BAM - Biblioteca degli Alberi Milano wins the Dubai International Best Practices Award for Sustainable Development in the Urban Regeneration and Public Spaces category



Project promoted by Riccardo Catella Foundation, a virtuous example of public-private partnership between the City of Milan and COIMA

Dubai, February 15th, 2024 - During the World Government Summit 2024 in Dubai, BAM - Biblioteca degli Alberi Milano, a project by Riccardo Catella Foundation, was awarded the Dubai International Best Practices Award for Sustainable Development in the Urban Regeneration and Public Spaces category. Established in 1995 during the Dubai UN International Conference at the behest of Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and now at its 13th edition, the Award aims to highlight initiatives that have had a positive impact on improving the quality of people's lives, guiding the development of the cities of the future.

The award is sponsored by UNHABITAT, a United Nations program for socially and environmentally sustainable urbanization, and the Municipality of Dubai. The Dubai International Award testifies to the global value of the BAM project and the Riccardo Catella Foundation's commitment to spreading best practice in sustainable urban regeneration through projects aimed at improving the quality of urban life and public green spaces.

The Foundation has handled since September 2019 the management, security, maintenance and cleaning of the park, through an innovative public-private partnership between the Municipality of Milan and COIMA.

The public parks is a "library" of plant heritage, with more than 100 botanical species, more than 500 trees and 135.000 plants including grasses, hedges, shrubs, bulbs, creepers, aquatic and herbaceous specimens. A unique example of beauty, botanical variety and design innovation conceived for a cross-cultural audience, it requires by its very nature constant and daily care for its conservation and preservation. As a result, the activities implemented from 2019 to date for the park by the Riccardo Catella Foundation have resulted in a total of more than 9.500 interventions, both ordinary and extraordinary, testifying to its care for creating a vibrant public space.

The BAM project was selected by the Dubai International Award jury from more than 2.600 applications from 144 countries as the winner in the Urban Regeneration and Public Spaces category, in particular for its alliance between public, private and third sector actors that has the goal of pursuing community well-being, generating tangible and lasting environmental, cultural, social and economic impact. BAM was recognized as an innovative cultural project of excellence that engages the community through a participatory approach and implements best practices for managing and animating public spaces.

The BAM urban public park, the "green heart" of the urban regeneration project in the Portanuova neighborhood, has established itself in recent years as a model of sustainability and care for public green spaces, while demonstrating a strong ability to actively involve citizens thanks to a rich cultural program, conceived and directed by Francesca Colombo, General Cultural Manager of BAM - Riccardo Catella Foundation. Starting from its innovative approach as a cultural player for the benefit of the community, BAM produces and proposes to the citizenship free open events inspired by the UN Sustainable Development Goals: opportunities to meet, sociability and education designed to improve the quality of life of the urban community, and celebrating the union between Nature and Culture.

Portanuova, developed and now managed by COIMA, was the first neighborhood in the world to receive the dual LEED® & WELL® for Community sustainability certification, and the BAM project has contributed to this recognition with the care of its public spaces and the botanical garden, as well as its strong community engagement efforts through the free cultural program for the citizenry. The development of the neighborhood has been supported since 2012 by Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the sovereign wealth fund of the State of Qatar, and is the result of a long-term partnership between COIMA and an institutional investor with strategic vision such as QIA, focused on common goals of sustainability and value creation.

"This award reflects the great team commitment and passion, and celebrates the Italian tradition of creating extraordinary places for all that continues in the contemporary and sustainable development of our cities, and underlines the importance we have always devoted to the dimension of public space in our urban developments, accrediting the BAM project in the Portanuova district as a best practice on the international scene" - underlines Kelly Russell Catella, Head of Sustainability & Communications, COIMA and General Manager Riccardo Catella Foundation.

"It is an honor to be here in Dubai to collect an award that recognizes BAM as an international best practice, a public-private partnership capable of placing culture, community and intergenerational well-being at the center of its strategy. This is an important recognition of the value and impact that BAM's innovative cultural program has been offering for the past five years with new perspectives on contemporary challenges through the language of art, and which contributes strongly to building inclusive communities and transforming Milan in a sustainable city. Nature and culture have been the assets on which the Riccardo Catella Foundation team has focused for the creation of social, environmental, and cultural impact" - concludes Francesca Colombo, General Manager Cultural BAM - Riccardo Catella Foundation

BAM is a contemporary garden, an open-air theater with a rich cultural schedule, free and open to all, to be experienced 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. By size the third public park in the city of Milan and without fences, it also connects the surrounding urban areas from a socio-cultural point of view. BAM is a space designed for the city, opened in the summer of 2019 and designed by Amsterdam-based studio Inside Outside | Petra Blaisse, with the collaboration of landscape architect Piet Oudolf.

Inclusion, sustainability, and involvement are core values for BAM - Biblioteca degli Alberi Milano, an innovative public-private partnership pilot project to manage a public park without fences and the third largest in the city of Milan, offering a free cultural program to all citizens. Its more than 250 events a year are inspired by the UN Agenda 2030 with the aim of bringing the community closer to a new relationship with nature and promoting a sustainable lifestyle. Since its inauguration, BAM has offered more than 1.600 events to citizens. This testifies to its effort to stimulate the artists involved and co-create a contemporary cultural offer, while collaborating with 271 cultural institutions, universities, nonprofit entities, and hosting national and international speakers and artists, involving more than 242.000 people.

BAM's commitment to fighting the climate emergency is embodied in multiple campaigns and actions with the dual goals of fostering direct citizen participation in urban green care and enhancing collective engagement for a participatory and shared process. In addition to its unique management model and ability to involve the community in innovative ways, BAM is distinguished by its focus on public green design and management sustainability: from the choice of innovative materials to its sustainable technique of water irrigation, to nature-based maintenance to minimize the dispersion of resources and waste, to the protection and enrichment of urban biodiversity.

For more info on BAM and its cultural program


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