Scalo Farini:

The State Council reasons…

By Fiorello Cortiana

Perhaps not all donuts come out with a hole in them. The fate of the former Scali FS (railway yards) areas in Milan seemed to be of interest to a minority of informed public opinion and only Italia Nostra among the national environmental associations. They are areas, strategic though they may be, enclosed by boundary walls, and therefore outside the historical experience of the Milanese. It is no coincidence that the citizens whose homes overlook the Farini stopover were the only ones to organise themselves into a local committee to appeal. Their tenacity was first and foremost confirmed after the Lombardy Regional Administrative Court rejected their various appeals to the Council of State.

Following the hearing on 12 November, the Council of State issued an order on 19.11 to verify whether or not the way in which the public space standards were calculated included the fluctuating population of people employed in the planned activities. The Council of State specified that: the questions to be answered by the verifier, after obtaining the documentation of the case, are the following:

a) whether there is, within the Programme for the Governance of the Territory (including the annexed documents) of the Municipality of Milan approved on 22 May 2012, a precise and complete determination of urban standards (understood as public spaces or spaces reserved for collective activities, public green spaces or parking, with the exclusion of spaces intended for roads) with reference both to the entire municipal territory and to the specific Urban Transformation Area known as ‘Scalo Farini’ and, if so, what is their size?

b) within the framework of the Programme Agreement, what is the extent of the sizing of the standards, as defined in point a), with reference to the individual Urban Transformation Area called “Scalo Farini”;

c) whether the sizing of standards, as defined in point a), provided for in the Programme Agreement includes the “floating population and employees”pursuant to article 9, comma 5, della l.r. 11 March 2005, n. 9, and in what terms;

The expert opinion will be carried out by a professor of the Department of Science, Planning and Territorial Policy (DIST) of the Politecnico di Torino and for the plaintiffs by Prof. Sergio Brenna. Professor Fausto Capelli stressed that: the Council of State’s order is very important because it makes the final legal decision subject to a technical check and an assessment based on objective data. According to Prof. Sergio Brenna

This is a great success because we already know with certainty that including the floating population there will be a shortage of about 125,000 square metres of public space, which can be remedied either by reducing the current building forecast or by concentrating it in further restricted spaces with heights almost double the current 150 metres. This is what the OMA-Kohlaas Masterplan (commissioned by the FS-Sistemi Urbani and COIMA Catella properties) suggested in the 2040-50 perspective of Milan as a Global City in competition with tax havens. One wonders whether this favourable outcome would also apply to other airports. Professor Capelli is clear about this:

We cannot say that the effects of this ordinance can be directly extended to the situation of the other railway yards we challenged at the time, but it is clear that if the conditions ascertained by the Council of State at Scalo Farini were to exist also at the other railway yards, it would be possible to demand that the Municipality of Milan and the Lombardy Region comply with the applicable binding regulations. Any experience of Active Citizenship awaits interest.

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