such as gentrification) and to develop a thriving local economy. The role of the Neighborhoods is central to this process. Milan is undergoing a great transformation. From an economic view point the process of de-industrialization has led to the emergence of new and innovative creative sectors such as TV, design and fashion. Ten percent of all workers in the Italian creative industries are located in Milan – making the city both nationally and internationally important. However, it is important for Milan to continue to attract new and innovative companies.
Milan has increasingly become part of a greater polycentric model which includes several suburban municipalities. One of the strengths of the city, however, is its strong local dimension. Neighborhoods have local resources that can be used for attracting new businesses and residents. Milan Municipality, and in particular Assessorato Area metropolitana Decentramento e Municipalità Servizi Civici, has put forward a proposal for reshaping the administrative and functional boarders of Consigli di Zona. One of the first actions is to empower the Consigli di Zona to manage their local municipal properties. This provides an excellent opportunity for fostering economic, social and environment sustainable regeneration at the neighbourhood scale.
Achieving these goals requires a multi-dimensional and multi-disciplinary analysis. This workshop will use an innovative participatory method called the URBAN FUTURES METHOD to explore the conditions necessary for the successful reusing of council properties to support creative entrepreneurship and what elements of reusing council properties are vulnerable to changes in the future. The research team behind the Method has produced a set of analyses alongside this interesting methodology that together form a powerful tool for urban decision makers.

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