Gardens integrated within housing

Area characterisation: 

This NbS integrates urban horticulture in the Mirafiori Sud district,  a peripheral area of Turin, by installing 20 wooden boxes for urban horticulture on public spaces. 

  • Centro Mirafleming, a youth centre for children and teenagers managed by a group of nonfor-profit organisations (Cooperativa Mirafiori, Cooperativa l’Arcobaleno and Associazione Arcobaleno) that offers a wide array of activities.
  • Casa del Mondo, refugees centre (males, adults), managed by Progetto Tenda.
  • Crescere Insieme, a community centre managed by Associazione Crescere Insieme, which hosts disadvantaged families, offers activities for families and children, and distributes food to people in need.
  • Public space of via Morandi is a small pedestrian space in the back of a 19th century mansion surrounded by social housing buildings, and is located in the vicinity of a centre for the elderly
  • Public garden at via Roveda next to social housings perceived as neglected and unsafe.

The NbS aims to improve environmental, spatial and social issues in the Mirafiori district:

  • improving the urban quality and quality of life in otherwise neglected areas,
  • stimulating the active participation of citizens in the processes of urban transformation,
  • creating opportunities for aggregation and cooperation among citizens on issues of environmental sustainability and urban horticulture, technological and social innovation, care and sharing of common goods
  • fostering social inclusion, by addressing community gardening activities to disadvantaged target groups and creating opportunities for them to work together with other inhabitants of the neighborhood.

Planning and preparatory activities (administrative and technical procedures)

The preliminary phase of identifying suitable areas for the container gardens started in June 2018, with meetings between Fondazione Mirafiori, ATC and the City of Turin District 2. During on-site inspections around the district, together with officers of the District administration suitable areas could be identified.
After presenting the planned NbS to local stakeholders, the co-planning phase started by involving respective target groups in activities such as cognitive mapping, collages etc. This allowed detecting participants’ expectations and predispositions of the planned urban horticulture NbS. Visualizing different proposals of cultivations sparked discussions about different ideas and potential problems and possible solutions regarding the management of the garden.
A series of biweekly workshops at Crescere Insieme and via Roveda public garden was concluded with the installation and inauguration of the container garden. The installation of the wooden boxes eventually started in May 2021.

Co-design and engagement activities

Key steps of the Co-design and local community engagement process for this NbS included:

  • Choosing the technique of container gardening aimed at avoiding possible risks related to soil contamination. A number of different boxes available on the market were considered; the most suitable and cost-effective was proposed to stakeholders during the co-design activities.
  • Meetings with ATC and Circoscrizione 2 (City of Turin)
  • Joint on-site inspections with Circoscrizione 2
  • co-design workshop with members of via Morandi centre for elderly people
  • Co-implementation of Casa del Mondo container garden together with refugees hosted in the centre
  • Co-implementation of Mirafleming container garden and workshops
  • Via Roveda / Crescere Insieme co-design workshops
Potential impacts/benefits: 

The City of Turin provided additional funds allowing for more wooden boxes to be installed than planned.

  • The vegetable garden of Crescere Insieme managed by Miravolante staff produces food that is distributed to people in need by Fondazione Mirafiori, which represents an added value.
  • Since the implementation of the Via Roveda container garden in May 2021, citizens are fully involved, and volunteers are now autonomous in maintaining the garden. The high level of involvement of neighbours has prevented vandalism, which was considered highly probable before the NbS implementation.
  • Via Morandi container garden was implemented in February 2022. Despite some acts of vandalism, local stakeholders respond well. The farmer association Coldiretti donated plants to substitute the stolen ones.

The NbS has increased social cohesion and improved the urban quality of Mirafiori Sud district:

  • Social inclusion of disadvantaged groups
  • Increasing the perceived attractiveness of the area for both residents living near the gardens and for all other citizen
  • Increasing the sense of belonging and attachment to the neighbourhood
  • Producing food locally supports food security and public health
  • Contributing to greater biodiversity for pollinators
NbS benefits 
  • Restoring ecosystems and their functions
  • Increase Biodiversity
  • Increase accessibility to green open spaces
  • Increase communities’ sense of ownership
  • Increase social interaction
  • Increase well-being
  • Provision of health benefits
  • Social inclusion

EU Horizon 2020 project: 

Implementation budget
ProGIreg funds: 32.000 €
City of Turin District 2: 2.800 € - creation of the project
“L’orto tra le case” to fund more wooden boxes than initially planned
Total budget: 34.800 €

NbS classification 
  • Afforestation

NGO Fondazione di Comunità Mirafiori: