Transforming urban regions: Lessons from Turin and the Ruhr - KoMet academics organize a workshop in Turin on May 5, 2023, together with representatives of the Emschergenossenschaft

Originally planned for 2020 and postponed due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the one-day event “Transforming urban regions: Lessons from Turin and the Ruhr” took place on Friday, May 5, 2023, in Turin.

The morning session included a workshop meeting based on the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the Emschergenossenschaft (EG) and the Competence Field Metropolitan Research (KoMet) in December 2019 with cooperation partners in the city. The meeting was held on the premises of the Interuniversity Department of Regional and Urban Studies and Planning (DIST) of the Polytechnic University and University of Turin at the scenic Castello del Valentino. In addition to representatives from DIST and beneficiaries from the Ruhrgebiet, representatives from the Urban Lab (UL) of the City of Turin and the Department of Cultures, Politics, and Society (CPS) of the University of Turin also took part. Building on the presentations given in the first part, in which each partner introduced their respective research focus and expertise, teaching programs and transfer activities, the second part of the meeting was dedicated to discuss opportunities for further cooperation.      

The afternoon program included a guided bus tour of the main post-industrial hot spots in Turin organized by the UL. The tour itinerary included, amongst others, a stop at the iconic FIAT Lingotto factory, which was converted into a multifunctional space in the 1980s, and a stop at the Officine Grandi Riparazioni (OGR), a former industrial site dedicated to the maintenance of railway vehicles that has recently been turned into an innovation hub and arts center. The tour ended at the seat of the UL next to Turin City Hall, where Prof. Dr. Uli Paetzel, CEO of the EG, gave a public lecture about the Emscher conversion. The lively debate that followed was enriched by the participation either as discussants or audience of key local stakeholders, public actors, and academics, which brought in Turin’s experience in terms of post-industrial restructuring, river restoration, and urban regeneration. Particularly worth mentioning was the presence of representatives of the City of Turin, the Metropolitan City of Turin, and the Compagnia di San Paolo foundation.

KoMet representatives extended their stay for another day to undertake a river restoration tour on Saturday, May 6. The walking tour, organized in cooperation with the local tour operator Metrotrail, included the guided exploration of Turin’s four rivers, namely the Po, the Stura, the Dora, and the Sangone. Two particular highlights of the excursion were the visits to Parco Dora, a former FIAT site reconverted into a urban park and mixed-use areas following the daylighting of a section of the Dora River, and to the community urban gardens being created in abandoned areas along the Sangone River in the working-class neighborhood of Mirafiori Sud.

Please consult this Link for the detailled programme.