Located in the heart of the city centre and a parking lot for decades, Piazza Rossini was characterized by cementification and urban heat waves. Thanks to the work of students, associations and institutions, it is now a permanent green space for sociality and events.
The transformation of Piazza Rossini stems from a series of experimental actions involving citizens and stakeholders and aiming at the valorisation of the cultural heritage in the university area of Bologna, actions led by a strong need to restore the square to its social function, lost for years being this place used as a car park.
To test new uses of a public space, a temporary lawn in place of the parking lot was experimented, co-designed with university students and inspired by the historical material representing the past layout of the square.
After the positive response to this experience, the Municipality of Bologna decided to definitively pedestrianize the square in line with the city's policies, whose objectives also include to increase pedestrian traffic, especially in areas of great architectural value.
In continuity with the first layout, a second temporary design started in 2020 using green and lighting elements with the collaboration of all players in the area (institutions, residents, students); this second action, extended due to the pandemic situation, opens the way to the final permanent layout. In the general reflection around the sanitary emergency, the Rossini experience also triggered the important discussion around the future possible regeneration of urban underused spaces as rediscovered spaces for sociality.
Image credits: Municipality of Bologna, Margherita Caprilli for Fondazione Innovazione Urbana