The project goal is to rethink many aspects of the northen part of Piacenza, regarding Macro river system, highway, railway system, industrial areas. We aim to connect this neglected part of the city, with the rest, with a new sustainable web of networks.
ABSTRACT: Coming from different perspectives, different areas and problems, indicated in the systematic descriptive analysis of particularily, the northern part of Piacenza, we indentified the so called fringe barrier. This fringe represent not only a literal way of accessibility and negligance of this area, but a large circle which encompasses many important elements, including flooding problems of the river, highway versus railway barriers, environmental and social degradation, the gray atmosphere of industrial emission, the lack of public spaces, the long history of agricultural and industrial production and most importantly, the many abandoned areas. All these elements make this part of the city very distant and forgotten.
Our concept startegy, relies entirely on solving the fringe barrier and creating a homogenous web of networks intersecting through the fringe areas and connecting it with the rest of the city. We propose a new mobility system, a new water management system, a variety of landscapes and a chaotic system of activities.
DESCRIPTIVE ANALYSIS: Piacenza’s a city formed around the river and major roads, crossroads and railway tracks. While being historically essential to the city’s existance, these roads in particular, have eventually created more problems and barriers to the city itself and mainly lacking simple healthy connection to several abandoned and neglected parts that of once were considered essential. After analysing the problems, challenges and weaknesses in the area of the Po River and surroundings such as the flooding problems, risk of pollution and degradation of the Po River, decrease of social activity due to abandoned areas in addition to the barrier which the railway station and highways create between this area and the city center resulting in an area which is unsafe, hazardous and unwanted to go by the people besides air pollution as a consequence of industrial emissions, we determined the F ringe area which indicates the area which needs the reversal of that decline by improving the physical structure, the functions and, more importantly and elusively, the economy of those areas. The fringe area covers the connections and common zones between the Agricultural lands, Industrial lands, the Po River and the city where the train station, train lines and highways create a powerful link between the areas.
RAILWAY BARRIER: As long as the railway station (functional since 1859) is considered a major point of connecting two regions, its current state servesas a negative point of eventually creating a spatial, social and environmental fence between the city and the two other areas of the river and the industrial area. Social degradation is another issue implicated.
HIGHWAY BARRIER: Although Piacenza’s essential factors for its raise and growth throughout history are the crossroads of north-south & west-east important settlements, imposing the development of new highways, thiscurrent grid of roads has brewed a fence along the river creating a blockage borderline.
INFRASTRUCTURE INTERSECTIONS: This grid of roads and highways in the northen part of Piacenza, along the Po river, eventually has become quite present in the general landscape perception of this area, creating major intersections.
THE FRINGE: Based on the descriptive analysis of particularily, the northern part of Piacenza, we noticed a formation of a boundary stroke, which we called fringe barrier. This fringe represent not only a literal way of accessibility and negligance of this area, but a large circle which encompasses many important elements, including flooding problems of the river, highway versus railway barriers, environmental and social degradation, the gray atmosphere of industrial emission, the lack of public spaces, the long history of agricultural and industrial production and most importantly, the many abandoned areas. Although its many negative impacts this fringe has, looking back through historical timeline, we understand that this specific part of Piacenza consists of the most essential elements of the city actual birth. Piacenza was created along the Po River Valley, connecting Western Alps in the west, with Adriatic Sea in the east. Apart from that, there is the major crossroads of Milan-Bologna and Turin-Brescia, which historically has a great value. Those roads that once identified Piacenza, now unfortunately are serving as a city blockage.
With our project we will elaborate these critical points and turn this part of the city into a liveable space.
1. A skywalking platform structure upon the railway area
In order to solve the railway barrier, a struc-ture is designed as an elevated network of roads and bridges covered with a green landscape design, providing a lot of open green spaces, an easy connection with the city and a unifying green infrastructure.
2. A web of Multi-Scale Networks Creating a homogenous web of networks intersecting through the fringe areas.
A new mobility system, a new water management system, a variety of landscapes and a fine chaotic system of activities.
3. Enhancing the importance of permanencies in Piacenza
Based on the qualities the city already posses, we aim to improve and promote them by a new sus-tainable design in the existing abandoned or ne-glected areas.
This will include different types of landscapes and open spaces, new activities related to industrial production of silk, recovery of agricultural activity, regeneration of the river, re-thinking of the infra-structure systems and relatively colonizing the abandoned areas along the fringe.
SOFT MOBILITY: Highways and main roads will be characterized with permeable pathways which will avoid runoff where the water will be collected in rainwater systems underneath. In addition, systems of bioswales will run along the roads. Bioswales are channels designed to concentrate and convey stormwater runoff while removing debris and pollution. They are also beneficial in recharging groundwater. Bioswales are typically vegetated, mulched, or xeriscaped. They also consist of a swaled drainage course with gently sloped sides to direct the water. Rain barrels and cisterns, dry detention ponds and bio rain gardens are also elements of the blue network. Some of the stored water will either flow back to the river and the rest will be treated by the two water treatment plants already existing in Piacenza for further use. Several passages and a structural elevated platform, are proposed at the railway in orderto pass the rails and the highway intersections. There are 3 main elevated entries coming from the city, which are followed by the passages into the green islands in the platform. In order to increase soft mobility along the east-west corridors of northern Piacenza, additionally, a cycling elevated path is proposed, which passes through the new natural forest areas in the river shores.
WATER: The blue network consists of a rainwater catchment system with a Low Impact Urban Design & Development approach which is significant to our modern cities in order to create more sustainable cities. Much of the rain falls on buildings, roofs,roads, and other hard landscaping which does not percolate into the soil and is instead directed into storm sewers for disposal or runs off on streets collecting pollutants, pesticides, waste from industrial areas..etc and therefore reaching the river and polluting it. Impermeable surfaces cause urban flooding in many areas and generate contaminated unusable water that is directed away from potable water resources. During dry months, local groundwater can be depleted, and many localities struggle to consistently provide enough potable water to meet demand. Rainwater harvesting for nonpotable functions, such as gardening and washing clothes,significantly reduces both the demanded amount of the total fresh water and the strain on stormwater infrastructure. Therefore, we contemplated a design to work with the other networks in our project to co-work sufficiently and with low impact. The system is composed of solutions for the several areas in the area such as the river Po, industrial areas, the city, agricultural lands and roads. Due to the flooding issue which occurs frequently in the River Po, wet retention ponds were added parallel to the river separated by a high embankment to collect and store the water from the floods. The zone beside the river will also be a system of wetlands with macrophyte and native plants which works with the forestation system along the river attracting and restoring the wildlife and the ecological system. Adjacent to the river zone are the agricultural fields, where existing canals were traced and additional artificial canals were added to be distributed throughout the lands creating a system of canals to direct and catch the water runoffs from the lands and then connecting them to the retention ponds.
FORESTATION: In the forestation network, our aim is to create a diverse system consisting of several elements which will create various areas for humans and also for animals. Furthermore to also restore the ecological systems and wildlife in Piacenza by planting native trees and plants beneficial to attracting wildlife and creating a safe home for fauna. Natural forests will exist beside the river Po to create a habitat of land and water. Some agricultural lands which are not being used will be turned into mulberry fields for silk production. More space for mulberry trees will create a bigger habitat for silkworms and eventually promoting more silk production. Green areas along the mobility networks will be flower gardens which will be accessible by people to create sensory and fragrant areas. In addition to green networks which will connect the city’s main roads to the area across the train station which will make the streets greener and more eco friendly.
ACTIVITIES: Since Piacenza has a history with the production of silk for centuries, we decided to promote the idea of silk in Piacenza and to create a strong connection between the public, silks and textures. Several activities proposed in our scenario will have texture markets which will be right across the train station to sell fabrics and several kinds of textiles which will also become an economical value in the city. A silk museum will be designed in one of the abandoned industrial buildings beside the river showing the history of silk and a diversity of silk and how silk is produced, transmitting knowledge to the public. In addition to workshops creating a space to educate people who are interested in the making and manual techniques related to silk. In several areas, people can find open exhibitions displaying works of silkworms, different patterns and methods. One of our main interventions was a landmark zone existing on the Island in the river Po where we will have a silk pavilion with different activities could be performed there, one of which will be an area with real life thousands of silkworms displayed showing their progress of creating and designing their own pavilion (modelled by humans) by covering it with silk.
Yasmine Emad Farouk Ibrahim; Mennatallah Khaled Abdelwahab Othman Saleh; Sogand Samiee; Shiva Shabanzadeh