Bocconi University launches the SUR Lab with the contribution of Hines, Intesa Sanpaolo, Prelios and Milanosesto

Italy's Bocconi University has launched the Sustainable Urban Regeneration (SUR) Lab, which aims to study, analyze and promote the development of sustainable urban regeneration, with the contribution of Hines, Intesa Sanpaolo, Prelios and MilanoSesto. Among those attending the inauguration of the SUR Lab, opened by the Chancellor of the Bocconi, Gianmario Verona, were the Minister for Sustainable Infrastructure & Mobility, Enrico Giovannini, the Deputy Mayor of Milan, Anna Scavuzzo, and Massimo Gaudina, Head of the Milan Delegation of the European Commission.

“By sustainable urban regeneration,” explains SUR Lab Director Edoardo Croci, “we mean interventions that do not involve land consumption, ensure high standards of energy efficiency, contribute to circularity and utilize nature-based solutions. This approach makes it possible to generate individual and social value and to increase not only infrastructural capital, but also human, social and environmental capital.” The SUR Lab will represent the Bocconi as a partner of the New European Bauhaus, a European initiative set up to relaunch European cities as places of cultural creation, beauty, and development opportunities, in line with the principles of the European green deal.

“For investors and industry professionals and for end users of the ‘real estate product’, the ESG criteria now guide all activities and characterize their interventions,” says Prelios Group Chair Fabrizio Palenzona. “They are a determining factor for the success of any real estate project, whether new or regeneration, as is the case with MilanoSesto. For us at Prelios it is also extremely stimulating and strategic to be able to dialogue with the new generations of Bocconi students, not only with a view to bringing on board talents, but to share their vision, perspectives and ideas, both as users and also as future creators of the cities of tomorrow.”

The SUR Lab research program will follow an ambitious five-year plan, with the first year dedicated to new work and life models after the pandemic. The new reality could, in fact, strengthen some trends already in place towards an increase of green and public spaces, a reduction of travel through the sharing of residential and professional services, and collaboration between public and private sectors.

“A key factor in relaunching growth in the post-pandemic period is investment in sustainable infrastructures, specifically in the regeneration of urban and suburban areas, where more than half the world population resides, accounting for over 80% of global GDP,” comments Carlo Messina, Managing Director and CEO of Intesa Sanpaolo. “We must seize the extraordinary opportunity that is presenting itself to us today due to the unique features of our country and invest in projects aimed at improving the quality of life in our cities and enhancing mobility, thus shortening physical and therefore social distances. To affirm our capabilities and excellence, we need an investment platform for sustainable infrastructure and urban regeneration where we can capitalize on partnerships and experience gained through the strategic projects carried out in our country in recent years. Intesa Sanpaolo has become an international point of reference, thanks to sustainable infrastructure funding placed at the service of the country's growth, and the MilanoSesto project is an example of this.”

Mario Abbadessa, Senior Managing Director & Country Head of Hines Italy, says: “At Hines, we are excited about the SUR Lab project that we have promoted with Bocconi University, along with Intesa Sanpaolo, MilanoSesto and Prelios, to encourage the sharing of expertise and knowledge on urban regeneration processes, which are increasingly strategic for a sustainable future. Inclusion, mobility, digitization, services for individuals, wellbeing in living spaces and the workplace are all essential when thinking about urban development and the creation of new communities. The SUR Lab will introduce a new model at international level for analysis, data collection and development of best practices on the sustainable redevelopment of cities. We are proud that such an innovative initiative is starting right here in Italy, with an excellent academic partner that truly aims to nurture young talents and train them for new professions in the real estate industry. For Hines, already contributing today to the redesign of our cities’ urban fabric means bringing its knowhow and ESG vision to the transformation projects in our region, as evidenced by our projects for MilanoSesto and in the former San Siro Trotto area in Milan.”

SUR Lab teaching will be delivered via a MOOC, Massive Open Online Course, available starting in 2022, and in an elective course “Economics of sustainable urban regeneration” for students in Master of Science programs. Dissemination will be based on the website which, starting next year, will include an atlas, i.e., a repository of best sustainable urban regeneration practices. The material is being collected with the help of the partners, who are active in many international markets, and will include workshops and conferences on the subject. “Along with Hines, Prelios and Intesa Sanpaolo, we are carrying out one of the most important urban regeneration projects in Europe,” says Giuseppe Bonomi, CEO of MilanoSesto S.p.A. “An area of almost 1.5mln sqm which, until a quarter of a century ago, housed the main production plant of the Falck steelworks in Sesto San Giovanni. Incidentally, this is the largest land reclamation in Europe carried out entirely by private companies. In terms of territorial dimensions, investment volume and quality of the subjects involved, this is clearly one of the most extraordinary opportunities at an international level to work ‘in the field’ for the concrete implementation of the transition towards environmental and social sustainability in urban regeneration. The partnership with Bocconi for SUR Lab is one of the tools for fully seizing this opportunity.”