If you’re not familiar with the term, placemaking is an idea that is sliding into the central focus spot when it comes to urban planning. It’s a people-centered approach to planning the usage of public spaces and was essential in developing the now permanent Precollinear Park in the center of Corso Gabetti and Ponte Regina Margherita in Turin, Italy.
Even before the pandemic upended life in Italy, the strip of space was mostly abandoned. It previously hosted a tramline that experienced a few evolutions before crossing the route off the schedule, leaving the bridge with no activity.
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When the pandemic saw droves of people looking for safe outdoor gathering spaces, nonprofit cultural association Torino Stratosferica started strategizing how to best use the space to the benefit of the citizens. With a priority for people’s happiness and well-being, the space was temporarily converted into Precollinear Park, a public area with seating and room to safely social distance.
The project immediately drew help from the community, with over 700 residents from all over Turin speaking out about their ideas. Crowdfunding campaigns raised over 2,500 euros to help maintain the area.
As a central location with arms connecting the four neighboring districts of Borgo Po, Madonna del Pilone, Vanchiglia and Vanchiglietta, Precollinear Park began hosting an assortment of events catering to entertainment, education and exhibitions. Now, it remains hugely popular as a recreational space where volunteers regularly participate in organized care and maintenance events. At least 60 citizens make up Volunteers of the Park who dedicate time each week to keep the park clean.
The park was officially inaugurated in June 2020 and is now a permanent fixture in the region. Seemingly every week, Torino Stratosferica adds more structures and furnishings in continued development of the space, including an informational booth, wood pallet benches, flower pots, seating, a platform for events and an increasingly full calendar of cultural and recreational events.
Images via Torino Stratosferica