Expert article
Edit 14 December 2021
by DANIELA Patti, UIA Expert

Prato Forest City: a tree for every citizen

Prato Forest City
Prato Forest City is the new strategic approach to urban planning, developed by the Municipality of Prato.

At the Pecci Center for Contemporary Art on the 2nd of December was presented the Prato Forest City (PFC),  a digital platform, developed by Treedom which allows citizens to actively participate in the creation of green areas together with the Municipality as well as to monitor the environment and promote urban well-being. This digital platform is part of Prato Urban Jungle (PUJ) project, with the aim to renovate districts of the city by developing areas with a high-density of green - the so-called urban jungles.

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The Municipality launches its digital platform for planning new urban green spaces

The digital platform - Prato Forest City (PFC) - was presented by the Mayor Biffoni and the Deputy Mayors Squittieri and Barberis who defined it as

A container of all the activities that the city of Prato does in the field of urban forestry, a platform available in which to also find information and build skills. The Administration provides this digital platform precisely to build new urban policies.

Prato forest city

PFC is the new strategic approach to urban planning developed by the Municipality of Prato together with Treedom, a technical partner of the Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) project - Prato Urban Jungle (PUJ). This choice, precisely because of the company's attention to environmental regeneration by planting trees all over the world, directly financing farmers' cooperatives in disadvantaged areas around the world and which has planted more than 2.300.000 trees in 11 countries involving more than 135.000 farmers. This partnership is intended to build a governance model that involves citizens in urban forestry activities. The digital platform intends, in fact, to involve citizens, companies, schools and associations in the area by making them participate and informed about the change they produce through the actions and projects that will take shape. Finally, the simple and functional digitization allows citizens to interact directly with the administration and to contribute transparently to the monitoring activities.

PFC is part of the ambitious goal of planting 190.000 trees in Prato and therefore having a tree for every citizen. This objective is part of the operational plan drawn up in 2018 by  the Municipality and with the adoption of the Action Plan on Urban Forestry in the city of Prato. This city is increasingly proving to be an avant-garde and extremely innovative city which, with the support of UIA with the funding of Prato Urban Jungle (PUJ), is developing a vision of sustainable land use and nature-based solutions, therefore respecting the environment and biodiversity, but also with attention to the health of citizens.

PFC allows every citizen to monitor and actively participate in the actions of the Municipality for the promotion of urban green. The platform helps in finding information on how to collaborate with the Municipality; on how to be a protagonist through direct actions by supporting projects through donations; how to be participating in events proposed as volunteers. All this to regenerate the green of Prato, also by obtaining points to be used in further project activities on other platforms such as greenApes and Treedom. Associations can contribute by proposing green volunteer activities within the platform; and schools are also called upon to promote green actions. While companies have different ways to contribute in addition to the donation through which they can promote urban forestry interventions; they can also become partners of PFC or can join greenApes.

PUJ gives the opportunity to be involved in forestry activities, in the various possibilities but also to take care of the garden in front of your house: companies in addition to sponsorship programs of public areas, can also promote the regeneration of their own areas. In addition to donating trees or redeveloping a green area in the neighborhood, citizens can contribute to urban areas. In addition to a specific forestry project, schools can develop a didactic project of environmental education supported by practice.

In the section 'Participate', everyone can access the projects and see the different methods on how to participate. All the proposals will animate the map of the city making it interactive with the location of the interventions, additions and information.

Green map

The Local Administration, considering that the urban regeneration of greenery is also equivalent to an improvement in health, strongly wanted the USL Toscana Centro as a partner, including the "Prato Green Hospital" project which provides for the planting and regeneration of greenery in the entire area of ​​the New Hospital of Prato S. Stefano.

The Municipality has chosen the AMI Foundation for the management of funds for the “Prato Green Hospital”. The AMI Prato Foundation, active since 2010, supports fundraising activities for the Maternal Child Path of the local health company and, for PFC, deals with the management and allocation of all the donations.

To date, four forestry interventions are already available to the citizens. The green area dedicated to Francesca Morvillo at the Court of Prato, with the contribution of the 2020-2021 international Lions Club; the forestation of the garden of the "Leonetto Tintori" School, thanks to the contribution of the 5A I.T.C. Paolo Dagomari - year 1975; with the project "A garden for the Pediatric Emergency Department" a part of the New Hospital of Prato S. Stefano has been regenerated, thanks to the contribution of OBI. Finally, with the school forestation project, regeneration began in the Ammannati Vergaio area, thanks to the contribution of NWG New World in Green.

civic crowdfunding

Other fundraising campaigns, apart from the one already completed, are active on the digital platform PFC to achieve the ambitious goal of planting 190.000 trees and therefore having a tree for each citizen of Prato.

PFC intends to eliminate fine dust, offer green areas for relaxation in contact with nature, integrate existing trees with others around fitness equipment and new portions of gardens. Creating wooded areas means improving the lives of all citizens. For this reason, in addition to the planned interventions with companies, citizens are now called to become protagonists to make Prato a modern and environmentally friendly city.

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