I like walking in the city of Milan, empty, silent, without too much noise, the air is strangely clean.

It seems really fascinating, finally a place where it is still possible to think while walking. It looks different from the city that was Milan a few weeks ago.

The center is a place for tourists, while those who live in the city progressively, as in all the metropolises of the world, are expelled and pushed into the suburbs because the historical circle has become a large commercial center, consisting of restaurants, bars, nightlife, “Movida”, fashion shops, a system of visual and gustatory ecstasy, of Made in Italy excellence, where tourists have fun and spend money, bringing wealth to the related industries. This period, in which the virus caused the return of many tourists to their own countries and kept the Italians closed in their homes, without an opportunity for expensive entertainment, created panic among many economists, who consider this moment to be the worst misfortune and catastrophe to humanity.

Can we not think positively? That this tragic event is also an opportunity to restore an identity to a city like Milan, made up of many differences?

As in nature we speak of biodiversity, so the different languages ​​and traditions of the various cultures that inhabit the city contribute to the growth of an increasingly complex organism (the City). In the world of creativity, the same principle exists, but when the creative fertile humus, characterized by small entrepreneurial realities, is overwhelmed by commercially strong brands, which absorb its potential to their advantage, the microsystem cannot develop to grow and bring renewal. As in the law of nature the strongest wins, so in the economic world the same principle applies, because commercially strong realities guarantee well-being to the system and to the country.  The economy, due to the vice of arrogance, does not take into account the impoverishment of the creative basin that provides the nourishment of culture and the manifestation of critical thinking. This basin, that produces changes in society, when unattended it is unable to function effectively and there is a negative impact and knock on effect for the future. These reflections do not concern economists who, unfortunately, today have an overload of responsibility and this coupled with a disconnected and weak political system they are unable to link the importance of the basin and appreciate its enduring and long term productivity and immense contribution to the economy.

 

Today, as we surf on the world wide web, we are distracted and it is difficult to focus, contemplate and draw the future of and for our society. 

Milan has always been a city different from the rest of Italy since the time of the noble Visconti dynasties the patrons responsible for commissioning many of the great European Masters and for the construction of the Duomo in the 14th century. Milan was a center where these Masters lived and produced some of their finest works. For this ancient pro-European soul, unlike the rest of Italy, Milan paid a very high price, as indeed it is paying today with the Covid – 19.

Milan’s generosity has a grand union with international trade and commerce, so far there has been nothing wrong with it, it is an applied intelligence, which produces well-being, but perhaps there is a limit to this success and it is time to be satisfied with the things that work and not to go further (”non va Oltre”). The contentment of tourism, of well-being, of being the capital of fashion and a center of design excellence, has led the city to a climate of superficiality and a loss of soul, perhaps now the time has come to reflect upon this.

The sociologist Francesco Morace speaks about: “Happy Growth””Crescita felice”. I think the time has come for creativity to regain its design spaces, for a neo-alternative proposals that can guarantee sustainable development and open up dialogue and debate on current pressing issues. The economy should not dictate as if in a court of law on the project(s) as it seems to currently, it needs instead to accompany it for a growth that takes into account and respect the complexity and diversity within the disciplines of creativity.  It cannot grow by transforming a city like Milan into a place without thinking deeper, concentrating on material well-being, and in this regard I quote the famous phrase coined and became famous for the advertising of a bitter in the 80s: “Milano da bere”, (”Milan to drink”). I find that the expression is more suited to understanding the current reality and not that of the 80’s where creativity had free access and free diffusion and it did not go through marketing, creativity lead the way. Today there has been a switch it is marketing which has become the source of inspiration for many creatives and designers, therefore published in design magazines whose objective is no longer that of information but the sale that guarantees the very existence of the magazine.