AN ACTION-RESEARCH LAB IN/WITH SAN SIRO NEIGHBORHOOD IN MILAN
Curated by Francesca Cognetti, Politecnico di Milano
San Siro neighborhood is one of the biggest, most restive and fragile public housing district in Milan. It is composed of about 6,000 apartments and hosts 10,000 inhabitants (40% immigrants -doubling Milano average-, a 20% elderly -mostly living alone- and people with psychological disabilities).
MAPPING SAN SIRO is a live lab for knowledge-sharing between academia and neighborhood, enhancing teaching activities through civic engagement. It is a multiple-sources observatory on social and spatial dynamics where community can access support to design and information.
The laboratory continues the research activity started in January 2013 by Mapping San Siro action-research workshop, promoted by Beatrice De Carli and Francesca Cognetti (both professors at Politecnico di Milano).
From its very beginning, the workshop questioned the current and consolidated forms of mapping representation, tackling at the same time some crucial issues such as right to housing. From this experience a heterogeneous group of about 20 people (composed by students, researchers, professors and professionals) decided to conduct further researches in San Siro public neighborhood, aiming to produce shared and critical knowledge and reflecting on how their competences could support inhabitants and local partners. Since 2014, the group established its operational headquarters Spazio Trentametriquadri in the neighborhood, strengthening relationship with population and local actors.
The laboratory action-research activities are focused on three main issues: housing and living conditions, collective spaces at ground floor (the topic I am working on), inactive and vacant commercial and social spaces.
The team is collecting data, drawings, stories, and interviews with the aim to interpret actual neighborhood dynamics. The purpose of this operation is to create a multiple sources observatory on processes taking place in San Siro, referring to the laboratory three main topics. At the same time the laboratory is engaged in participating in projects and activities co-designed with local actors (formal or not) and inhabitants.