What is the Observatory on Ideas and practices for a sustainable future?


Reformulating a new relationship with the planet and its resources, in the belief that an approach consistent with the principles of environmental and social justice, supported by technological innovation, can give rise to participatory, innovative and sustainable transition practices. The Observatory deals with the environmental, economic and productive aspects that affect citizens’ quality of life, starting with the social-ecological challenges arising from the interactions between people and the places they inhabit, researching long-term effects to identify instruments and policies for a sustainable proposal.

Scientific Committee


Patrizia Nanz, Universität di Potsdam

Nicolò Giangrande, Fondazione Di Vittorio,

Edoardo Zanchini, Vice President Legambiente

Matteo Colleoni, Università degli Studi di Milano Bicocca

Gianfranco Bettin, politician and author

Network (main players)


URBINAT (Urban Innovative & Inclusive Nature), European project aimed at designing and implementing Nature-Based Solutions; Milan Center for Food Law and Policy; Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna; Green Office Politecnico di Torino; National Observatory for Sharing Mobility; RUS, University Network for Sustainable Development; ASVIS, Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development; ECDPM, The European Centre for Development Policy Management; Best4Food, Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca.

Some of the participants:


Marc Augé, French anthropologist, philosopher and author

Enrico Giovannini, Economist and academic, spokesperson for ASviS (Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development), Minister of Sustainable Infrastructure and Mobility

Jeremy Rifkin, American economist, sociologist and essayist

Amartya Sen, Indian economist, philosopher and academic Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, 1998

Flagship activities in Italy


Water Watch Summit

A day of brainstorming between public and private stakeholders with expertise in the use of water for collective well-being.

Partecipants include: Ania Grobicki, Water Governance for Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture Officer, FAO; Caterina Sarfatti, Programme Manager for Inclusive Climate Action programme C40; Trevor Gibson, Smart City Leadership Manager, Peterborough DNA; Piero Pelizzaro, Chief Resilience Officer, Municipality of Milan (2018)


Food for All!

A week of debate and discussion with educational workshops in the morning, business workshops in the afternoon with companies and start-ups, talks by scientific experts, evening concerts, readings and film screenings around the theme of the right to food, during the initiative Milan Food City. (2017, 2018).


Food Economy Summit

Safeguarding environmental resources, reducing waste, teaching new consumption choices and ethical lifestyles. But also enhancing social practices, technological innovations and the recognition of more equitable working conditions. A one-day work programme that calls on all the players in the agrifood chain, to consider how to best reformulate truly sustainable systems of food production and consumption.

Partecipants include: Alessandro Banterle, Università degli Studi di Milano; Stefania Amato, C40; Mauro Del Barba, Assobenefit; Alessandro Gavinelli, European Commission; Molly Anderson, IPES. (2019)


Energy that transforms

A project presented in association with Eni, which looks at the opportunities and social challenges of the decarbonisation process. The research, which is interdisciplinary in nature, focuses on three major themes: the creation of know-how, economic development and development of new professional skills, and the analysis of energy policies. (2019)


Milan Transition Days

Mobility, energy, water and food will be the focus of a three-day workshop to bring together start-ups, SMEs, social enterprises and university spin-offs with representatives of the country’s most significant think-tanks, venture capital funds, large companies and institutions. In conjunction with the preparatory conferences for the UN’s Cop26. (2021)

Partecipants include: Francesco La Camera, IRENA – International Renewable Energy Agency; Marco Granelli, Councillor for Mobility, Municipality of Milan; Giuseppe Ricci, President, Confindustria Energy; Marine Cornelis, Next Energy Consumer; Paola Giavedoni, European Institute of Innovation and Technology; Enrico Giovannini, Minister for Sustainable Infrastructure and Mobility. (2021)

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