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Sala finds support for his “Milan model” in London

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Sala finds support for his “Milan model” in London

At the entrance of the City of Londonwhile the cathedral of St.Paula cage of the Metropolitan Police advises that at the entrance to the business and financial center of London, the speed limit is 20 kilometers per hour. Mayor Beppe Sala, visiting London, will certainly have smiled, thinking of the virulent controversy over speed at 30 kilometers in Milan. Country you go, same problem you find. Metropolises are the great challenge of the future, the junctions where the economic, political and environmental balances of the whole world will be played out. The world population increases: in 10 billion and the vast majority will go live in the city.

Visit London with Khan and Blair

The mayor of the economic capital of Italy, the only international metropolis, in his second term, flew to the English capital for two days of meetings, culminating in a summit with Sadiq Khan and with the noble father of the European progressive (and pro-market) left, the former prime minister Tony Blair. Today the two cities. The great gap today is not between countries, but between metropolises, which have a life of their own, the famous slogan “Milan City-State”, and the province. On this, Milan and London are very similar: the Brexit it was an exclusively “provincial” phenomenon, against the opulent and centralizing London, which not by chance voted unitedly for “Remain”; just as Milan has often been accused of cannibalizing resources to the detriment of other areas of Italy. The night before, January 26, Sala was a guest of ODI(Overseas Development Institute), an independent study center, where he indulged in a chat with the English and Italian audience, moderated by Marta Foresti, director of the English institute and founder of LAGO. The event is part of Mayors Dialogue, a circuit of meetings between European mayors that also involves Africa: by 2050, 75% of the world‘s population will live in cities and those with the highest rate of urbanization will be African ones. The idea is to promote cooperation and the exchange of projects and ideas to solve problems common to all large cities.

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The turning point of EXPO 2015

For Milan, Sala recalled, the starting point for Sala and Miano was the event of Expo 2015moreover a victory of Letizia Moratti, now candidate for the presidency of the Region. “There I sensed the potential of the city which until then was not attractive” recalls the mayor. Today Milan has entered the circuit of large international cities: “Without arrogance, but those who live in Milan don’t go to Bologna, but come here to London” he comments, with a nod to the British capital, but they risk fueling even more the controversy between Milan and the rest of Italy. But for one evening, Sala, the former Pirelli manager turned politician, allows himself an international dimension, leaving aside the controversies of the Italian courtyard. “Milan wants to be even more European and even more international” is the mayor’s mantra in front of the British community.

Problems between London and Milan

It’s a modern and catchy slogan, but one that, he himself admits, also brings problems: being more international also means necessarily being multi-ethnic: «Milan faces 20% of foreigners, a low percentage compared to London which is truly a melting pot». Immigration, whether it comes from outside or inside the country, involves safety issues: “Milan is perceived as a very insecure city, in reality all big cities are”. And then there is the great problem of mobility. With over 90 days a year of smog, Milan is among the worst European cities: cars are also a cause of the bad air quality. «In Milan we have 52 cars per 100 inhabitants, it’s too much”. Hence the crusade, real or presumed, to private vehicles, seen by many as an abuse of freedom. The problem is that, for millions of people, the car is the only way to get around and get to work in the morning.

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Mobility & Infrastructure

The problem of smog and traffic and the flip side of that of infrastructure. “We need more subways going to the suburbs”. On this Milan is trying to fill a ten-year delay: the inauguration (albeit partial) of the M4, the new subway line, finally connects the center with the city airport; while in London the City Airport it has already been so since the end of the 80s. When Sala talks about public transport to the London public, he knows he is saying almost a triviality in a city that has 11 bus lines Tube (the subway, which covers 400 kilometres, Ed), about ten suburban trains (among which the very recent Elizabeth Line) and the elevated monorail DLR. However, none of these are cheap: grist for Sala, who has also been criticized for the recent increase in public transport tickets in Milan: “The ticket price barely covers 41% of the cost of the service,” he explains, and the increase goes hand in hand with Sadiq Khan: the TFLEnglish equivalent of ATMannounced the umpteenth increase in metro prices since March.

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