The Politecnico di Milano is lead partner in the project Safely Connected - Sustainable Common Accessibility of Lively Downtowns for Healthy People, submitted to the EIT Urban Mobility’s call. EIT Urban Mobility is the European Institute of Innovation and Technology’s initiative to create liveable urban spaces.
The call was addressed to local authorities, research institutions and companies wishing to adapt or develop innovative solutions related to public space and urban mobility, in times of COVID-19, serving as a model at a European scale. The programme targeted participative projects with rapid launch, validation and deployment of solutions, lasting 4 to 6 months.
Safely Connected develops, tests and validates innovative solutions adapted to medium-sized cities, which play a major role in the organisation of the European urban landscape. These cities have been the most affected by the restrictions imposed by the health crisis because their economy is mainly based on small local businesses and shops.
This solution will render the city-centre an open air commercial and urban life environment aligned to COVID-19 norms and realities. It will be tested in the city of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, but it has a high potential for scale-up and replication, being possible to be adopted in similar urban situations of medium-sized towns as well as for neighbourhoods of metropolises.
The project aims to revive, invigorate and support economic activity, particularly for local shopkeepers strained by the quarantine, by capitalizing on a strong action: an agile development of public space adapted to a wide variety of urban activities, to pedestrians and active mobility, to the roll-out of terraces, to the greening of the city centre, to the valorisation of local businesses, positively influencing accessibility and mobility practices and strengthening short-distance trade.
In detail, the project aims to rethink, adapt, innovate and design collaboratively to improve the public space use value, by giving the pilot area – city-centre converted into a large open-air urban market – a stronger central role. Vector of sociability, it fosters a sense of community, solidarity and caution in terms of health. This is achieved by pooling services, optimising timetables, relying on intelligent management of parking and deliveries, launching a series of online sales, geolocation and promotion services and by articulating the well-being of inhabitants, architectural heritage, economic prosperity and the compatibility of housing and city life.
The project is coordinated by Professor Stefano Capolongo of the Department of Architecture, Construction Engineering and Built Environment, with the collaboration of Maddalena Buffoli and Daniele Fanzini.
Partners in the project, together with Politecnico di Milano and Fondazione Politecnico di Milano, the City of Saint-Germain-En-Laye and the local association of traders CAP-SGL.
This article was first published here by Politecnico di Milano.