The Integrated Action Plan (PII) transforms an unused area on the A8, from Milan to Varese and Malpensa, not far from the 2015 Expo area and close to the Lainate motorway tollgate. Apparently one of the many spaces of little use and no environmental or settlement quality, the area actually possesses great potential. Located between the Malpensa airport and the Expo, close to the city and near the two nuclei of Lainate, between the main settlement and the area of Grancia and Barbaiana, it can play a major role as a gateway to the town, as a central urban node of the Lainate settlement system and, above the local scale, as part of a larger and more complex territorial system stretching from the airport to the city. The risk was of repeating one of the many operations exploiting the shop-window effect offered by the motorway, above all because of the great attraction to be expected as a result of the construction of the 2015 Expo complex and the associated provisions for fast transit between Malpensa and Milan. It was decided to install some functions of territorial scale, drawn both by the Expo and by the large-scale nature of the context in general, establishing dialogue at the local level and constructing a small, new urban centrality for the territory of Lainate. Thus avoiding the construction of containers devoted exclusively to major functions, the project draws a map in the form of area of strong urban character with a wide, treelined central boulevard and large public spaces.
Buildings of the envisaged types stand on either side: hotels, commercial areas, personal services, a conference centre and functions on a smaller scale.The aim is to create an urban area of linkage between Lainate, the motorway and the separate parts of the town in which the buildings contribute to the construction of a markedly central and urban context. Provision is made for large greens areas and pedestrian zones, and connections with the pedestrian and cycle systems to and from the town are ensured by restructuring the viaduct over the A8. The project therefore addresses the role of areas like this along the motorway in a context that is only locally and apparently decentralized. It avoids the risk of being drawn excessively by the motorway and the associated territorial values, and follows the more prudent path of contributing to the creation of a new centrality in a territory of sprawl devoid of quality as a centre capable of gathering together the scattered elements and of hosting territorial functions in a fabric able to establish dialogue with the local scale and offer it opportunities for new centralities. Only thus is it possible to maintain the inherent large-scale role of the infrastructural corridor of the motorway while respecting the nature of the contexts and offering them an increase in settlement quality.