Genova is the largest city in the Liguria Region and is characterised by a narrow coastal zone with hills and steep mountains in the backcountry. Genova is the third largest city in Northern Italy in number of inhabitants, as the population amounts to 607,000 people. This number increases to 850,000 when considering the whole metropolitan area.

Genova is plagued by frequent flooding which has resulted in significant destruction in the past, primarily due to intense rainfall on a highly urbanised landscape. The city faces numerous environmental challenges relating to extreme weather conditions, water management issues, heat stress, and water and air pollution.

Nature-based solutions to key climate and water related challenges will be demonstrated in Genova’s Lagaccio district, a central and densely populated district characterised by disorganised post-war urbanisation mainly formed by residential multi-storey buildings and derelict sites. The Lagaccio district occupies a core area of Genova, connecting the old port, the historic town centre and the 850-ha Peralto natural park with is historical architectural structures.

The Municipality of Genova is planning to transform the Gavoglio area into an urban park. This will be done through the implementation of green spaces, such as rows and bunches of trees and lawns.  The new green spaces will be connected to the existing nearby green, which will create a green corridor in which it will be possible to develop and increase biodiversity and decrease urban heat stress, ensuring a well-functioning eco-system. Further, community gardens offering green open space for urban farming will be implemented.

The city is also planning to improve water management and quality on site through innovative collection, disposal, depuration and reuse of rainwater from roofs and sealed surfaces. Ponds and wetlands will also be created to collect, store and clean water before gradual release into water courses. Permeable surfaces in hard landscape construction will be designed and deployed to provide aquifer recharge. Rain gardens are also planned which will allow runoff from impervious urban areas to be absorbed.

NBS Case Study

Gavoglio Park

Via del Lagaccio 41
16134 Genova GE
Implementation Date: 
Tuesday, December 1, 2020
EASME - Executive Agency for SMEs - European Commission
Comune di Genova
Design Team: 
LAND Italia Srl
IRE Liguria Spa
Area characterisation: 

The Lagaccio district is a very dense neighbourhood - one of the densest in the whole metropolitan area - located between the Genova main station and the steep hills at its back. The area is also characterized by one of the highest immigration rates. Public open spaces are lacking due to both the topographic conditions and the extreme urbanisation wave in the 60's and 70's. Nowadays, accessible green areas are very few, although the barracks are a potential link to the Peralto Park growing from the slope foot upwards. Pedestrian and cycle connections are also very poor. The high sealing rate of soils rises the hydro-meteorological risk in the area, especially UHI effect, land slides, floods.


The project aims to create new accessibile open spaces by deploying nature-based solutions. The main objective is to increase climate resilience of this densely built neighbourhood, which is prone to severe flooding of underground rivers and which lack green areas.


The main actions are: demolish most of the buildings and unseal wide surfaces; deploy draining paving; recycle demolition debris to form gabions (reshaping of slopes to improve accessibility); increase tree canopy and vegetated areas; improve rainwater drainage systems (bio-swales, infiltration basins, raingarden); improve connections and leisure activities.

Potential Impacts/ benefits: 

Environmental benefits: UHI mitigation, improved rainwater drainage and reduction of water inlet into sewage systems in case of heavy rainfalls, increase of local biodiversity.

Social benefits: New accessible and nature-like leisure spaces, green areas for psychophisical well-being of citizens.

Economic benefits: Possible increase of estate values around the park, decrease of flooding damages in the downstream streets.

Transferability of the result: 

The specific location of the demonstration project (former barracks, steep slopes, edge of urban area, socially-complex neighbourhood with lack of public green spaces) provides the opportunity to transfer the adopted solutions and the experiences learned to many other EU urban contexts. Above all, this project could constitute an interesting case for other urban regeneration projects as well as for densely built Mediterranean cities.

Lessons learned: 

Project not concluded yet.

EU funding (H2020)
Public funding (Patto per Genova from Cohesion fund 2014-2020)

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No. 730052 Topic: SCC-2-2016-2017: Smart Cities and Communities Nature based solutions