The scientific research

Driven by the shared need to bring about physical, environmental, and cultural changes to the Milanese metropolitan city and, most importantly, to reposition nature as a key territorial component within urban environments, a MoU (memorandum of understanding) was jointly signed in 2018 between the Metropolitan City of Milan, the Municipality of Milan, Parco Nord, Parco Agricolo Sud and ERSAF. This agreement was the first crucial step towards a greener Milan that would later lead to the founding of Forestami. To best prepare and imagine the changes that the agreement would give rise to, a joint research project subsidized by Falck Foundation and FS Sistemi Urbani, and under the scientific coordination of Stefano Boeri, was entrusted to the Politecnico di Milano, which starting from the census and enhancement of existing green systems, laid the scientific foundations for a strategic vision on the role of urban greenery in the metropolitan area of Milan.

Activities and phases

In the first two-years period of 2018-2020, the research efforts were primarily focused on establishing a solid foundational understanding of the current situation within the territory of the Metropolitan City of Milan. First and foremost, the state and percent of coverage of the natural greenery were analyzed and assessed, arriving at an estimated Tree Canopy Coverage (the surface area occupied by tree crowns over the entire territory) of 16%. The subsequent study of urban voids (zones suffering from a lack of natural greenery) shed light on the potential for replanting initiatives and possible pilot projects. To have constant informed feedback and to better assess the impact of the project on the environment various indicators were additionally defined over the term of the study. To project Forestami in a larger context and network and consequently establish legitimacy, the reconnaissance work was carried out with the additional consideration of national and international networks active in the climate change and urban resilience spheres.

Furthermore, the project was informed by analyzing best practices in Urban Forestry that shared similar objectives and were backed by solid scientific foundations, long-term strategic planning, and the essential involvement of communities in the respective initiatives. Aside from establishing a practical management framework that was both logical and repeatable, ample space was reserved for a communication strategy dedicated to informing and disseminating knowledge on the benefits of urban forestry.

Research activities

In the two-year of 2021-2023, research activities will focus on four key areas::  

Mapping out the development of the project in the metropolitan area, carrying out an assessment of the predetermined targets and the evolution of natural capital

Conducting studies on the impact of urban forestry on the health and psychophysical well-being of the population

Research on the perception of interventions by citizens and stakeholders

Communication and dissemination of the research and the project

With Forestami, a new model that integrates nature into the dense urban environment of the city is born, offering a new method of collaboration amongst citizens, associations, institutions and communities - all of whom are aware of how much the integration of green space in urban contexts can substantially affect the psychophysical well-being of our lives - towards a single shared goal.