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The project gets underway with 9 sustainable urban drainage projects, increasing to 27 by the end of the year

Milan, 17 November 2023. An ambitious plan to combat flooding caused by cloudbursts and storms, which increasingly threaten the entire metropolitan area, causing major economic damage and, above all, all sorts of difficulties for the resident population. Operations for the Città Metropolitana Spugna project, developed by the Metropolitan City of Milan, together with CAP Group and several local municipal authorities, are getting underway: in November, works will begin in nine locations (Assago, Cesano Boscone, Cologno Monzese, Pieve Emanuele, San Giorgio su Legnano, Trezzano sul Naviglio and Turbigo) for a total value of €4 million, and will extend to a total of 27 locations by the end of the year. 

Città Metropolitana Spugna aims to complete multiple Sustainable Urban Drainage works to ensure that cities are able to absorb rainwater, especially during extreme weather events, without clogging sewer systems and preventing flooding. Funding of €50,194,050 from the NRRP, granted to the Metropolitan City authority, will be used to redevelop a total of 530,000 square metres through 90 projects in 32 municipalities, adopting innovative solutions to increase the resilience of cities through more sustainable stormwater management. Città Metropolitana Spugna is guided by the principles of 'Nature Based Solutions', i.e. that use plants and vegetation to absorb water and pollution, involving the replacement of asphalt with permeable surfaces that can filter water and at the same time mitigate heat islands in the urban fabric. This is a relatively recent concept, used by the European Commission to identify nature-based strategies and actions that serve the environment and provide socio-economic benefits that, undertaken in an urban context, increase the resilience of cities: flowerbeds, car parks, green roofs and walls, urban forests, alternative rainwater management systems and urban agriculture. The Città Metropolitana Spugna project promotes sustainable urbanisation, stimulating economic growth and helping to make cities more attractive to residents. Sustainable urban drainage systems also improve the well-being of the resident population and help to restore degraded ecosystems by improving their resilience and hydrological risk management.

“The Metropolitan City of Milan strongly believes in the Spugna project, which is part of the integrated plans financed by the NRRP and implemented by our body for the benefit of the whole territory,” says Paolo Festa, Councillor for the Environment of the Metropolitan City of MilanThis is a fundamental and strategic change of approach to land development in order to address the major challenges presented by climate change. These pioneering projects will not only redevelop important parts of our municipalities, but will do so using cutting-edge natural solutions that will prevent flooding and enable sustainable land management. I want to highlight the great work of the body and the indispensable teamwork with CAP and the local municipal authorities to realise this important project, which is of national importance: Indeed, Spugna is receiving a lot of media attention and awards and is being cited as an example of good practice to follow.”

The plan we have called the Città Metropolitana Spugna is an ambitious strategic urban drainage project that aims to provide concrete solutions to the inconvenience and difficulties experienced more and more frequently by cities and their residents, such as caused by the exceptional weather events that have we suffered over last summer and autumn,” said Yuri Santagostino, president of CAP GroupAll the projects are based on an innovative approach, which has seen the collaboration of experts from different professional fields — from urban planners to engineers, architects and geologists — in interdisciplinary teams. This is also a challenge for us at CAP, who have brought to the table for these complex projects the expertise we have developed in water service management.”   

On Thursday 16 November, the Metropolitan City of Milan, CAP Group and the Municipal Authority of Solaro presented to local residents the redevelopment of Piazza Achille Grandi, covering over 8,000 square metres, of which over 1,500 m3 of green areas and almost 7,000 square metres transformed into a draining area for the laminar flow of surface water that can be gradually drained into the sewer system.