Green River is a urban reforestation project that Stefano Boeri Architetti, together with a multidisciplinary team (Arup, Quinzii Terna Architettura, MIC-Mobility in Chain and Studio Laura Gatti) proposes in response to the “Scali Milano” consultation: a public consultation announced by FS Sistemi Urbani to develop five visions on the future of Milan’s abandoned railway yards.
“Green River aims to transform the 90% of the seven rail yards into a network of uninterrupted parks, gardens, woods, oasis and fruit gardens for communal uses – linked together by green cycle paths realized on rail trail lines”, Boeri says, and adds: “the remaining 10% could be employed to build high density urban areas that will host all those facilities Milan’s districts now lack of: especially young professional housings and student hotels, but also cultural services and people support areas (libraries, clinics, kindergartens), social and market housing”.
An organized system consisting of public places, architectures and green Metropolitan Towers, characterized by massive ways to inhabit areas and interlace functions. Green River will run through Milan in a circular path, halfway from the late 19th century urban enlargements, the Corpi Santi and the early 20th century peripheral areas; it will also include an urban mobility ring (MM6 on surface) and an underground structure profiting from geothermal energy from the stratum water. With the construction of the MM6 line along the Green River, Milano will then become the fifth European city for extension of its public transport network. The abandoned railway yards conversion will represent one of the greatest urban requalification and rehabilitation projects of the next few years in Europe.
A unique opportunity to rethink Milan, combining urban development with uninterrupted green facilities accessible to all, that improve air quality and ensure protection of urban biodiversity. It’s been estimated that in one year Green River will absorb 50 thousand ton of carbon dioxide, produce 2 thousand ton of oxygen and cut down 300 ton of pollutant. From an energy point of view, the diffuse green system will translate into a 30 GWH/year reduction in energy consumption, thanks to the cooling action of green areas on urban surfaces. Moreover, the geothermal system, which uses the stratum water underneath the Green River, will produce 400,000 MWH/year of green energy.
1 million and a hundred thousand square meters of parks, hills and gardens: those are the numbers of an uninterrupted green system that will replace the abandoned Farini, Porta Genova, Porta Romana, Rogoredo, Greco-Breda, Lambrate and S. Cristoforo railway yards. Each rail yard has its own scenery, imagined by Stefano Boeri Architetti.
For instance, Farini area will host a 550,000 sqm green area, which will also include the Pratone for kids (90,000 sqm), inspired by Fulvio Scaparro.
Porta Romana yard will be transformed into an Arboretum (170,000 sqm): a great outdoor inventory of all Lombard plant species; Rogoredo yard will house an ancient fruit garden and the EMA research institute; whereas Porta Genova yard will become the location for a new urban vegetable garden system, linked to Parco Sud.
Adjacent to the new parks, in order to guarantee a constant control – and relieve the town from green maintenance costs – there will be a network of many common use functions that are today missing: from the Cittadella to the new Brera Academy branch, from the Mosque to the Botanic Research Centre, from the Recycle Centre to the new EMA building (European Medicines Agency).
Green River is a great national and European project, sustainable after a careful cost valuation, that deserves to be lead by a Development Agency where – with a transparent system of open contests and public participation – public institutions guide Italian and International private operators willing to invest in Milan’s future.
Thanks to Green River, the biodiversity of cultures and living species could become the new great challenge for a city that opens itself to the youth from all over the world.