MIND, Milan, Italy

  • The site
  • Accessibility
  • Vision


MIND is developed on the site of EXPO2015: the exhibition area was organised as an island surrounded by a water canal and structured along the two perpendicular axes of the World Avenue (Decumanus) and the Cardo, taken from the architecture of Roman cities. The canals and the decomano are the only urban elements left in the MIND Masterplan.

To date MIND is a construction site, most of the remaining pavilions from EXPO2015 have been demolished, with the exception of some buildings that are operational: Cascina Triulza (in 2015 hosted the first Civil Society Pavilion) is the headquarter of Fondazione Triulza and Arexpo; the Galeazzi Hospital; the Human Technopole; and the MIND Village, where some facilities form EXPO2015 has been renovated and hosts now first MIND’s tenants including companies offices and laboratories, shared workspace (The Hive and Innovation Hub) and different amenities (food trucks, cafeteria, outdoor spaces).

At our partner meeting in Amsterdam in May 2023, we asked Elena Bologna from PLUSVALUE to give us a short intro to MIND. Press the icon at the bottom right of the video to expand the image and see the entire video.


A number of key issues are to be addressed within the regeneration area, centred around its geographical position and the nature of the development itself.

MIND’s accessibility: physical barriers exist and the lack of transport solutions, less to say green solutions, to access the site, especially from the immediate surroundings is a well-known issue. Nonetheless, alternatives exist but people’s perception is still hard to overcome.

Fragmentation and ‘Island effect’: while the EXPO2015 strongly contributed to raising the visibility of the City of Milan, the surrounding municipalities and communities did not benefit as much. This is still a complex and challenging sub-urban area, mainly because of its spatial and socio-economic fragmentation (high youth unemployment rates, former industrial workers struggle to cope with rising property prices, Bollate prison at the north edge of MIND).

MIND represents both an opportunity - the chance to improve and develop trustworthy relationships with its neighbours and revitalize the whole area - and a threat - attracting only external highly specialised jobs while further contributing to gentrification phenomena.


Having been conceived at times of economic crisis, the fundamental motive for the set-up of MIND was to capitalize on the positive experience EXPO2015, which helped to put the city on the map as one of the world’s innovation hubs and to create a gateway for the regional and national excellence in terms of scientific research and industrial production in the life sciences. A further purpose emerged over time: a city-scale lab to experiment with new solutions for urban living such as driverless public transport with no private cars allowed inside the site, zero co2 emissions, and local energy production.

MIND is built around two strands: the future of health and the city of the future.

MIND has been designed according to the “one health” principles, to increase both people and planet wellbeing: walkability and innovative mobility, much of the site will be perceived to be car-free; 340,000 m2 of green and blue areas; connected paces, transparent ground floors connecting outdoor spaces; public amenities at floor 1 to encourage sociability (and the use of stairs); a broad variety of technologies to ensure light and thermal comfort, reduction of noise, indoor air quality, as well as resilience face to health threats.

MIND is a front-runner in the de-carbonization agenda for cities, meeting EU mandate with zero fossil fuels on site. MIND aims at using: 100% supply for heating and cooling from renewable energy; sustainable materials, timber as a structural material for office buildings; car-free and electric mobility; in addition, it targets 95% demolition materials recycled, 80% excavated material reused and the refurbishment of existing buildings on activation plot and water/mobility infrastructure where possible.

MIND aims to become an innovation district that is not separate from the city, but an embedded part of it.