Milan goes into Sharing Mode



2015 was an intense year for the city of Milan in terms of acknowledgment of the sharing potentialities in the urban context and action planning for its . It’s time to take stock, also in view of the primary elections. As the City Councilor for Labour Policy, Economic Development, Research and University, Cristina Tajani, underlines the city “experienced public policies that can deal with very deep economic and social transformations and this is recognized. The goal has always been enhancing the positive externalities of the sharing of goods and services, and to limit the negative ones (which also may occur). In short, public policies as “hand-to-hand” with reality”.

The reflection about the sharing economy was launched by Sharexpo in 2014 founding in the Public Administration an attentive and proactive listener as well as a strong supporter. In less than a year (December 2014) the city formulated its personal manifesto about sharing: the “Guidelines on the Sharing Economy” resulted from an online public consultation equipped by a questionnaire that allowed citizens, startupper, researchers, businessman, local associations and services’ users to enter in contact with the Municipality sharing ideas, information, and demands about the sharing economy. A real policy making process without precedent in Milan and in Italy that made clear the important role the Public Administration can play in this frame as “enabling platform”, connector of experiences, facilitator for the development and the integration of the sharing economy’s practices in the urban context. The Municipality embraced this role, demonstrating an already rooted sensitivity toward innovations, coming up from the previous project “Milano Smart City”, and betting on innovation as a tool to strengthen the community spirit and social inclusion.

Today we can count many different initiatives and policies going in the sharing directions. Milano(è)IN is just an example that give the idea of the cultural frame in which sharing ties. The Labor Policies Division’s project, with its series of meeting and encounters, is activating skills, competences and resources in order to exploit the city potential in favor of a better social inclusion. The frame of Milano(è)In’s policy is based on two pillars: INnovation and INclusion. The former is considered a strategic lever to foster development and competitiveness of the local/regional economic system; in terms of policy making and financial resources, Milan bets on innovative startups, incubators, FabLab and sharing economy. The latter is pursued through social, employment and digital inclusion; thanks to the collaborative economy Milan aims to create a more cohesive social fabric. With this project, the city is fueling the debate on the importance of using social innovation as a tool to improve the level of social inclusion and create a more supportive social tissue.

The Guidelines gives many useful indications to lay the foundation for a real sharing city. Some of them have been already implemented, such as the Mapping of the local actors that replies to “the necessity to give visibility and acknowledgement to the new reality of the sharing economy in the city”, as underlined by Caterina Sarfatti, Project Manager for the International Affair Department of the Municipality of Milan. The Mapping allowed to create an official Register of qualified operators and experts of the sharing economy through public call (to date there are 60 experts and 42 operators). For some local experts, as Davide Agazzi, Managing Director in RENA and counselor of the Municipality of Milan, this network could become in few years a “prototype of a new ‘associative representation business’ or more easily a coalition of actors able to imagine public services of new generation”. The Municipality, recognizing the lack of a physical place for these actors, decided to make available a space to pool energies, to adopt a systemic approach and to accelerate initiatives, a place to enabler the subjects of the net. For this reason it open the CO-HUB, The House of Collaboration, in Calusca Alley, giving to an ATS composed by the associations Collaboriamo and WelcomePack, Dorisette srl, Paolo Mauri Pisan and Fidia srl the commitment to manage the space in synergy with all the other actors and under the public supervision. CO-HUB is based on four activities, training, contamination, research and dissemination, and intents to be an enabling platform to connect experiences, practices, experts, operators coming from different worlds, business, university, institutions, civil society.

The project of Calusca Alley is part of a biggest frame of requalification and re-use of public space that the Municipality is carrying out. Among the initiatives we can found BASE MILANO (ex-Ansaldo), a space that in the vision of the Public Administration will be able to generate business and culture, training and experimentation, respecting the ex-industrial nature of the area (Tortona) and its current innovative vocation at the same time. It represents a laboratory that will cover all the cycle of development of cultural and creative goods and services, from incubation, to production and use/consumption, in which innovation, inclusion and sociality will find expression, and creative talents, innovators and ordinary citizens can connect, dialogue, confront, transforming it in a concrete result of the policies that the city is implementing under the umbrella of smart and sharing. D’Azeglio Street is another example of space reuse and the 1000m2-public space will become a modern FabLab for the local makers, a meeting point for young producers or business projects that will enliven the neighborhood social life and involve the interested communities. In the same vein in 2016 will born the Smart City Lab, thanks also to the support of the Ministry of Economic Development and Invitalia (National Agency for the attraction of investments and for the enterprises development) with the aim to develop the entrepreneurship and innovation and to create a symbolic place, a reference center for research and advanced technological solutions, to improve the social functioning of the city and the lives of its inhabitants/users. Besides these initiatives the City has assigned more than 22,000 square meters of unused spaces to associations, startups and citizens. In terms of space, eight new shared gardens (34 thousand square meters) have been set up, and 24 houses for the solidarity hospitality have been realized. In addition, the project “Tira su la cler” aims to promote the business development, encouraging the neighborhood trade, and to breathe new life into 13 spaces unused in the suburbs of the city. As declared by the City Councilor Tajani the space re-use policies replies to a double need: “on the one hand give back to the city a building abandoned by collaborating with private entities and on the other hand experience new opportunities for production and training related to innovative sectors […]. In this way we combine economic, social and cultural energies of the neighborhood”.

Another interesting action implemented is that of the Civic Crowdfunding, that seeks to create and let emerge projects of social innovation and shared social networks related to social groupings, and a more accessible and attentive city to the needs of persons with disabilities, to the elderly and the families. As remembered by Lucia Scopelliti, Smart City Coordinator Officer of the Municipality of Milan, the aim of the platform is “to favor the development of a real ecosystem of innovation in the city and thus allow the birth of innovative practices and projects the city has acted on two complementary levers: from one side auctioning virtuous mechanisms within the local administrative machine, and from another side favoring synergies and the creation of a critical mass between the civil society, the voluntary sector, the businesses world, the research entities and the financial institutions”. The city is so involved in the mission to favor social innovation that many incubators with public participation are also born: Air, Alimenta, PoliHub, SpeedMiUp and the most famous FabriQ in its second year. About this last incubator Scopelliti underlines that “the quality of the projects financed is clearly demonstrated by the ability of the same startups incubated to find also private resources […] at the moment we are working on a new governance model of the incubator that will allow, in five years, to ensure the full viability of the project. We are also thinking of innovative financial models based on the logic of “social return on investment”. The support for projects of incubation and acceleration, and spaces of collective production and consumption, is a sign of the active public participation and of its’ commitment in matching innovations and inclusion. As the Mayor, Giuliano Pisapia, declared: “create a city able to reply at the needs of who wants doing business, innovation and launch new projects, is our goal of the last years”. Not to mention the presence of 9 Makerspaces and FabLabs, 53 coworking spaces certified and included in the Official Register of the Municipality and 470 innovative startups among the 3200 born in Italy until December 2014.

Also, several initiatives coming from the different departments of the administration (Labor, Urban Planning, Culture, Sport…) highlight the general leaning and confirm an internal conformity in the direction of sustainability, inclusion, equity and innovation (Green City, 100 in 1 Day Project, BookCity, Fuori Salone, Expo in Città…).

The policies going in the sharing direction are favoring initiatives growing in number, the participatory budgeting is just another example and involves 9 municipal districts (zones) with the aim to favor citizen’s active participation and facilitate wide discussions among citizens (coordinated by experts in participatory processes). The just started experimentation of a condo-caregiver is another example: the shared caregiver inside an apartment building is a “way to put together needs and strengths, Municipality, Third sectors and citizens…” says Majorino, City Councilor for Social Politics. Through the sharing assistance the caregiver will play a significant function of defense/custodian also for the same Municipality. The experimentation is just at the beginning, and a group of work is in charge of its monitoring, evaluation and control.

Among the initiatives and policies the shared mobility is growing and enhancing. Not only in terms of carsharing, with five different companies offering the services, 340 thousands of members, an average of 8,100 daily rents and around 2,000 cars available, and the award Eurocities Innovation 2015 just won by the city for its carsharing service; but also in terms of bike sharing (BikeMi) that registers 40 thousands member per years, 10 thousands daily rents and a total of 4,500 bikes, 1,000 of them with pedal assistance, confirming the service system as the first in the world to offer this double possibility. The slogan is: “easy, convenient and green”. In addition the city has launched a service of scooter sharing. The penetration of the mobility sharing services has grown thanks to the spread of ICTs and mobile devices, allowing a process of reformulation of mobility services, demonstrating how part of the city mobility is strictly related to the possibility to access to Internet. The sharing mobility is only an example of technology applied to mobility services in the city: there are also apps for parking (Pyng, MyCicero, EasyPark), a general website about city mobility (, the C Area ( and the online TPL ticket (app Atm Milano). The Municipality is open to reimagine the system together with its citizens. A possible evolution is related to the launch of peer-to-peer services that will make necessary to rethink the assurance paradigm; the current normative in fact doesn’t allow the private rent to a third person. In this case, the role of the Public Administration will assume a new aspect, in order to overcome its role of supplier to become also a regulator of the public market systems.

With the Guidelines, the Public Administration is undertaking to relate with three typologies of subjects under the big umbrella of the sharing economy. The big corporations such as AirBnB and Uber, in order to understand how to manage and regulate their presence in the city and how to exploit their networks for a recirculation of information (recently the city of Milan and the Region approved new home sharing rules); the small startups rising up in the city and based on collaborative models, in order to comprehend how promote them and allow them to thrive, socializing the benefits of the sharing economy services to people; the community’s initiatives so as to figure out how to read, interpret and relate to them.

The recent “Collaborative Week” (hosted at Base Milano in November 2015) with the third edition of Sharitaly, the Experiment Days, the European Coworking Conference, Espresso Coworking and Milano Sharing City, is a clear evidence of the city commitment in the promotion and support of the sharing initiatives.

The 2015 has been an intense year and the city has supported and is still supporting many initiatives in which its citizens and actors are considered not simply stakeholders, but solutionholders. Subjects able to enter in a virtuous process of reciprocity in order to generate forms of co- planning, co-development, co-management of practices, spaces, goods and services, collaborating with the Public Administration. The city is demonstrating a strong trust in this mechanism recognizing the central social and economic role that each individual can play and the importance of their interconnection. This interconnection can favor the formulation and identification of new solutions and new typologies of services and the same Public Administration recognizes that such results can be achieved only with a significant paradigm switch not just economic but cultural and institutional overall. The city in 2015 went for it and the results are quite evident: the ecosystem of innovation built in the last years is reaching its maturity, one can breathe a vibrant atmosphere and see the serious commitment, all elements that give us confidence for the future and hope in the direction of a more shareable and human city. 2016 seems to be the year of the definitive consecration of the sharing economy in Milan and in Italy as well.


Il 2015 per Milano è stato un anno intenso in termini di innovazione sociale e sharing economy. A dicembre 2014, con una delibera di giunta frutto di un processo collaborativo con la cittadinanza, sono state approvate le Linee Guida sulla Sharing Economy prevedendo una serie di iniziative ad hoc e impegnandosi a sostenere pratiche e servizi collaborativi in città a favore di una migliore qualità della vita. È nato il progetto Milano Sharing City e grazie agli sforzi che la città ha portato avanti negli ultimi anni in termini di smartness si sono poste le basi per la creazione di un vero e proprio ecosistema di condivisione e innovazione. La mappatura degli attori della sharing economy ha fatto emergere un tessuto locale particolarmente ricco e propositivo, spazi pubblici in disuso vengono restituiti alla città per accogliere e far crescere idee imprenditoriali e nuovi business innovativi, coworking e spazi di produzione condivisa sono in aumento, i servizi di mobilità condivisa sempre più utilizzati, nuove progettualità stanno emergendo (dalla badante di condominio al budget partecipativo). L’interesse e l’impegno della città sono testimoniati anche dalla nascita di Co-hub, la casa della collaborazione, uno spazio votato alla formazione, contaminazione, socializzazione e ricerca in materia di sharing, e dalla recente Collaborative Week, un momento di incontro senza precedenti a Milano che riflette il clima di fermento della città. Il 2016 sarà l’anno della consacrazione della Sharing Economy? Ci aspettiamo grandi cose.