As a dense city with forest cover of 1.46% and 1,324,110 habitants, increasing urban forestation in Milan will be a challenging, yet exciting, opportunity. The climate has undeniably changed in Milan, where the average annual temperature from 1901 to 2017 has seen an increase of 2°C, amplifying the phenomenon of heat waves that now occur so frequently it has moved from a shock to stress. As part of Milan’s Resilience Strategy – the Metropolitan Forestation Program “ForestaMI” – the city plans to introduce approximately 3 million trees in the city and its peripheral areas by 2030.
Currently, the most urgent, relevant and promising challenge for triggering and facilitating the forestation process is creating an education programme for urban forestation and implementing cooling solutions in schools. The challenge will involve designing tools to engage the population and spread out the greening in the city by using schools as a trigger point. The pilot schools will encourage citizen engagement with urban greening and can also be transformed into cooling centers in which to take refuge during heat waves. Milan Municipality is looking to work with innovative parties and individuals that can think outside the box to propose creative, sustainable, feasible and durable solutions that will tackle the challenges faced by Milan (heat waves, air pollution, lack of open green spaces among others) and offer an increased quality of life to its citizens, while also increasing biodiversity. Milan’s key challenge is how to implement the urban forestation program for maximum uptake by 2030.