Imagine a huge industrial site. Dot it with plants of companies such as Fiat and Michelin a few km away from the city center of a city. What do you do when the industrial crisis hits hard and forces those companies to shut down the factories? Well, you have several options: demolish everything and start building houses and malls. Or, find a way to give the area back to its citizens. In this way, they can use it differently. The latter is exactly what happened to Parco Dora in Turin.
The location and how to reach it
Parko Dora takes its name from the river Dora Riparia, that crosses it. It is limited by the streets: vie Nole, Via Valdellatorre, Via Verolengo, the tunnel Donat-Cattin, Corso Mortara, Corso Principe Oddone, the Environment Park, via Daubrée, Corso Umbria and Piazza Piero della Francesca. If you are in the city center, you can easily reach it by bus 72 and 72/ (stop: Mortara) or trams 3 and 9 (Stop: Piero della Francesca).
There is a new urban park in town
In 2004, after an international competition, and the involvement of Italian and foreign architects, some 456,000 sq m of plot have been totally redeveloped and transformed into an urban park.
The park boasts benches to sit, relax, read a book, and chat. Paths for walking, skating, and cycling flank areas to play any sort of sport. A big red canopy was on the roof of a steel plant. Now, it is the perfect shelter from sun, wind, and rain. So you can play tennis, basketball or do gymnastics in any weather condition.
Graffiti are flowers that grow spontaneously in urban parks
Since the very start of the entire project, one thing was clear: street art would have found its perfect home in this urban park. In 2015, a huge graffiti work appeared on four former cooling towers. The street artists Max Gatto, Ludwig Dolo, and XTRM paid tribute to Bobby Sand. This Irish activist and politician, was a member of the IRA (Irish Republican Army) who died of hunger in prison.
The first tower depicts a beer mug. The other three are hats in Irish colors: green, white, and orange. Many are the symbols in this amazing work: from the clover that wraps the first hat to the rainbow ribbon that embraces all the hats as a symbol of peace. On the orange hat, you can spot a lark, the bird symbol of freedom that cannot be bent from captivity.
Graffiti as storytellers
Graffiti tells stories, denounces injustice, and provides a glimpse of the past or the future. In a photo-like mural, you can even spot one of the main politicians in Turin’s history. Camillo Benso Count of Cavour, who lived in the 19 century is, in fact, depicted with incredible realism. The sentence “I am a son of freedom, I owe her everything I am” frames him. A reminder about times, people, and places that change, unlike values that remain the same.