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From abandoned tram tracks to a public space in Turin

From abandoned tram tracks to a public space in Turin

Communal enthusiasm concentrates on converting a place into space

It was initially meant to be a temporary project when the City of Turin gave an area adjacent to abandoned tram tracks to a non-profit last summer so that they could do something creative with it. It turns out that it is now shaping up to become a permanent community space thanks to grassroots interest from the residents. The so-called Precollinear Park is located on a narrow strip of grass that lies on the Regina Margherita bridge and can be considered the city’s most ad-hoc green space.

The only bridge with a park

The site used to be part of the Line 3 tramway in the city, which due to some bad planning on part of the authorities ended up being unused since the new rolling stock bought to serve the tramlines turned out to be too long and too heavy for the stretch and the final terminal point. Things were also helped along by timely circumstances given the fatigue and anxiety felt by Italian residents last year when the country was the hardest hit in Europe during the first Covid-19 wave.

The city then handed the space to Torino Stratosferica, a local non-profit, which invested some funds and ran a crowdfunding campaign in order to clean up the area and install some street furniture, such as flowerpots, palette benches, seats, a stage and an info centre/bar box hut. These were painted in a striking yellow colour giving a certain uniform tonality.

The park, named after the Precollina neighbourhood, unites four neighbouring districts and extends for 800 metres over two sections, one of which is the space that straddles the bridge and then another continuation under a tree-lined strip in the middle of Corso Gabetti.

The association organized an exhibition which features 40 visionary images of the city in the future and can be visited at any time, free of charge. It is also planning more activities for the upcoming summer season.

One of the likely reasons for the popularity of the place was the fact that after the stressful lockdown people felt liberated to be in on the bridge where they could see the river Po, the mountains and the city while standing and socializing in the open air, even if the space is not so grand in scope.

This enthusiasm has given birth to a specialized ‘Volunteers of the Park’ team, which counts over 60 members already. A community force that is available to dedicate some time every week to clean and maintain the park for the benefit of all.

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