A vision for Milan’s railway yards
If one considers that the earth is 4.6 billion years old, and scales it to our time units, 46 years, our species has been on this planet for only 4 hours, and has seen the industrial revolution begin only 1 min ago: in this tiny time fraction more than 50% of the world’s forests have been destroyed.
Again, if one studies the presence of CO2 in the atmosphere throughout the eras, to find an equal concentration to the current one (400ppm), he needs to look back at least 3 million years, when the temperature of the Earth was 3°C warmer and the sea levels were 10 meters higher.
Mankind as a species now knows for the first time the fix trend of change that will modify its environment in a considerably small amount of time, if cities and nations do not make a change. As a matter of fact estimates suggest that cities are responsible for the emission of 75% of the global CO2, and consequently the rising of the sea levels that will eventually submerge them.
Cities like Venice, New York, Shanghai or entire countries like Maldives, would completely be submerged if the global temperature raises with its current fix trend.
All this information may appear fatalistic or somehow science-fictional; but sadly the truth is much more violent than any novel or dystopia one can read. If a ship is sinking in the middle of the ocean, during a night thunderstorm, it would appear quite absurd to see the captain closed in it’s small cabin making plans on how to trade more goods at the next harbor. How does an urban planner, a city historian, an anthropologist and ethologist react to such scenarios? Until what extend should a thinker and planner imagine future situations for a global city? Considering such and other data makes it very difficult to imagine the city in the traditional ways with today’s tools. The course will be structured upon two main epistemological pillars and a third site specific thematic: Future City, Anthropocene, and the Milan dismissed railway system. All three will be brought forward and studied together, leading the students to develop an urban project and vision for the chosen site in the urban context.
role: adjunct professor architectural design
for: Politecnico di Milano
module of: Urban Design Studio by prof. Stefano Boeri