TRANSFORMING A CARPark into an urban forest, the “Floating Forest” crowdfunding has kicked off
While the renovation of the spaces that will host the new Hydro continues, the cultural association has launched a project aimed at revitalising what will be its outdoor area: an online fundraising campaign to finance the creation of a green space for the encounter between people and the surrounding biodiversity, which has been active since Friday 14 October.

“Every garden tends towards a utopia in the dual sense of a non-place (οὐ τόπος, u topos), which cannot be found anywhere else, and a good place (εὖ τόπος, eu topos) in which to live”. Inspired by the words of Umberto Anesi, the Hydro* staff have announced a new project: the creation of Floating Forest, i.e. a garden for the outdoor area of the future home of the artistic-cultural association. Thanks to Bottom Up, the architecture festival dedicated to bottom-up processes of urban transformation born from the initiative of the Foundation for architecture/Turin and the Order of Architects of Turin, the idea of transforming a car park into an urban forest is ready to materialise, so that it becomes a green space dedicated to the encounter between people and the surrounding biodiversity; this way, an abandoned area could be reborn and become a place of reconnection with nature and the community, with a view to igniting the spark for a fairer, more inclusive and sustainable future. Specifically, there will be beds with different essences (including edible ones), tall green backdrops for shade, seating and other elements of street furniture. Much of this equipment will be self-built and will use recycled materials wherever possible, “because in the spirit of Hydro,” say the staff, “consumption is critical and reuse is always creative”.


While the renovation, restructuring and setting up of the spaces that will host the new Hydro continue (we remind you that its previous premises collapsed on the night of 2 October 2020, swept away by the flooding of the river Cervo), the crowdfunding campaign to create Floating Forest started on 14 October on the Produzioni dal basso site. Better Places APS is participating with the project in question, which was developed also thanks to the pro bono consultancy (co-design) of the Cavaglià studio in Turin, and to the collaboration of Fondazione Pistoletto, which owns the area where the new premises will be built. “A space is born, or rather reborn, in the city,” said Paolo Naldini, director of Cittadellarte, “to cultivate thought and organise actions that are culture. What is a city without culture? And culture is not just conservation of the past, but production of the present, in order to imagine a future. I am fully convinced that this is social capital. It is good for everyone, thanks to Hydro”. The campaign for the redevelopment of the outdoor area in front of the new Hydro space has a target of € 10,000 and will end on Friday 16 December.

“Floating Forest,” reads the dedicated press note, “is the name we gave to the Bottom Up! project to transform Hydro’s outdoor area. In imagining the new space, we immediately thought of transforming the concrete car park into a garden open to the community, a meeting place for citizens, and a corner of urban green, somehow natural even if within the fabric of the city. We have imagined an urban forest, a green space interwoven with the city, made up of mobile modules housing mainly plants with their potential biodiversity, whereas other modules are dedicated to street furniture, seating and platforms that people can use as a place to relax, study or work, and other multifunctional structures for small events, presentations, workshops and concerts. We imagine a space that becomes an opportunity for people to meet, which at the same time favours the connection with other living beings, increasing and hybridising the presence of greenery, and working on mitigating climate change, noise and air pollution. We think of this space – the note concludes – as an ongoing experiment in community empowerment: both on the imaginative side – with a participatory intervention design open to the public – and on the practical side – with the creation of artefacts through guided self-construction workshops –, to then become a platform for sharing knowledge and reflecting on the relationship between man and other: the city and the environment, climate change and biodiversity”.

Please click here to donate to support the campaign; on its specific page you can also find out details about the project and choose from different rewards offered by Better Places.

* Hydro is a cultural centre conceived and managed by Better Places APS that promotes visual and performing arts, social research and civic cohesion. Run as a community hub, it is the place where associations and individual citizens can express themselves, share perspectives and find the right conditions to develop activities and projects, contributing to improve the territory they inhabit.