Research Political Sciences

SUR Lab, Bocconi's Hub for Research on Sustainable Urban Development

, by Andrea Costa
A field of studies of growing importance can be approached in several ways

Bocconi's SUR (Sustainable Urban Regeneration) Lab has chosen the management of urban green areas as its research focus for this year. The decision comes at a crucial moment in which several cities, including Milan, have experienced serious weather-related events that urge them to innovate their approaches and models for the management of urban parks, whether public or private, to enhance ecosystem services, and build resilience.

SUR Lab, directed by Professor Edoardo Croci, and operating through an interdisciplinary research team, was created in 2021 to develop and spread knowledge, methods, and best practices about Sustainable Urban Regeneration processes and the ways in which they generate value for the private sector and society in general. This means, specifically, to assess the main drivers of sustainable urban regeneration projects, considering their impact on the environment, economy and society. These three dimensions in today's world must be considered together because, far from being in conflict, they reinforce each other.

The Lab's activity so far has produced a number of reports and papers, among which a study on the aftermath of the COVID pandemic on living and working built environments. More recently, the Lab has published a comprehensive analysis of ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) criteria for sustainable urban regeneration, going beyond existing standards and providing a comprehensive assessment framework. The objective is to provide planners, investors, asset managers and policymakers with common indicators that will prove valuable in different process phases, including planning, financing, construction, and operations. This framework will be tested and applied to real cases in cooperation with the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat).

The Lab is also the reference scientific structure for Bocconi of Spoke 1 (Urban Regeneration) of the MUSA – Multilayered Urban Sustainability Action funded by the Italian Ministry of University and Research within the framework of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR). This innovation ecosystem is a team effort which includes four cooperating universities that are using the sustainable development of their own campuses as exemplary test beds.

SUR Lab is powered by Hines, Intesa Sanpaolo, MilanoSesto and Prelios.