Since 2019, ToNite has been working in changing and transforming the livability of the neighborhoods along the Dora (Aurora and a portion of the Vanchiglietta neighborhood near the University L. Einaudi Campus), pursuing the goal of improving the quality of life and the perception of safety, especially in the evening hours.
Last Thursday 6th July 2023, on the occasion of the final event, the City of Turin presented the results and impacts achieved by the project to citizens and local stakeholders, as well as the future development and opportunities for the area.
Local authorities took part at the meeting: Chiara Foglietta, Councilor for Innovation and the Ecological and Digital Transition; Giulia Carluccio, the Pro-Rector of the University of Turin; and Luca Deri, the President of District 7. Also the project partners and representatives of local projects took part.
ToNite addressed the issue of livability of public spaces and the perception of safety with a view to social innovation and urban regeneration, with an approach aimed at boosting the potential of the territory and the involvement of local communities, who promoted the implementation of social, artistic and cultural initiatives and services on the territory.
Among the achieved results, over 50 entities and local actors – selected through public call and beneficiaries of European funding – organized into 19 local projects, promoted the activation of new services and proximity projects, making it possible to initiate a change in attendance, in the usage and in the narration of the public spaces along the Dora river. Social and cultural animation, sport and street education in urban spaces, itinerant actions of assistance and social orientation for the most fragile people, the regeneration and co-management of previously abandoned public spaces, are just some of the areas of action in which the local community has become the protagonist.
“ToNite – declared Chiara Foglietta, Councilor for Innovation and Ecological and Digital Transition – was a space for experimentation that made it possible to intervene on Turin’s Lungo Dora both with works on the public space and with new services for citizens. It was designed to make neighborhoods more livable in the evening, improving public services and offering new opportunities for creative businesses. What inspired us, was the idea of creating a more beautiful, sustainable and inclusive city. With the public call for contributions, the City has set itself the objective of working on a widespread infrastructure of proximity, through the participation of local communities and the enhancement of the potentialities of the area. The experience gained with the Urban Innovative Actions project has led us to design a measure of the PN meter, recently approved by the Council, precisely designed to support community presidia, which we consider fundamental for the development of the territories, with the inclusion of 2 million and 400 thousand euros to be dedicated to the Turin area, born from the comparison with the realities of the third sector“.
Participation – one of the three areas of impact of the project – as a greater creation of collaborations and system networks, in public life and in the application of co-management approaches was significant. From this point of view, the involvement of local communities and stakeholders was a crucial aspect: in particular, the project was able to activate the commitment of highly strategic actors, such as schools (there are 7 structures involved between schools and Universities), foreign communities (the Islamic community and the Chinese community) and small associations.
To give a measure of the local community activation, over 2,200 events and initiatives were organized by local projects open to citizens and held in the ToNite target area. A total of 30,000 citizens took part in the proposed activities and over 6,000 square meters of public and private spaces regenerated by the community. In addition, 4 pacts of ollaboration have been stipulated, the civic negotiation between associations and/or informal groups of citizens and the City of Turin, for the co-management and care of a common good, for the redevelopment of public spaces as social. From the Pellegrino Garden of Borgo Dora, where the Porta Palazzo Community Foundation has co-designed cultural and social events with a group of citizens to the Community Gatehouse of the Gardens on the Dora, an open-air study room and a small arena for debates and shows. From the Salotto di Miranda, an urban garrison in via Buscalioni, a meeting and aggregation place, and an area dedicated to the game of “petanque”, to the Yalla Aurora project, which is responsible for a flowerbed in the Alimonda Garden. Finally, 2 disused spaces were regenerated and made available to the community: the Yalla Aurora youth center in via Chivasso 10C, an educational, social and service center run by young people, and the Leone Ginzburg Campus in via Cigna 37, a popular university.
In terms of knowledge acquisition – second area of impact of the project – ToNite, on the one hand has provided the City with new tools for reading and analyzing territorial dynamics, and on the other has contributed to the construction of a new narrative of the neighborhoods along the Dora in starting from the history of the places and the stories of those who live in the neighborhood (the main tools were the Tellingstones app for identifying nearby points of interest and collecting stories through the initiative “The river of biographies” which then evolved in the docu-film “The Thousand Nights” by director Di Polito).
The improvement of the livability of urban spaces – the third area of impact of the project – concerns the change that ToNite wanted to generate in the use and enjoyment of some public spaces in the target areas, in order to bring beauty, light points, supports for socializing in areas with evening and night-time potential still unexpressed or perceived as dangerous in the evening. In particular, there are 3 urban regeneration interventions completed or under construction. The first intervention redeveloped the urban space of Viale Ottavio Mai, transforming it into an accessible avenue for pedestrians and cyclists and making it a safe and pleasant place to visit, especially in the evening and at night. Furthermore, the University of Turin has extended the opening hours of the study rooms overlooking the avenue until 11 pm, thus guaranteeing the safe use of the space and further enhancing the potential of the area. The second intervention concerned the Giardino Pellegrino, in Borgo Dora with the renovation of the flooring, the installation of new street furniture elements and new play equipment in the children area. The third intervention instead focuses on the public space along the banks of the Dora river, in the area between Corso Principe Oddone and the L. Einaudi Campus, where, for a length of about 2.5 km, multifunctional street furniture will be installed, a landmark for the Lungo Dora, which combine seating, lighting and signage of significant places and routes in the area.
The legacy of the ToNite project is much wider than the direct results of the action carried out by its partners and by all the actors of the local community involved. The districts adjacent to the Dora river, in fact, are today at the center of an integrated work on several levels and aimed at pursuing and further improving the livability objectives on which the UIA project has turned the spotlight.
As part of ToNite, an inter-sectoral table was set up within the municipal administration made up of 6 departments and divisions of the City of Turin, in order to coordinate the planning and implementation phases of the next scheduled public investments and future opportunities of development.
Three new different investment programs will intervene in the project area (React EU, PinQua – National Innovative Program for the Quality of Living, PIU – Integrated Urban Plan), divided into 9 strategic projects already approved and largely already underway, for a value of around 10 million euros of public interventions for 2023, and a further 20 million euros from 2024 onwards.
The main interventions will concern the quality of living, helping to redevelop and increase the social housing stock. They will redevelop the public space through new pedestrian and cycle paths with traffic calming actions and the insertion of new greenery and will affect livability and safety by working on inclusion, social relationships and the reduction of inequalities. Interventions are also planned on the headquarters of the neighborhood libraries and on the urban fabric that hosts them.
At the conference, the project partners Anci, Efus, Engineering, Espereal, Experientia, Fondazione Piemonte Innova and SocialFare presented the actions, the activities carried out and the results achieved, also in terms of long-term effects on the internal process innovation public administration and impact on the territory.