PratoSustainable use of land and nature based solutions
PUJ - Prato Urban Jungle
"The project of the Municipality will renew the districts of Prato with greater social, productive and environmental criticality, in a sustainable and inclusive way by developing areas of high green density - the so-called Urban Jungles - that will be grafted into the urban landscape by multiplying the natural ability of plants to break down the substances pollutants, and returning the territory to the use of people, transforming the areas of marginality into real points of green well-being within the city. Urban Jungles will be co-designed with the help of citizens, through shared urban planning facilitated by the use of digital platforms, which will open the management to the community, increasing inclusiveness and favouring the widespread sustainable development of the urban environment."
As other urban areas in Europe, the City of Prato is facing several challenges related to poor air quality, heat island effects, social exclusion, poverty and degraded urban environments. Next to this, Prato hosts a number of abandoned industrial sites, resulting from the economic crisis of the last 10 years.
To re-launch Prato as an attractive, liveable place with thriving economic, ecological and social wellbeing, the City Council has recently approved an Operative Plan with a new Strategy for Urban Forest, with the scope of integrating nature and architecture and thus limit soil consumption.
The Prato Urban Jungle (PUJ) project aims to achieve two main objectives of the Operative Plan:
1) the regeneration of disused and declining urban areas through the reallocation of buildings and spaces to new, more creative and sustainable use;
2) the creation of community green hubs, providing open spaces, social quarters and cultural nodes; new high-density green islands will be created, as well as structures and areas for environmental, sport, cultural and social fruition.
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.
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. The Prato Urban Jungle project fosters creative and visionary urban design for re-naturing Prato’s neighbourhoods in a sustainable and socially inclusive way.
Urban Jungles are high-densely green re-designed areas, immersed in the urban structure, that multiply the natural capacity of plants to abate pollutants, while restoring unused soil and space to community fruition, turning marginal and decadent areas into life-giving green active hubs within the city. They will constitute a ground-breaking solution for sustainable land use within the city
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 testbed 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.
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 mobilise the urban creativity and resources to nurture the Urban Jungles.
- Municipality of Prato
- Stefano Boeri Architects - architecture studio
- Pnat Sr - architecture studio
- C.N.R- IBIMET: Institute of BiometeorologyNational Research Council - research institute
- Estra S.p.A- EnergyServices Territory Environment - public utility
- greenApes Srl SB - SME
- Treedom srl - SME
- Legambiente Tuscany - environmental NGO
The Prato Urban Jungle project will deliver:
- 3 Urban Jungles in as many pilot areas of the city that will transform yards, roofs, buildings, walls, and barriers into green elements;
- the transformation of vacant industrial grounds and surfaces into green gardens, with increased permeable and green surfaces, improved soil fertility by increased soil organic matter through desealing and addition of biochar and microbial species;
- increased soil biodiversity and carbon sequestration through higher presence of vegetation, and pollution abatement through increased presence of leaves, branches;
- improved microclimatic wellness through shadowing, evaporative cooling and altering the radiative properties of the soil;
- a network of vegetable spots that ensure higher benefits to citizens and increased education towards green ownership, awareness and care, and the promotion of more environmental-friendly behaviours through gamification activities;
- an enhanced community ownership of gardens and urban green by citizens, enterprises, stakeholders, together with - a governance model for replicating urban jungles, green buildings and vertical forests.
At the end of the project, the Municipality of Prato will be a more resilient and eco-sustainable city due to soil improvement through de-sealing, and through the development of climatic, bio-meteorological and societal ecosystem services by means of enhanced urban planning concepts.
April 2020: Junglathons to co-design the Urban Jungles
December 2021: Urban Jungles management guidelines delivered
January 2022: Establishment of Urban Jungles in the three target areas of Prato
June 2022: Governance model for the ownership of the Urban Jungles by the citizens