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A Resilient Place

The Porto-Saragozza neighbourhood is the most populated of the six neighbourhoods of the city of Bologna, with 39,322 families and 69,416 residents, of which 8,553 are foreigners and 20,344 with a university degree. The average age is 46,9 years. The neighbourhood is mostly residential and quiet, without cultural venues and very little public life, although very rich in terms of heritage and natural landscape, with several villas and public parks.

A well known landmak is the Arco del Meloncello at the west end of via Saragozza, at the start of a portico leading up to the famous Sanctuary of San Luca, on top of a hill. In 2021, the 62 km of porticos in Bologna received UNESCO recognition and have been included in the World Heritage List as relevant civic identity.

Next to the Arco del Meloncello there are several parks serving as main recreational spaces, such as the one surrounding the public Villa delle Rose, managed by the Museum of Modern Art (Mambo) and the one surrounding the public Villa Spada, owned by the city; and the one surrounding the private Villa Benni used for social gatherings and events.

 

City Space Architecture’s headquarters is located very close to Arco del Meloncello and is the only cultural venue in this specific area of the Porto-Saragozza neighbourhood promoting community engagement, multicultural, transdisciplinary and intergenerational dialogues, engaging also artists and activists. In front of CSA’s headquarters there is small green spot, a left over space, that is providing some green relief next to residential buildings and a long line of parked cars. However, this green spot is intended only for transit and not for permanence, since it doesn’t have any benches or urban furniture that could facilitate its use.

This green spot is at the opposite side of the area along via Curiel where City Space Architecture implemented the parklet as a placemaking activity of A Visionary Place. “A Resilient Place” will develop activities on this green spot, creating a Biodiversity Minipark which combines nature-based intervention with creative practice, fostering community awareness on climate issues and public participation with residents and local stakeholders. The Minipark will include also several interventions from the Finnish artist Nina Backman and will host a Miniforest, which is the result of her artistic practice as part of A Million Trees to Finland. Backman sees the planting of trees as both contemporary art practice and a collective action to combat the climate crisis, thus uniting contemporary art-making with climate activism.

Activities

City Space Architecture will promote a cooperation with the Municipality of Bologna, for the co-creation of the Biodiversity Minipark, as a long-term urban commons, as part of the "Regulation on Collaboration between Citizens and the City for the Care and Regeneration of Urban Commons" promoted by the Municipality.

The Biodiversity Minipark in Bologna will be implemented at the end of August 2022, in cooperation with Fondazione BioHabitat and will be officially presented on the occasion of Cersaie, that will take place in Bologna on 26-30 September 2022, as a collateral initiative. Preparatories activities will start in May 2022, in cooperation with BioHabitat and the Municipality of Bologna.

 

"A Resilient Place" will be centered around the notion of “environment, biodiversity and climate crisis” and will develop a process to foster awareness and co-creation of nature-based solutions in urban settings. The aim is to engage community members of different ages, cultural backgrounds and interests, together with researchers and scholars, local and regional stakholders, artists and curators and to promote innovation in knowledge and thinking on urban nature, stressing the artistic component of the intervention.

The activities of “A Resilient Place” will start in May 2022 and will continue throughout the year, ending in December 2022 and will include:

- A workshop in Bologna with the local community and stakeholders to present the intervention and receive comments and feedbacks

- A lecture from the Finnish artist Nina Backman regarding the Miniforests and her project A Million Trees to Finland

- One community event to spread information regarding the artistic intervention, inviting also representatives from the Municipality of Bologna

- A cinema event at CSA headquarters for young students and researchers, to discuss about urban innovation and climate challenges, through the screening of selected short films from the Urban Visions Film Festival

- A series of open air events at the Biodiversity Minipark, to foster engagement and invite local residents to use and enjoy it everyday, with the engagement of artists.

 

“A Resilient Place” will also include two workshops focusing on placemaking and urban commons:

- In September 2022 in cooperation with Associazione Handala, to present the concept of booq, an urban commons developed in the city of Palermo (Italy)

- In October/November 2022 in cooperation with Simeri Laboratorio Urbano, to present the placemaking activities developed by a young collective to foster sense of community and support local actions in a small village in Calabria (South Italy).

 

“A Resilient Place” is also intended as an opportunity to develop community engagement, through physical interaction after the long period of isolation and confinement during the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to the third edition of the Urban Visions Film Festival promoted by City Space Architecture that will take place in November 2022. The Festival will include online free streaming, with the same format used for the previous two editions, but will include a one-month in-presence events at City Space Architecture’s headquarters, in the Porto-Saragozza neighbourhood and in the Miniforest. The Festival will also include exchange of contents with A-Place partners in regard of environmental activism.

Objectives

In accordance with the objectives of A-Place, the purpose of the planned activities will be:

- To promote artistic placemaking practices to foster imagination and re-thinking for local residents in regard of the places they inhabit, through workshops, art-based interventions and a rich case study of temporary transformation of space, both indoors and outdoors, as new places for social engagement.

- To create cross-disciplinary learning spaces with multiple perspectives addressing global challenges, with a particular focus on underused spaces and their potential to become community spaces through imaginative and innovative transformation, applying a research and art-based approach.

- To explore the role and exploit the potential of networked artistic practices by creating a resilient place for sharing knowledge and for discussing about the role of community as an agent of change for public space interventions, with regard also of the practices developed by the various organisations across the A-Place network.

Links

A Million Trees to Finland

Fondazione BioHabitat

Associazione Handala

Simeri Laboratorio Urbano

 

Contact

If you would like to have more information about these placemaking activities, please contact:

Luisa Bravo / luisa.bravo@cityspacearchitecture.org 

Participants

The activities will be carried out with the participation of the members of City Space Architecture in cooperation with:

Participants:

- at the neighbourhood level, local stakeholders are residents, local communities and shop owners, artists and art collectives, private and public institutions, civil society organizations and grassroots movements.

- at the regional and national level, participants will be governments and public authorities, private museums and foundations, cultural associations, non-profit organizations, researchers and students.

- at the international level: A-Place partners, artists and activists, researchers, Universities

Organisations:

Fondazione BioHabitat (Italy), Silence project (Finland), Associazione Handala (Italy), Simeri Laboratorio Urbano (Italy)

Collaborating institutions:

Municipality of Bologna