Cycling, innovation and creativity: it is Cyclocracy. Who better than the young, the young students of the Milanese IED can ensure that the bicycle become an engine of development "green”? Simona Maccagnani, school manager of the IED explains how the approach chosen is that of "on people's side" and a simple, fragile and strong vehicle at the same time as the bicycle fits perfectly. Cyclocracy, in addition to students, it involves public institutions, associations and citizens, all called upon to express their ideas for participatory planning.
1) What is it and who is participating in it?
Cyclocracy is a research and design program that investigates the world of cycling, active from 2012 until Expo 2015, coordinated by the IED Research Center and created with the collaboration of institutional bodies, companies, researchers, professionals and IED students.
2) How was it born and what is the purpose of the project?
The theme of the sustainable mobility it is central to the development of metropolitan areas today and, certainly, for years to come. This means that in the future designers will be asked for a radically different vision from the one that has guided the choices in recent years. From this reflection came the idea of proposing to students to work on bicycle as an engine of innovation. We are for a non-aggressive approach but which takes into account aspects that are much more related to the person and the bicycle is perfect because it is a simple, fragile and strong object at the same time. We think that our specific way of approaching the problem can contribute positively to the innovation discourse of the city.
3) How is it financed?
Currently Cyclocracy it is entirely self-financed. We know that a large number of companies are interested in the issue of environmental sustainability and we think they can play a key role in the development of the project. This is why we have started a series of contacts aimed at establishing collaborative relationships and partnerships.
4) What activities does it envisage in the educational sector? And in research?
Analytical-planning activities are planned that involve all IED training areas. To give some very concrete examples: the institutional campaign to raise awareness of the use of bicycle for the Municipality of Milan, a photographic project, a cargo design project. And we are only at the beginning. For the research, on the other hand, we proceed in two parallel dimensions: on the one hand, photographing the reality of cyclists - to understand their habits and needs, to then be used as design assumptions. On the other hand, trying to understand in what directions planning is moving at an international level.
5) What role do institutions and local administration play in the project?
Cyclocracy was born as a contribution to the city of Milan. We have sought and obtained the patronage of the Municipality of Milan, Legambiente and FIAB. Our relations with the Department and associations are of mutual exchange and collaboration.
6) Who will also be involved? Bloggers, hobbyists, associations ...
We try to look at the theme from very varied points of view, capable of enriching our vision and showing students the complexity of the theme. The various interlocutors help us to understand the topic in depth and therefore to identify the specific problems to which to respond. We have already involved, and will continue to do so, personalities from the world of associations but also young designers who through their work contribute to innovation and become a real example for our students.
7) And how will citizens be involved?
Let's think of a participatory design: the idea that a designer can drop design solutions from above today appears substantially outdated. We want to create moments of meeting that involve citizens, during which, through the techniques of “design thinking”, we can think together about what is possible and desirable to do to improve the quality of life in the city.