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What happens when a place gets too hot

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The bars were packed with revelers and the streets were packed with revelers. Drunk tourists and students drank takeaway alcohol. Long after midnight, deafening sounds filled the once-quiet residential neighborhood.

When Milan authorities began planning years ago to turn the city into a lively destination by building a reputation as Italy’s fashion and design capital, the resulting noise and rowdy overcrowding might not be exactly what they had in mind. .

Now, after years of complaints and a series of lawsuits, the city has passed an ordinance that severely limits the sale of takeout food and drinks after midnight (and soon on weekends) in “movida” areas (as Italians call them). Used to describe outdoor nightlife. The regulations will take effect next week and will be in effect until November 11.

Outdoor seating at restaurants and bars will also end at 12:30pm on weekdays and an hour later on weekends, so people who want to party for longer will have to do so indoors.

Businesses that have profited from Milan’s success in promoting itself as a boomtown are complaining.

An industry association complained that the decree was so strict that Italians would no longer be able to walk late at night with an ice cream in hand.

Marco Granelli, the Milan city council member responsible for public safety, said the concerns were exaggerated. He said there would be no problem eating the ice cream immediately.

He said the order was intended to deal with “behavior affecting residential areas” and takeaway alcohol, which was seen as a major reason for late-night revelers prowling some streets and squares. “Obviously, ice cream, pizza or brioche are not going to cause overcrowding,” he said.

Marco Barbieri, secretary-general of the Milan branch of Italian retailers association Confcommercio, said his organization would oppose the decree, which he estimated would affect about 30% of the city’s 10,000 restaurants and bars. He said the new rules would penalize retailers for bad customer behavior.

But residents have been complaining about Milan’s nightlife for some time.

“This is a nightmare,” said Gabriella Valassina of the Navili Council. The Navigli Council is one of several citizen groups established to address the growing population numbers and decibel levels in Milan’s historic neighborhoods.

She listed a series of complaints: Noise pollution (peaking at 87 decibels, well above the allowed 55 decibels, according to municipal restrictions); the streets are so packed with revelers that it is difficult to walk or even reach the front door; the exodus of fed-up locals is changing the character of the picturesque neighborhood.

Under the new rules, the city has allocated 170,000 euros (just over $180,000) to help bar owners hire private security services to stop revelers wandering the streets outside their bars. The company is working with the police union to amend the contract to allow more officers to work night shifts to enforce the new rules.

After decision, city may take stronger action Local and national court Some residents in Italy are backing residents who are suing city governments for failing to control nightly chaos.

Elena Montafia, spokesperson for the Milano Degrado neighborhood association, is one of 34 residents of the Porta Venezia neighborhood who are suing the city for damages over complaints it filed against them Failure to take action puts their health at risk.

“Living in Milan has become very difficult,” she said, adding that it was only after a decade of pleading and unresponsive local administrators that she and other residents decided to take the legal route.

Still, she and others are skeptical that the new regulations will change much and that enforcement will be an issue.

“When you have so many people around you, there is no law that allows them to go home; Navigli is one of the communities affected,” said Fabrizio Ferretti, manager of the Funky bar , especially since the crowds were usually far outnumbered by the police, and he admitted that he was persona non grata with the owners of the apartment above the bar.

Milan’s predicament today is the result of years of efforts by leaders to broaden the city’s image from Italy’s financial and industrial capital to one that is more service-oriented and tourist-friendly.

Alessandro Balducci, who teaches planning and urban policy at the Politecnico di Milano, said successive city governments have also encouraged the development of neighborhoods outside the city’s centre.

One inspiration was Fuorisalone, a vast network of events linked to Milan Design Week, the design world’s largest annual global event that “brings new life to communities that have been left in the shadows,” he says. “Even for Milanese it’s a rediscovery of their city.”

The city has also seen an increase in the number of universities – there are now eight – as well as design and fashion programs run by private colleges. Milan’s universities are also increasingly offering courses in English to broaden their international appeal.

Today, students have replaced many of the workers who once worked in the now-shuttered automotive, chemical and heavy machinery factories that made Milan an industrial powerhouse, Balducci said.

this University of Milan BicoccaFor example, it opened about 25 years ago on the site of an abandoned Pirelli factory.

He said the surge in student numbers was evident in the evolution of nightlife.

On top of that, he added, bars and restaurants have replaced shops in many neighborhoods in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, accelerating the changing face of these areas.

About 8.5 million tourists came to Milan last year – not counting those who didn’t stay overnight, according to Milan tourism website YesMilano. This is far more than the 3.2 million tourists who stayed overnight in Milan in 2004, and the 5 million in 2016, according to the national statistics agency Istat.

Once a working-class neighborhood built around two of Milan’s most beautiful remaining canals, the Navigli neighborhood has undergone one of the city’s most profound transformations, developing from a charming run-down area crossed by a picturesque bridge Become a fashionable neighborhood full of fashionable atmosphere. Restaurants and bars.

Stores that serve residents have closed, residents said, in part because rising rents and general chaos have forced many, including artists and craftsmen, to leave.

“The soul of the community is very different now,” said Ms Varasina of Navili Council. “City cities favor the idea of ​​gentrification as a positive goal. Instead, they change the DNA of the community.”

On a recent evening, throngs of tourists, students and locals strolled along the canal, passing sign after sign offering takeout beer, wine or cocktails. The bar quickly filled up with people, and the overflow moved onto adjacent streets, forcing passers-by to circle the crowd.

Some young revelers said they doubted the effectiveness of the new laws.

“Young people will do what they have to do no matter what; they will find different ways to solve the problem,” said Albassa Wane, 24, a family member from Dakar, Senegal. Intern at a fashion brand, lived in Milan for five years.

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