Escaping from social isolation

Milan, Italy

Challenge team: Quarto Oggiaro public library and Milan condominium libraries network 

Population of Milan: 1.4 million

Summary: This challenge team is bringing local people together in remote neighbourhoods of Milan to design “escape room” games together with the goal of reducing social isolation.

The bustling city of Milan in northern Italy has 26 public libraries across the city, and a UNESCO designation as a Creative City of Literature. However, many communities in the more remote areas of Milan are not benefiting from social interactions, cultural events or engagement with their local libraries. The pandemic has further exacerbated a sense of polarisation and social isolation in these communities.

As a solution to this problem, Quarto Oggiaro public library is working together with the Milan condominium libraries network to expand a network of shared spaces where books and reading are available, as well as offering local people the chance to build civic literacy and to positively shape and share their needs and aspirations.

The core idea is to bring together different generations of condominium inhabitants through a series of game-playing initiatives – connecting them to each other, to the libraries in their buildings, to their wider communities and to public libraries in the area. Working together as a team, the groups are creating an “escape room” concept.

The challenge team said: “The ‘dream’ end result would be to have a community come together around the condo libraries – a community that is more engaged and motivated to take part in the library’s life and can foster – together with the condo library operators – new services and resources for other people living in the neighbourhood.”

Local solutions to change Europe

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