The idea of the park and the work of restoring the eco-systems of the degraded areas
It is only now, much later, that the creation of a park as a feasible answer to the degradation these areas were condemned to can seem an easy, almost banal idea. At the time, it certainly wasn’t, and also the challenge of constructing a forest-type park,
essentially consisting of nature, was the result of a courageous view and a happy intuition that has been consolidated in time.
Firstly, it was a question of acquiring the residual plots of agricultural land which had escaped overbuilding, the unoccupied, underused, post-construction areas, and all the areas condemned to disappear under the advance of the city for public management.
They then had to be reclaimed, green them with large woods, forests and meadows and, lastly, they had to be equipped with paths, services and play areas essential for making them open to all townspeople.
This idea of a large new green area for north Milan started at the end of the 1960s within the PIM, the Study Centre for the Milanese Inter-municipal Plan; i.e. it started in a process of study, planning and slow and gradual definition of the future town planning of Greater Milan – and it was a ‘winning’ idea which started from the town planners’ drawing boards, was adopted by the administrators, passed to the chambers of the councils and the spontaneous committees of townspeople (who would then start the Associazione Amici Parco Nord – Friends of the Parco Nord).
In 1970, the park was instituted with a Prefect’s Decree; in 1973, the institutional bodies were established and started to operate; in 1975, it was recognised by Lombardy Region as a regional park whose borders were therefore approved by law and whose
management is entrusted to a compulsory consortium consisting of six municipalities involved and the Province.
Since then, the park has constructed its identity and its future, It had to acquire the areas and turn them into green, moving ‘step-by-step’ without a rigid project but starting a planning process able to express consistently a general idea (the formation of woods, forests and meadows) for the specific features of the individual areas of operation – the Breda area, the Montagnetta, the Villa Torretta areas and so on.
Over the years, the park has been through various stages that have interwoven in different ways – one of significant economic exposure for the purchase of the abandoned areas of the former Breda, the ‘epic’ one of forestation from scratch and consolidation of the existing situation, that of the construction of the cycle paths and expansion to new areas and districts and, more recently, that of planning lakes and ponds and leisure time equipment.
The greatest risk now is that of considering the park as a finished project, something that’s there and will always be there without noticing the transformations which, today just as yesterday, are still in progress, without understanding that the process is in continuous evolution. The park is absolutely not a place taken for granted but the fruit of continual mediation between the different needs of a large metropolis that is growing.
Only the recognition and deep-rooted consideration of the park as an asset of the city and not a natural reserve, the opposite of the city, can guarantee a future that will last in time.