Socialità ritrovata

The social streets: a new way to share in Milan

, 9 February 2015

My landlord lately loves to decorate the entrance of the building, so every season he changes theme and I find myself passing the entrance between Christmas trees and flowers and plants, and one night walking into him and simultaneously an almost-jungle of plants, realized how nice it was that he was taking care of it, and I said “Thank you”, realizing it was probably the talked to him in ages.

That’s when I thought that maybe, maybe, I could ask him to do the same, just together, for our little courtyard, a little sacrificed, and to make the entrance a meeting point between neighbors who don’t get to talk much to each other usually because of the frenzy lives we live in Milan.

But it’s not only me to want to find out out more about the people who share the same spaces in this city: community gardens, social streets, co-housing: it’s a new form of sociability that allows us to combine both an online approach – through Facebook, Twitter and all the other Social Media – and the emotional need of exchanging stories in person, to meet people, to communicate.

The sharing economy it is more and more a trend: bicycles, car sharing, coworking, couchsurfing. All this screams “let’s make the most of the spaces we live in, let’s meet so we can make this better”.

And so starting from Bologna, in Via Fondazza, the socialstreet system has spread out. Everything started on Facebook on September 2013 to “socialize with the people who are living on the same street to share needs, knowledge, introductions and socially interact”. In only afew months the community got bigger and bigger and the group has now 800 subscribers fo a street that has 2000 inhabitants.
From Trento to Catania similar experiences have multiplied.

In Milan the socialstreet are 31. The first one are located in Via Maiocchi and in Parco Solari. The largest ones are the ones in Via Maiocchi (717), via Morgagni e dintorni (328), via Ponzio (270), Parco Solari (242), Piazza San Luigi (165), via San Gottardo, Meda and surroundings (163), via Marco D’Oggiono and surroundings (121) e via Cadore (120).

Movies, open houses and fundraising events are only some of the activities run by the socially busy inhabitants in Via Maiocchi. They even have a website

But it’s not all: Telecom Italia subsidize a start-up, Vicini di Casa, founded by the milanese Massimiliano Leiter who launched a Social Network to help neighbors to meet and help each other. This is another case history where internet works as a bridge between the virtual and the real.
So, Milan doesn’t have only one downtown, but many, if only you are able to see it and reach it.