A GROUP PORTRAIT WITH A RIVER
On a Monday afternoon, mid-April, a sunny and warm weather marked the start of the INFRABLUE EU project in Torino, Italy. In the coming three years, the experts from Torino Urban Lab (leading partner) Lisboa E-Nova (PT); GRAD – European Centre for Culture and Debate and Placemaking Western Balkans (RS); Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon (PT) will collaborate on finding new ways to evolve blue-green infrastructure in urban context. In Belgrade, Lisbon and Rome, selected artists and researchers will use the power of creative imagination and evidence-based data to provide integrated solutions for public spaces along urban riverfronts.
The INFRABLUE project location in Torino lies along the riverbanks of the Stura di Lanzo river, one of the four tributaries to river Po, which runs through the historical center of Turin. The riverbed in April is surprisingly dry, the water level low, we can cross it bare feet. At this time of the year, Stura should be overflowing with water coming from the Alps. It is a clear display of what climate change means in the European urban context. Serious drought is a threat to Turin and its urban nature ecosystem, as Mr. Francesco Tresso, Turin’s Deputy Mayor explained to the INFRABLUE experts’ group. Despite the low water level, Stura riverbanks are currently where the city of Turin is experimenting towards climate action and social responsibility, by developing e.g an urban forest and supporting a local urban gardens collective.
Belgrade and Lisbon are facing similar climate change challenges. Although these two cities are located along much larger urban water bodies than the Stura (Danube river and Tagus river estuary, are very, VERY wide), the questions of the connection between the citizens, the “culture of river life” and nature remain. Through artistic production and urban research, INFRABLUE looks forward to establishing a series of solutions for awareness raising and cultural re-evaluation of the urban riverfronts.