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18/03/2021 Comments (0) Architecture, Environment, Mobility, Other

Turin: an old tram line transformed into a public park

The Precollinear Park, modelled on the New York High Line, is the result of the temporary reuse of a disused tram line. 

The High Line – New York © Alex Simpson

Opened in spring 2020 to make up for the lack of green spaces, this 700-meter-long park (only a few meters wide, since it is a tram line) has been so popular with the public that it is currently extended until at least September 2021. It might even become permanent. Local schools are preparing to migrate some spring classes to Precollinear Park (so named because it crosses the Precollina district), and a season of public events is even scheduled.

This rehabilitation, in Italy’s fourth largest city, is an example of how abandoned rail infrastructure can be intelligently rehabilitated. But that’s not all: this green space is a joyful and festive illustration of how an emergency adaptation to a pandemic can ultimately become a highly valued item in the community, as this introductory clip illustrates. 

  • © Torino Stratospherica
    © Torino Stratospherica
  • © Torino Stratospherica
    © Torino Stratospherica

An inexpensive renovation

Much of the tram route was already shaded by an avenue of mature trees, and thick wild grasses were growing on the stretch occupying the central reserve of a bridge crossing the local river. So it didn’t take much – a few flower boxes here, a few benches and pallets to sit on there – to transform the overgrown space into a place that can be used by the public. The edges of the park will soon be planted with refreshing bamboo which absorbs carbon. As for the terminus of the line, it has become a small square shaded by beautiful tall beech trees.

Part of the transformations was also financed by crowdfunding, a sign of the enthusiasm of the inhabitants for this type of resilient initiative. The whole was produced for the very modest budget of around €20,000. 

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