How Milan changes in the eyes of a mother
A little over a week ago, on September 5th, my first daughter was born. Becoming parents inevitably changes the perspective we have on the world and we begin to see things with different eyes. In the midst of this election campaign, I therefore found myself reflecting on some issues that I had never considered until a few months ago. On the other hand, there is nothing to do: if it is true that a politician must be able to represent the interests of all citizens, it is also true that some personal experiences suddenly make us more sensitive to certain issues.
Young parents in Milan
Let’s start from a premise: being a parent in Milan is easier than elsewhere. According to the Open Polis data, among the cities that will go to the vote this 3 and 4 October, Milan is the one that spends the most on education, right to study, childhood and nursery schools (2019 data) 1. But is all that glitters gold?
(These budget items include the municipal body’s investments in infrastructures, activities and services for the kindergarten, transport services, the provision of food or accommodation, inclusion for young foreigners, for logistical assistance to disability, for scholarships, book vouchers or grants, expenses related to the construction and management of childcare facilities)
Even if things are better than elsewhere, we are still far from other major European cities. For example, only one out of three requests for shelter at the nursery is satisfied by public structures and even private structures do not ensure full coverage. In addition, beyond the nursery schools, there are many other services necessary for a young family like mine: playgrounds, pediatricians, sports facilities, after-school activities and so on, but unfortunately on these aspects the districts of Milan present many inequalities.
Finally, there are the urban aspects: I thought that cycling in Milan was complex, between cobblestones and cars parked everywhere, but traveling with a wheelchair is another story. Slalom between scooters, sidewalks without slides, broken lifts, old trams with very high steps, uneven cobbles are just some of the thousands of obstacles in the street.
A mother’s proposals
To support new parents and, above all, to reduce the abandonment of women from the labor market, I propose to act above all on the range of children ranging from 6 to 36 months, for example by increasing the offer of the “spring sections”, which require a lower economic contribution from families, or by supporting the birth of new home nurseries. At the same time, when new housing projects are launched, especially the social one, it would also be appropriate to build new nurseries.
Then there is the problem of architectural barriers for wheelchairs, not only those of children but also those of people with disabilities. On this front, there are many projects underway, including Milan’s participation in the Barrier-free City for All di Eurocities Network. I hope that we continue on this road without obviously distorting some of the symbols of our city such as pavement and vintage trams, but rearranging them (pavé only in the pedestrian streets of the center, for example) and combining them with modern and accessible services.
Even the Play Streets, already present in Barcelona, Paris and Berlin, they are a great way to give the neighborhoods back to the little ones, closing city streets for short periods (one afternoon a month, for example) so as to leave children the opportunity to play freely.
And finally, a thought for adults. From a proximity city perspective (the famous 15-minute one), the various services in each Municipality could be reorganized, not only by digitizing access, but also by enhancing the proximity functions such as listening desks for women, psychological and also those of job orientation.
Giulia Pastorella he is 35 years old and is responsible for European institution relations for Zoom. He has lived abroad for many years studying at Oxford and LSE. Expert in innovation and technology, she is one of the founders of Action with Carlo Calenda. In the administrative elections of October 2021 she is a candidate as leader of the list The reformists – We work for Milan in support of the outgoing mayor Beppe Sala