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Sustainable prosperity: perspectives

A dialogue between Pier Luigi Sacco, Luca Streri and Domenico Sturabotti

Friday 3rd September 2021 h. 3.00pm
Free open lecture via Zoom

To participate it is necessary to register at the following link:

On Friday 3 September, the Specializing Master in Design, Creativity and Social Practices at Politecnico di Milano, managed by in collaboration with Accademia Unidee – Fondazione Pistoletto, is organising the annual dialogue on the idea of “sustainable prosperity”, the heart of the master. This year the dialogue will try to explore the perspectives of sustainable prosperity in three relevant areas: social innovation on a cultural basis, which we observe together with Pier Luigi Sacco in the large number of projects spread all over Italy and especially in inland areas; the competitive dimension of cohesion, which we define with Domenico Sturabotti as a new feature of doing business that expands the concept of “quality”; “public happiness”, which we study together with Luca Streri as a feature of civil economy. The lecture and dialogue will be exceptionally open to the public.

In the era of the failure of the myth of growth, in the acceleration of the processes of social inequality and climate injustice that the pandemic has also highlighted, the proposal of sustainable development is a response advocated by large and small institutions and increasingly practised by individuals and organisations.
However, the positivist idea of ‘development’ is still problematic, at least since the ‘limits’ of a model that aspires to guarantee a condition of incremental well-being have been glimpsed, and there are various responses that both the literature and world institutions have attempted to offer. On the one hand, the UN’s proposal to achieve development ‘goals’, including not only environmental but also social, political and economic aspects, naturally admitting the difficulty of combining different and often conflicting aspects. On the other hand, the wish for a more or less happy ‘degrowth’, promoted by extraordinary twentieth-century intellectuals, which, however, also receives important criticism from both the business and academic worlds. On the other hand, an accelerationist model that promotes the development of technology and automation to build a fairer society and a more sustainable world.

With the concept of ‘sustainable prosperity’, it seems interesting to try to reason about a different model, which replaces ‘growth at any cost’ with an alternative capable of accommodating both the demands of development goals and the degrowth paradigm and the ambition for technological automation. A ‘prosperity’ that has first and foremost to do with the search for a new equilibrium, capable of changing according to changing realities and places. It aims to modify lifestyles and individual and collective existences. Able to change the way in which wealth production and inclusion are linked. Able to guarantee the same conditions for future generations.

The prospects for this model of sustainable prosperity can be seen in the widespread communities in inland areas, which are taking a different status for themselves by launching high-impact cultural-based social innovation processes. But we also find them in businesses, characterised by a profound rethinking of the concept of “quality”, now extended to the relational dimension and connection with the territory. To the point of making this intentional horizontal and spatial cohesion a decisive competitive element. Finally, a prosperity that confronts itself with the civil economy, and which aims to reconnect the economy with society, rethinking the concept of public happiness.


  • 3:00pm Introduction by Marina Parente and Michele Cerruti But
  • 3:20pm greetings by Paolo Naldini, director of the Pistoletto Foundation
  • 3:30pm Domenico Sturabotti, Director of Symbola Foundation for Italian Qualities – “Cohesion and Competition
  • 4:00pm Pier Luigi Sacco, Professor of Economics of Culture – “Culturally based social innovation”.
  • 4:30pm Luca Streri, founder of Semi Onlus International and the Mezzopieno movement – “Public Happiness”.
  • 5:00pm break
  • 5:15pm debate
  • 6:00pm closing and greetings

The event is organised by the Master in Design, Creativity and Social Practice. Sustainable Prosperity for Organisations, the training programme which, born from the collaboration between – Politecnico di Milano and Accademia Unidee – Fondazione Pistoletto, provides an innovative approach that integrates the techniques and approach of design with the “sensibilities” of art to turn social and environmental commitment into a profession.
The programme aims to train professionals capable of designing and managing projects that create value for the public and private organisations of which they are part.
For more information, visit the master’s page.


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