Urban Furniture for Urban Regeneration

6 months full time in presence 


From benches to lighting systems, from bike lane dividers to public transport shelters, to water dispensers to urban gardens, the are numerous objects and services that can be designed or re-designed to effectively and rapidly improve the quality of life in a neighborhood or city. ​

The goal of this project track is to envision public furniture elements that respond to the needs and requirements of communities in metropolitan areas, aiming to trigger a process of urban, economic, and social regeneration. ​

Urban design, taken broadly, can be a driving force for an increasingly necessary urban regeneration and a perfect laboratory to test innovative materials and smart functions for the city of the future.


Caught in the frenzy of work life as well as the plethora of opportunities and events, cities run the risk of becoming environments that are alienating to our well-being and needs.

By 2050, two-thirds of the world's population will live in cities. The linear take-make-waste economic model leads cities to consume over 75% of natural resources, produce over 50% of global waste, and be responsible for about 60-80% of global greenhouse gas emissions (Ellen MacArthur Foundation data). Furthermore, urban areas often lack services or spaces for gathering and socializing, paradoxically becoming increasingly challenging for sustainable groups like pedestrians and cyclists.

Cities need to reuse the waste they produce and transform it into products or services useful to citizens, capable of addressing both simple and complex needs, such as seating, generating energy and food, providing information, and illumination. In addition to decarbonizing housing and transportation, cities need concrete action to reduce waste, increase the implementation of neighborhood circular practices, promote sustainable practices, and at the same time, recognize a tangible practical return to citizens in the form of service. Design can lead these actions.


Following the principles of the circular economy (reduce pollution, keep materials in use and regenerate nature), and through the implementation of circular economy design strategies, designers and architects will be engaged in imagining new solutions for urban furniture to integrate into the urban metabolism, aimed at enhancing and providing concrete responses to citizens' needs while also aiding the environment. Through their work, designers must address all three spheres of sustainability necessary for urban regeneration: economic, ecological, and social.

The teams will also explore the possibilities of integrating smart technologies capable of connecting the envisioned public furniture with an increasingly interconnected urban system.


Stefano Giovacchini – Project Track Leader

Sponsoring Partner

MINI (BMW Group)

Slide Foundations of Sustainability ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN THE RIGHT TO QUALITY SHELTER Project Track Healthy Materials and Sustainable Products