Location: Prato 

Country: Italy 

Contact Information: Antonio Avitabile, Municipality of Prato, [email protected]  

Website Address: https://www.pratourbanjungle.it/it/pagina1943.html   

  • Project Details:  

The Prato Urban Jungle project aims to promote creative and visionary urban design to re-naturalise the neighbourhoods of Prato in a sustainable and socially inclusive way. To this end, urban jungles will be developed in four specific areas of the city as an innovative solution to address sustainable land use issues within the city. “Urban jungles” are areas with a high density of greenery, immersed in the urban infrastructure, which multiply the natural capacity of plants to break down pollutants, while at the same time restoring unused soil and space for community use, transforming marginal and degraded areas into green active hubs. 

Thematic Area: Healthy public space 

Thematic Sub-category: Water as natural resource, Buildings & environment, Smart city domains for the citizens in green cities, Green Urbanism related to improving social relations. 

Type of Actor/Agent: Local Council 

Typology of Green Urban Site: City urban garden. 

  • Zaļās pilsētas elementi used – Water Recovery and Reuse, Green areas and Heat Island Effect, Bee-friendly gardens, Smart Environment, Citizen Engagement, Sensorization.  
  • Engagement and Consultation 

Target Group – Citizens. 

Public Engagement – YES. 

Consultation Tools Used – Proper public engagement. 

E-tools: – http://www.pratourbanjungle.it/it/junglathon-coprogettiamo-giungla-urbana/pagina1150.html, https://uia-initiative.eu/en/news/junglathon-imagine-your-urban-forest  

  • Innovation and Impact 

Level of Scale of Innovation: 4 

Abstract of Elements of Innovation – City’s forestation strategies have been discussed with local inhabitants through a series of Junglathon participatory workshops (Junglethon LAB) based on a design thinking approach. The Junglathon path consists of the implementation of 3 co-design cycles, one for each area of intervention of the urban jungle, made up of the following phases: 

  • Research phase & engagement 
  • Co-design workshop  
  • Testing & definition. 

Expected Impact High. 

  • Analysis: – Needs Analysis conducted. 
  • Benefits (B) and Challenges (C) 

(B) Temperature & Climate control, Improved Air Quality, Flooding & water Quality, More wildlife & better habitats, Increased biodiversity, Improved environmental resilience, Limiting impact of heatwaves by reducing urban temperatures, Improving physical fitness and reducing depression, Increased cultural significance, Well-being benefits (such as people’s perception of increased biodiversity and improved visual quality of the environment), Social cost savings (such as the impact of reduced air pollution), Improved visual quality of the environment, Recreational opportunities, Aesthetic enjoyment, Adjusting psychological well-being and physical health, Enhancing social ties, Providing educational opportunities, Improving physical fitness and reducing depression. 

(C) As other urban areas in Europe, the City of Prato is facing several challenges related to poor air quality, heat island effects, social exclusion, poverty and degraded urban environments. Next to this, Prato hosts several abandoned industrial sites, resulting from the economic crisis of the last 10 years.  

To re-launch Prato as an attractive, liveable place with thriving economic, ecological, and social wellbeing, the City Council has recently approved an Operative Plan with a new Strategy for Urban Forest, with the scope of integrating nature and architecture and thus limit soil consumption.  

The Prato Urban Jungle (PUJ) project aims to achieve two main objectives of the Operative Plan: 

1) the regeneration of disused and declining urban areas through the reallocation of buildings and spaces to new, more creative and sustainable use.  

2) the creation of community green hubs, providing open spaces, social quarters and cultural nodes; new high-density green islands will be created, as well as structures and areas for environmental, sport, cultural and social fruition. 

The PUJ project enhances urban greening, by delivering direct and tangible environmental, ecological, economic, and social benefits to the entire city. It will improve the health, quality of life and security of the citizens, and support the overall well-being of less privileged social groups. 

  • Resources and Transferability 

Teaching Materials/Resources: https://www.pratourbanjungle.it/it/documentazione/pagina1993.html  

Personal Skills Required: LOW 

Non-discriminatory Principles YES 

Transferability Potential High