Where: Maribor, Slovenia
Who: Daniela Patti
With whom: The city of Prato, Italy
How: PUJ is an Urban Innovative Actions project supported by Daniela Patti. The project aims to convert urban areas into so-called urban jungles or areas of high density plants and trees to help improve the quality of air in the city, as well as the quality of life and citizen satisfaction. The proposed urban jungles will be developed with citizen involvement through an inclusive model and transparent urban platforms, creating a sustainable urban environment.
The City of Prato is facing several challenges related to poor air quality, heat island effects, social exclusion, poverty and degraded urban environments. What’s more, Prato also hosts a number of abandoned industrial sites resulting from the economic crisis of the last 10 years.
The City Council has recently approved an Operative Plan with a new Strategy for urban forests, with the scope of integrating nature and architecture. This project aims to re-launch Prato as an attractive, livable place with thriving economic, ecological and social well being, the PUJ project enhances urban greening by delivering direct and tangible environmental, ecological, economic and social benefits to the entire city.
It will improve the health, quality of life and security of the citizens, and support the overall well-being of less privileged social groups. The project will adopt a community-led approach to designing, developing and maintaining the Urban Jungles, through the creation of Green Hubs or innovative communities of stakeholders, citizens, businesses, civil society actors that will mobilize the urban creativity and resources to nurture the Urban Jungles.
65% of the municipal area of Prato is covered with vegetation, including 29,151registered trees.
3.715 Kg of atmospheric pollutants are removed by trees annually, equivalent to an economic benefit of Euro 224,500 per year.
7.900 m3 of meteoric water is intercepted by the vegetation, equivalent to an economic benefit of € 15,000 per year
The project will ensure the regeneration of disused and declining urban areas through the reallocation of buildings and spaces to new, more creative and sustainable use.It will also foster the creation of community green hubs, providing open spaces, social quarters and cultural nodes.
This means urban jungles will be developed in three areas:
-The 1st pilot will create the Urban Jungle in a company-owned area. The ESTRA building and surroundings located in a complex area, overlooking the busiest thoroughfare with a daily transit of 50,000 vehicles.
-The 2nd pilot will affect a highly populated and social housing area, with social marginality. A complex building with 152 dwellings inhabited by around 500 people will be the test bed for this pilot.
-The 3rd pilot will focus on Macrolotto 0, a former industrial area with underutilized spaces; the target area is close to the Macrolotto Creative District and the new metropolitan market that are being rebuilt through another ERDF urban regeneration project.
With a community-led approach to designing, the project is a highly unique initiative that will ensure the transparent and sustainable development of much needed green zones.
By interacting with innovative communities of stakeholders, citizens, businesses and civil society actors, the project aims to mobilize the urban creativity and resources in Prato.
What’s more, reintegrating nature and natural processes into built areas through nature-based infrastructures is being increasingly considered as a solution to land use challenges in cities across Europe, and Prato will be spearheading this approach, providing a unique case study that could be duplicated and utilized in urban centers throughout the European continent.
As Eutropian, we’re delighted to be a part of this urban regeneration and renewal project, and can’t wait to see the green results of our efforts.
Prato Urban Jungle is a UIA initiative. Daniela Patti supports the network and the development of the project as an expert.
For more information on the project and how Eutropian has acted as a consultant in aiding circular economy and ecological sustainability, please reach out to her directly.