6th Year Masterplan, Genoa : A Catalyst for Change
Genoa has suffered from a loss of identity following industrial decline of the historic port. The rise in unemployment has caused the population to migrate following more prevalent job opportunities. A city constrained between the mountains and sea has become disconnected from the natural surroundings through sprawl of the built environment. This tension has had catastrophic consequences of natural disasters such as landslides, forest fires and floods.
Bypass that cuts through Genoa
Layering of buildings
One of Genoa’s Palaces
The dry River Bisagno
The aim of this masterplan is to release this tension, by designing a managed flood strategy that relieves the area from flood risk but also re-establishes the historic connection between water, land and city. The re-imagining of the Bisagno Valley and its position within the city, creates a new identity for Genoa and acts as a catalyst for change. A new offer to the Genoese residences, improving the city connectivity and encouraging new industry with Genoa as the heart of the Riviera.
Devastation caused by the floods
Current Aerial View
Below is a film created by our group detailing our study trip to Genoa, the issues the city faces and the masterplan locale.
Genoa is blighted by flood water each year, where, during extreme, intense rainfall, the culvert at the end of the discharge channel fails, thus exposing the southern neighbourhood of the Bisagno to disastrous flooding. As a result of climate change, Genoa has seen an increase in the amount and intensity of the rainfall that it receives and as such, flood events are becoming more frequent and severe in both damage and economic impact. In the latest flood of 2014, Comune di Genova were required to make €300 million available for repairs and a local resident lost their life, demonstrating the importance of this issue. The masterplan strategy seeks to resolve this through water retention further up the valley, de-culverting the final section, whilst also using many micro systems such as street swales and improved ground permeability. This will provide Genoa with a complete water strategy system that can cope with the amount of flood water, by discharging it into the sea with out damage to the city.
Water Management Proposal
Green Infrastructure Proposal
Due to the restrictions caused by Genoa’s morphology, growth of the city has historically spread along the coast, with the municipality being formed from a series of villages that have sprawled outwards. Typical density of Genoa is between 60 – 80 dwellings per hectare, with the majority of buildings being apartments with 1-2 bed flats. As a result of this sprawl, there has been 32.2% total deforestation in the city from 1930-2000 as any available land has been built on. This has increasedthe amount of impermeable land and, furthermore, deforestation has increased the number oflandslides, contributing to the devastating effects of the flooding. Replanting down the river and creating permeable landscape is a key design principle employed throughout this project.
The river flow acts as an identifier of place and location. This is especially important around the area of the, former ‘Brignole’, now Bisagno train station. The river deepens south of the train station, creating a more urban environment, this is in contrast to the character of the water north of the train station, which is much shallower and will flow much faster. Defining the areas according to the character of the water creates a very recognisable and clear form of wayfinding.
Genoa Masterplan Model, Courtyard for the city
The landscape strategy along the river edge terraces down to create informal seating. The view shows the cycle path down the valley connecting to the horizontal promenade along the coast. New 3-4 storey commercialbuildings front the promenade, creating an active frontage along the route.
Due to population decline, Genoa currently has 20% vacant residential buildings. In the project locale, due to flood risk, this figure rises to approximately 40% vacant buildings. No new buildingshave been built since 2001 and Genoa has a surplus of public health and educational services. In order to predict population growth following implementation of the masterplan, the population growth of Valencia has been studied. Following Plan Sur, the population of Valencia rose by over 200,000 in 30 years. We have calculated the possible growth of Genoa’s population based on these figures and found that by 2070 the buildings and services of Genoa would reach 100% capacity. Following this, prevision for future development is required.
The scheme concentrates on 3 main public spaces : Bisagno Station, The courtyard for the city and the seafront.
View across river to public space outside Bisagno Station