Strategies and guidelines for post event sustainable living
Prof. Isabella Inti –coordinator, Urban Design
Prof. Riccardo Mazzoni –Architectural Design
Prof. Irene Toselli –Landscape Design
With Carlo Gallelli –tutor
“2026 Winter Olympics: Milan and Cortina won, the Games assigned to Italy “, La Repubblica, 24.06.2019
“Secret Olympic reports show how ill-fated bid evolved over time”, S. Dippel, CBS News, 19.06.2019
Italy will host the 2026 Olympics in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, taking the Winter Games to the Alpine country for the second time in 20 years. Italy last hosted in Turin in 2006, and the Alpine ski resort Cortina previously hosted the Winter Games in 1956.
The 2026 contest meets the IOC President Thomas Bach’s long-stated wish to return to traditional heartlands for winter sports after major construction projects from 2014-2022 in Russia, South Korea, and China. The bid proposes to hold figure skating, hockey and short-track speedskating in Milan; sliding sports and curling in 1956 host Cortina; and speedskating, biathlon and Nordic sports in Trentino-Alto Adige. Alpine skiing would be divided between Bormio (men) and Cortina (women), and only one venue would need to be built from scratch — an arena in Milan.The opening ceremony would be at the 80,000-seat San Siro in Milan, with the closing at Verona’s Arena, a large Roman amphitheater.
The dossier presented provides a Venue Masterplan and strategic alignment Games concept with some promises “perfectly aligned with long-term local development plans”. More specifically. For Milan. 1. Connecting Milano, its metropolitan area and the world, 2. An attractive and inclusive city full of opportunity; 3. A green, liveable, resilient city; 4. One city – 88 districts to call by name; 5. A city that regenerates itself. For Lombardia Region: 1. Policies on mountain areas; 2. Strengthening the role and positioning of the Region in the international scene and enhance its tourism attractiveness; 3. Youth policies, sport and leisure; 4. Sustainable development and environmental protection; 5. Infrastructure, transport and sustainable mobility. For Veneto Region and the city of Cortina: 1. Stimulate growth in the mountain areas to prevent depopulation; 2. Improve services for tourists and citizens; 3. Upgrade and renovate existing world-class sport facilities; 4. Combine sport – nature and culture for citizens and tourists.
The 2026 Winter Olympics will pose challenges from all points of view: with an expected investment of about 1.3 billion euros of expenditure, in addition to another 340 million to invest for infrastructure works and connecting roads, it is essential that sustainability economic, environmental and social development of the project extends beyond the period of the Games itself (scheduled from 6 to 22 February 2026), offering concrete prospects for growth and well-being of the area in the long term.
The course will attempt to answer the following town planning design question: what vision, what tools and strategies, which guidelines do we need to adopt for post event sustainable living in Milano-Cortina 2027? What legacy of territorial regeneration do we want to be left behind? Will Milan in 2027 still be a city accessible to different income groups? How will the landscape of Milan change? Is it possible to think of environmental compensation? How are sports important to the urban space? More broadly, will Milan be a city with more space for public use or the most private and exclusive? How many and what areas are planned for the Olympic village and the induced demand for housing before and during the games? Is it possible to hypothesize a widespread system of housing reception that enhances the existing housing heritage, regenerates urban suburbs and brings habitability and infrastructure back to depressed mountain small towns? How will the housing system be designed to be converted? If an increased prestige and national pride will lead to a greater flow of tourists and greater domestic and international investments, how will the rent of land be governed?
The Alps UNESCO heritage are also part of an Italian fragility, such as the depopulation of mountain areas. How can the Olympic Games bring new temporary economies and act as a trigger for a new longterm way of living in these territories? Will there be a focus on mountain architecture? After natural disasters such as floods and strong winds that destroyed over a million trees in Val d’Assa, Val di Fassa, is it possible to hypothesize a new wood supply chain for architecture sports facilities and the winter games housing system? How can the Alps heritage of intangible local traditions be preserved? What has happened to the legacy of previous Olympic Games in light of the recent global recession? Did the Olympics contribute to changes in city planning priorities, or was it a byproduct of other trends in globalization.
The course will be organized as follows:
1_In the first part “Olympic Games in my country”, students will start by comparing Milano-Cortina Winter Olympic games area to other Olympic Games or big sports event sites and international case studies. The 1st exercise will investigate what are the elements that determine the success of an event, and which are those that affect its success under four macro themes: economic, environmental, social and future inheritance. The aim of this first investigation is to grow on specific knowledge and to build a first cultural and strategic reading of the topic. Students will start with an individual exercise and will be divided in several groups by the beginning of October, before the fieldtrip to Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo Winter Olympic Games sites.
2_In the second part students, divided in several groups, will progressively develop an operative material and a broad investigation and critical reading of Milano-Cortina Winter Olympic games area and its territory with a bottom-up approach, that is by selecting one specific theme and working at multiple scales simultaneously. The production of this stratified system of knowledge will be interpreted and will drive the design phase. This period will end in mid-November.
3_In the final part students will be asked to develop site-specific urban planning projects, with a multi-scale and time-based programmatic strategy and a formal proposal. We expect from students to react to the ambitious course program with a project that is able to interpret the multiple contemporary approaches to urban design, that is to build-up a consistent narrative in which landscape urbanism, open design guidelines, scenarios, cultural and architectural features may clearly emerge. By the end of December the class will establish a common date for the final exam at the end of January.