San Donato, a southeastern suburb of Milan, is a unique company town built, in the last 50 years, by a major oil company (ENI). The availability of large unused sites or areas in transformation, belonging to one single subject, led to an outstanding opportunity to readdress the town’s layout and character.
The San Donato masterplanning project involves the development of nine specific areas within the municipal boundaries; the direction taken prefigures the possible metamorphosis of a Company Town, consolidated in the collective image, into a city with great and articulated resources. The masterplan addresses, yet mutates, the great legacy of ENI with a new complexity necessary for its future transformation, seizing the opportunities offered by being a constituent part of the Greater Milan.
Defined by economical, infrastructural, environmental, landscape and urban design strategies, the new land use programme becomes a tool to institute a dialogue between the local authorities, proprietor, potential developers and companies at large. The project gives form to a complex desire implemented in various detailed masterplans and their compartments. Rehabilitation and new configuration of the public and private spaces is the principle scope of work. A new boulevard redefines the city center and a large urban park becomes the new town center. Located along the boulevard are new residences, offices, government buildings, public and private services, in addition to retail activities.
The high accessibility offered by the areas’ existing infrastructure network, orients the western development plan (De Gasperi Ovest) in the direction of mixed neighbourhoods with tertiary functions of regional importance, linked directly with the existing city through the presence of an important public function and metro station. Hence, there is foreseen a significant reduction in private vehicular traffic in favor of public transportation with a positive effect on the environment. Density follows mass transit accessibility. The plan prefigures, furthermore, a built southern edge adjacent to the southern agricultural park Parco Sud.
The proposed intervention delineates the route of a new county road, reducing through traffic in residential areas, and at the same time defines the boundary between the urban settlements and rural landscape. Finally, along the Lambro River a large forested area (Monticello) alters the present day landscape.
The importance and quality of green spaces, a characteristic of the urban fabric, confirms heights, functions, materials and landscape borrowed from the present day township and interpreted through densification. New spaces and urban patterns come together in a harmonious way with the existing context, configured as a sequence of places easily identified, distinct and unique in character.
The opportunity to address the detailed masterplans within a single strategy permits quality control on important goals such as construction and spatial organisation. The transfer of available edification throughout the different sites not only increases preservation of numerous public spaces within the city center but also enables the construction of an additional urban park covering 70,000 m2.