CAPITAL CLOUDS - Milan Urban Forecasts

5th November 2018

Milan is rising: since Expo god-touched power has put it into the spotlight, a new urban turn is coming and money are raining down on the city. They are dripping all over the place, in the name of urban regeneration, the sumptuous narrative of development and social change. But what water are these clouds made of? Where did those money evaporate from? The project starts with the analysis of, to keep the metaphor, a mere puddle, BASE in Tortona area, only to discover the underground flow that connects it to the main urban changes, trying to expose the economic structure and meaning of the capitals hidden under shiny promises. These clouds are made for profit, and there’s nothing natural about them.

So, they say it’s regeneration, baby. We’re gonna have more green space, cycle paths, ecological buildings, and our city lifestyle is gonna improve to become healtier and easier. It’s gonna be social, support the local actors and start from the weakiest neighborhoods, the post-industrial polluted grounds in the middle of this big, beautiful city, that scream to be renovated and given back to the citiziens. And we’re gonna have it all, the renders are telling the truth, the skyscrapers are no enemy, they are just designed on a bigger scale, but hey, it’s because this city is becoming international, so it’s good: we’re attiring tourists, agencies; that’s even better after Brexit, ‘cause we may have missed EMA but there will be other opportunities. The city council is being of tremendous help, as soon as they see that someone wants to spend money to improve the city, they give them authorizations, they hold competitions, they even help with the money themselves, because that’s how you attract more investors; I mean, in the end the invested money will come back in various forms to all citiziens who provided them by paying taxes. Because of course, they say, this operations will help all social classes, a lot of resources are stacked for this and that difficult block, one or two kindegardens are opening and maybe even a library, we just need to get rid of the possible problems with protests from the inhabitants, you know. There’s always a loud minority of troublemakers that doesn’t understand progress. On the rare occasions when some report or investigation reveals strange economic flows behind these constructon sites, they say it’s all fake news, the money for the interventions don’t come from Saudi Arabia petrol, and even if they were there is no problem, it’s no ISIS, it’s the good guys that want to spend their patrimonies in the Old Europe to expand their commercial horizons, and yes, obviously that rents are NOT rising, but even if they were, well, there have been emprovements, right? There’s a price to pay from emprovements, they don’t come for free for anyone! People being kicked out of their homes? Completely false, unless they already were actual homeless or defaulting and were ILLEGALLY occupying a space they didn’t pay for at all: that’s the law, it’s not bad. They say it’s culture, it’s public, it’s safe, but the percentages tell us a different story, more complex, with only one word at the heart of every process: PROFIT. It’s no collective good we’re talking about, it is the profit for the few, and it is taking over the cities, turning every corner in a space of consumption, all wearing the shiny armour of a positive urban process, that makes everything deeply contradictory and confused. This analysis tries to draw down pure facts: the change in the shape of the city, as seen from the sky as powerful people do when they picture it, the actors of the change (animated, the architects, and unanimated, the symbol-buildings), the means of the change (money, urban plans, transportation system changes overall), the words and the images they use to sugarcoat all of it. It is an attempt to expose the mask under which neoliberism is shaping or living space, to prepare our resistance and encourage other people’s one.