September 04 2013

The Green Side of Milan: Can a Tree Brighten Up Your Neighbourhood?

Milan, like all Italian cities, has a concentrated urban tissue and dispersed land for green use. As a tourist or a city-dweller, you can recognize two types of green spaces based on the density and shape of their use: concentrated and linear areas. Concentrated green spaces can be defined by parks and gardens, while linear vegetation is represented by the alignment of trees along the road.

View of the Arc of Triump, Parco Sempione, Milan, Italy

The parks of Milan vary in function and size, and can also have different typologies. There are the city’s most known parks such as Sempione, Giardini Publici di Venezia, Lambro and Idroscalo, and also the neighbourhood pocket parks that are mostly used by locals.

Giardini Publici di Venezia, Milan, Italy

Out of the two categories, linear vegetation along the sidewalk seems to have a stronger visual impact on the urban design of an area. Based on this indicator, the neighborhood of Milan can be defined according to the number of “green streets” that it has. These areas are highly concentrated around Citta Studi, while in the center they are missing completely.

In Milan you often hear people say that the city would be more beautiful if it had more trees. But how much of a difference does a tree make? It appears that areas with linear vegetation feel more “cozy” and have a better aesthetic aspect, while ones without look more hostile. Tall vegetation also helps diminish traffic and noise pollution, which in a busy city like Milan is much desired.

As urban planners we often ask: how can we help our neighborhoods be happier places? Is planting trees the answer? What do you think?

Credits: Photographs by Raluca Albulescu and Alexandra Serbana. Data linked to sources.

Alexandra Serbana

Because of her strong background in Urban Planning and Design, from her bachelor’s at “Ion Mincu” University of Architecture and Urbanism, in Bucharest, Romania, Alexandra decided to pursue planning from the perspective of policy and decision-making. She is passionate about traveling and experimenting with new cities, and moved to Milan, Italy where she is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Urban Planning, Policy, and Design at Politecnico di Milano. The experience of working and living in the multicultural city of Milan has sparked her interest in the reaction of urban places to new real-estate developments, as well as conflict resolution for urban design projects that reorganize urban city life. She hopes to make an improvement on the way cities deal with physical urban changes and their effect on the quality of social and environmental life.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 4th, 2013 at 9:02 am and is filed under Environment, Environmental Design, Landscape Architecture, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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