Genova is the largest city in the Liguria Region and is characterised by a narrow coastal zone with hills and steep mountains in the backcountry. Genova is the third largest city in Northern Italy in number of inhabitants, as the population amounts to 607,000 people. This number increases to 850,000 when considering the whole metropolitan area.
Genova is plagued by frequent flooding which has resulted in significant destruction in the past, primarily due to intense rainfall on a highly urbanised landscape. The city faces numerous environmental challenges related to extreme weather conditions such as water management issues, heat stress, and water and air pollution.
Genova's NBS demonstrations
Nature-based solutions that address key climate- and water-related challenges have been implemented in Genova’s Lagaccio district, which is a central and densely populated district characterised by disorganised post-war urbanisation mainly formed by residential multi-story buildings and derelict sites. The Lagaccio district occupies a core area of Genova, connecting the old port, the historic town centre and the 850 hectare Peralto natural park with its historical architectural structures.
The Municipality of Genova has transformed the Gavoglio area in the Lagaccio district into a 10,000 m2 urban park. The former military barracks in the area have been demolished and the area has developed into a public, inclusive and sustainable urban park built by almost entirely nature-based solutions. All functions of the park have been designed to be compatible with nature and the project involved the implementation of 12 different nature-based solutions.
The park is intended to create a welcoming and sustainable public area through the implementation of green spaces, such as rows and bunches of trees and lawns. The new green spaces have been connected to the existing nearby green areas, which has created a green corridor in which it is possible to increase biodiversity and decrease urban heat stress, ensuring a well-functioning ecosystem. Further, cultivation areas offering space for urban farming and orchards have been implemented as well as a green wall.
The city has also improved water management and quality on site through innovative collection, depuration and reuse of stormwater runoff to irrigate new trees and other vegetation in the Gavoglio area. An infiltration basin and bioswale have been created to collect, store and clean stormwater before its gradual release into water courses, while permeable surfaces have been deployed to provide aquifer recharge. A rain garden, which allows runoff from nearby urban areas to be absorbed, has been installed as well as an underground water retention basin. Gabions, log crib walls and slope afforestation have been installed in the park to increase slope stability and prevent landslides.