Creating a Strong Social Mix in Milan, Italy

Maria Chiara Cela, from Societa cooperative, Milan spoke about a project where they renovated 180 empty apartments in the Milan area.  These were apartments that agencies around the area did not have money to renovate or fix.  The co-operative fixed these houses and then housed migrants from 26 different countries.   Their agency is working very hard to meet the changing demand of the people within their city and currently have 500 units of housing.  Soon, more new housing units will be developed.

The agency promotes an integrated approach that has property management, facilities management and community management in all come together.  They believe this helps develop social bonds and social cohesion.  One of the tools they use are common spaces where inhabitants can come together and meet and create bonds.  One example is their ViviVoltri development of 113 flats.  56 of these units are moderate rent and 57 are set at social rent.  They also included 2 common spaces within this real estate development.

They believe a key component is social mix of different income levels.  The project has 18 different nationalities and 46% of the inhabitants are Italian and the rest come from different countries.  The households are mostly 3-4 person households.  They offer shared spaces with the idea of stopping social fragmentation while increasing mutual knowledge and social connections.  The two common spaces for example are dedicated to tenant activities.  One serves a bridge between the housing project and the neighborhood.  Families spend a lot of time in these spots to play.  In the second space, social enterprises will be pitching projects to the housing cooperative to use the space to improve intercultural integration within the neighborhood.

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