Milan-Cortina: a futuristic highway in the name or urban renewal

Milan bets on Europe’s largest urban renewal project for the 2026 Olympics

The 2026 Milan – Cortina Winter Olympics are less than three years away and preparations for the Milan-Cortina games are feverish. In addition to the sports venues and the connections between Lombardy’s capital and the jewel of the Dolomites, Milan is preparing for the event by betting on large projects, many of which blend mobility with urban renewal.

While the city is about to inaugurate the M4 San Babila station (the new subway line constructed by Webuild that will connect the Linate airport to downtown in just 12 minutes) the Lombardy Region, together with FNM, Ferrovienord and Trenord, is working on one of the most ambitious urban and extra-urban renewal projects in Europe.  The FILI project, which will be completed before the start of the Olympic Games, will carry out a number of urban reconnection and renewal projects, using state of the art solutions in the name of environmental sustainability, along the rail line connecting the Malpensa airport to Milan.  The goal is to create a vast green area studded by the four stations that lead to Milan, Milano Cadorna, Milano Bovisa, Saronno and Busto Arsizio, which will also be entirely renovated themselves. Overall, it is an enormous project of urban inclusivity and environmental sustainability that evolves in line with the UN sustainable development guidelines.

Hyper-technological stations and green areas, how the city will change

A vast area of Lombardy will be covered by the FILI project. The plan envisages the realization of projects covering an area of 2 million squared meters in the region, a boundless area in which thousands of trees will be planted. In addition, a 54 kms long road for bicycles will be built connecting the Milano Cadorna station with Malpensa airport.

Significant work will be carried out on the four stations involved. A Hanging Synthetic Forest will be installed in Milano Cadorna station, with a surface of 72,000 square meters (six times Milan’s cathedral) that will produce oxygen for the city of Milan. In the Milano Bovisa station, the new headquarters of the Gruppo FNM, the rail operator controlled by the Lombardy Region, will be built. It will be an innovative headquarters focused on environmental sustainability following in the wake of ENI’s Nuovo Centro Direzionale realized by Webuild and inaugurated a short while ago in San Donato Milanese, making it one of the most modern and innovative buildings in the city. At Saronno, the infrastructural, technological and maintenance Saronno Centro pole will be reorganized to improve access and safety. While for the Busto Arsizio station, the plan envisages the birth of a new urban center, thanks to a deep renovation plan aiming to develop the nearby areas.

Milan, the city of the future and Olympics gateway

The 2026 Milan – Cortina Olympics are certainly a renewal and investment opportunity for Milan, just as the 2015 Expo was at the time. This time more than ever, the city is betting on sustainable mobility and green policies to offer the world the image of a modern and innovative metropolis.

“The theme of sustainability is a strong one,”Andrea Gibelli, president of the Gruppo FNM, said about the FILI project, “and it must be developed in economic, social and environmental terms. One must concentrate on the idea of mobility by imagining the city of the future, putting the individual at the center and his primary needs of shelter, of living in a community, and being identified as a person.”

These needs are what the other large project that will change Milan’s mobility seeks to address, the new M4 line which, after opening the first segment, is about to inaugurate the central stations. In this case as well, the work, designed to connect in a fast and green way the city airport with downtown linking the East-West ends of the city, will profoundly transform the capital of Lombardy, bringing it closer to the highest standards of international smart cities.