A guided tour is useful when an industrial area has been closed for many years to the general public, and there is the risk for it to be perceived as an exclusive rather than inclusive area.
During the exploration phase of T-Factor, guided tours were proposed to different types of publics and stakeholders having a stake in MIND's development. The tour focused on illustrating the history of the site and the future scenario envisaged by the masterplan, and on introducing key stakeholders of the area, who had the chance to present themselves at dedicated tour stops, guiding visitors into their headquarters. To do so, such key stakeholders have been actively involved in the production of tour contents. Based on this first experience, other tours, eventually revolving around thematic contents, could then be planned throughout the entire pilot period and constitute prompt meanwhile uses.
The tour was designed and organized by the Polimi team with the support of consultants from PlusValue as Pilot Coordinator. The organisation was also supported by Lendlease and MIND anchors (Arexpo, Galeazzi Hospital, Human Technopole and Unimi) in the role of content providers and guides of the different tour stops.
The activity was useful for consolidating the participants' knowledge and trust in relation to the Local Coalition and for involving new actors, such as Planet Idea. Several actors, who could play the role of gatekeepers for external target groups, found the activity useful to the point of asking if it would be possible to export the format and propose it to some of their networks in the territory.
The activity contributed to weaving together past history and future visions for the site, creating a shared narrative around the site heritage and communicating core values. Also, the active support from the Anchors in the tour helped create a first occasion of exchange between internal and external stakeholders toward the creation of a new perception of MIND, as an open and inclusive area.
During the tour participants demonstrated a lot of interest in the proposed contents. They asked several questions during the tour to the representatives of the anchors. The citizens were glad to have the opportunity to see the site again after Expo and asked many questions about how their development projects will relate to the surrounding area. It was also an opportunity for them to understand what is happening "inside" the area that is not yet perceived from "outside".
Some of the participants working on the territory around MIND, such as representatives of District 33 or Fondazione Housing Sociale found the contents of the tour original and very useful to understand the complexity of MIND. They appreciated the possibility to meet the representatives of the Anchors and to know in detail the projects and their progress. Moreover, thanks to a final informal networking moment, it was possible to collect expectations and impressions of participants related both to the Guided Tour and regarding ideas for the regeneration of the area through meanwhile initiatives.
In summary, they have suggested to replicate the tour for different target, but also to involve citizens through cycles of events, festivals, "mini-EXPOs", social gatherings, in-depth meetings on urban regeneration issues or on the Anchors’ projects, or again, to establish at MIND a place for the third sector (a sort of house of associations) as well as to create a hub for local craft realities.
This activity was an opportunity to directly engage each of the individual actors and their role as part of the ecosystem within MIND. The activity was also effective in terms of engagement, it could be replicated with other target groups.
- Local identity & Heritage