Good Practice

Piazze Aperte — Open Squares

Shaping former streets and parking areas into new public spaces to be used for social relations and community-based activities.

Milan City Council
Local policy


Piazze Aperte seeks to enhance public spaces and turn them into community gathering places. It also aims to extend pedestrian areas, promoting sustainable mobility, and improving air quality and citizens’ wellbeing. This programme uses the “tactical urbanism” approach to put public spaces once again at the centre of community life and encourage people to make use of public squares.

The temporary nature of the interventions makes it possible to act quickly and test solutions in a reversible manner, before investing time and resources in a permanent structural arrangement, supporting the decisionmaking process towards a permanent solution.


One of the key objectives of the Piazze Aperte plan is to tackle global warming by reducing carbon emissions, limiting the increase of temperatures, and improving air quality. Piazze Aperte is deeply aligned with the above-mentioned objectives: throughout related urban interventions, it has promoted more sustainable modes of transport by increasing bike lanes and reducing cars and parking areas. It has used prefabricated materials, signs, and markings to facilitate cycling in 30km/h zones, one-way streets, and areas as identified by the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP).


In addition, in 2019, the Municipality invited, via public notice, all citizens to propose public space interventions to involve area inhabitants in the processes of urban regeneration. Thanks to this call and to collaborative agreements, the City of Milan and its residents have been able to actively cooperate in designing, developing, and implementing public spaces, as well as promote and preserve them, based on the principles of shared management.

By giving people back their community spaces, the hope is that, through activities and gatherings, and by simply “living” within these areas, public squares will regain their full status as local meeting places.

To date, the Municipality of Milan has implemented more than 35 tactical interventions and continues to plan new ones.


Piazze Aperte sought to shape public spaces, key areas for community spirit and social inclusion. In addition to high-quality urban design, this project strove for an “activation” of such spaces, through urban development and other efforts that respond to the needs of the people who experience them.

Piazze Aperte used a unique approach to develop affordable urban interventions within the city. In particular, the project used “tactical urbanism”, the innovative approach to urban design based on short-term, low-cost measures aimed at creating new public spaces and safer streets. Interim, simple, fast and economical solutions can produce immediate benefits, test experimental solutions, help in making the right choices, and support future decision-making on permanent solutions. Tactical urbanism allows cities to try out new uses for urban spaces, and to launch long-term strategies to promote sustainable city living.

Moreover, Piazze Aperte’s key objectives have tied into developing codesigned urban transformations to give all citizens the chance to live in better, colourful and safe public spaces. The project has specifically enhanced public participation and citizens’ engagement through an open call issued by the Municipality of Milan, where everyone could submit ideas and suggestions on how to transform the city.

It has led to a reduction in local air pollution, PM10 and 2.5 values, resulting in an unquestionable advantage for neighbourhoods in terms of health.


Piazze Aperte and its 22.000 m2 of new pedestrian spaces, 310 potted plants, and 380 new bike tracks. The project has specifically enhanced public participation and citizens’ engagement through an open call issued by the Municipality of Milan where everyone could submit ideas and suggestions on how to transform the city.

The result was the collection of 60 proposals that saw the participation of about 800 residents, 200 not-for-profit organisations and 45 private entities. The advantages of this new approach are linked to the immediate impact that the projects have on residents, who can themselves become advocates for innovation and active participants in urban transformation.

Piazze Aperte has harnessed pedestrianisation and traffic-calming measures to improve the safety of residents, pedestrians, and cyclists, with a particular focus on children, the elderly, and people with disabilities.



Deputy Mayor for Mobility Arianna Censi

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