An ideal neighbourhood becomes reality
Villaggio Barona is the first example of social housing in Italy. For over twenty years it has been a successful experiment where residents have been able to take ownership of the environment.
When we think of a neighbourhood, we characterize it through the people who live there and their social status. City suburbs are the boundary of urban development and, today, they often enclose the social contours that a city, based on ‘normal’ standards, tends to push away. The home is demoted to a mere roof over ‘one’s head’, devoid of the surroundings in which it is built and that should potentially be developed.
Indeed, we cannot think of a neighbourhood, be it in the city or in the suburbs, as a collection of rooftops, without thinking about its social structure.
Villaggio Barona came into being thanks to the vision of the Attilio and Teresa Cassoni Foundation, which put into practice the concept of sharing, ensuring their vision of a neighbourhood became reality.
This change took time because a city is an organism that has a lot of diversity within it.
The starting point was to build a place based on development rules that could guarantee social housing (with sustainable rents) and embrace the concept of wellbeing. The next goal was to be open and welcome residents, thus establishing a good reason for people from the big city to be attracted to the neighbourhood.
This is Villaggio Barona’s greatest ambition. The neighbourhood already welcomes families (who can be well-off or not so well-off), associations, cultural centres, but also shops, craftsmen, and services to ensure that residents can experience a new way of living, moving away from the stereotype of it being just a roof over their head.
This has made it possible to build a community in which multiple social forms of diversity have come together and grown, in a neighbourhood where residents themselves have become the main players within the community.
Today Villaggio Barona has become a beacon for Milan, a city rethinking the value of its spaces and its residents.
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An individual/group of individuals/project that, through their tenacity and determination, their work, and commitment, have succeeded in making diversity a value for a community, a recognized social asset.