By day a piazza, by night an adventurous hangout; this is the transformation that as urban planners we attempt to provide within a city. But can this type of functionality emerge in places we least expect?
Once the structure of a second century temple or public bath, the Colonne of San Lorenzo now represents a well-known place of Milanese attraction for young people.
The Colonne of San Lorenzo are the most famous Roman ruins in Milan, situated in front of the Basilica di San Lorenzo, a place where the urban fabric once suffered severe changes. Until 1935, the neighborhood was dense and full of old houses which made it inaccessible to the public. After World War II, the area became less congested and more popular.
A particular aspect of the Colonne and the piazza of San Lorenzo is the contrast between its day and night functionality. Tourists often visit it, as it is a historic part of the city close to Porta Ticinese, the south-west gate of Milan from medieval times.
But locals, especially the young ones, know it for its night-time popularity. Colonne is especially known for being an incredibly crowded place in the warmer months, where people gather and sit on the pavement, enjoying music and drinks.
It is amazing how the dynamics of a piazza can change ones perception of a city.
As planners, how can we help take advantage of existing urban design to create diverse functionality of the same places?
Credits: Photographs by Alexandra Serbana. Data linked to sources