Turin's Partner Forest Program
Set at the foot of the Italian Alps and the headwaters of the Po river, the city of Turin intimately understands the importance of climate action to protect the planet's natural beauty and rich ecosystems. The city has demonstrated its commitment and position as a leader in the global ecological transition and sustainable placemaking. Recently, Turin was named as a finalist in the 2022 European Green Capital Award, gaining increased recognition for its achievements and commitments to sustainability goals in areas such as urban mobility, public realm improvements, and sustainable procurement practices. The city has further demonstrated its ecological transition intent with its commitments towards achieving climate neutrality by 2030.
As a member of Cities4Forests, the Metropolitan Municipality of Turin has committed to a number of actionable projects. The establishment of Turin’s Partner Forest Program has helped promote the positive, multidimensional role that wood products can play in working towards a biobased economy and achieve the city’s ecological transition and climate neutrality objectives.
Turin’s Partner Forest was initiated through the leadership of Torino Stratosferica, a group of tactical urbanists who have been helping local residents build their vision for a public gathering space in the city’s Precollinear Park. This connection resulted in a collaboration, under the auspices of the city administration, to design unique, placemaking outdoor furniture from conservation timber sourced from a Partner Forest. In workshops held in April 2022, volunteers, students, designers, and makers gathered to build the furniture for the site dubbed the Hermada Sustainable Hotspot.
In March of 2023, community place making workshops continued at Corso Farini using conservation timber to activate an underutilised median strip along an important active transportation corridor connected to Campus Luigi Einaudi.
Working with sustainable forestry in Gabon
The iroko and tali timber brought to Turin supports the conservation of forests of the Congo Basin. It came from the provinces of Haut-Ogooué and Ogooué-Lolo in eastern Gabon, from forestry concessions managed by Compagnie Equatoriale des Bois, a subsidiary of Precious Woods. These concessions are certified by both Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). Precious Woods has led sustainable forest management in Gabon for over a decade, influencing green-standard setting national forest laws and regulations. Members of surrounding communities are trained and employed in forestry and wood processing, which is done locally at mills and kilns in the town of Bambidié.
An ongoing connection between Turin and tropical forests
The Hermada and Corso Farini place making projects connect the residents of Turin to the Gabonese community members who are helping protect their tropical forests through sustainable forest management. The local-to-local connection is exemplified through the furniture, which is engraved with words describing the values of the project. It is also communicated through an informational display. Because Precollinear Park exists on the site of a disused tram corridor, an old tram shelter was repurposed to display a “Tropic-call for the future.” Additional improvements to the park will provide further opportunities for Turin to reshape material and cultural connections between its residents and tropical forests.
Community volunteers that helped to deliver Turin's Partner Forest program at the Hermada Sustainable Hotspot (top) and Corso Farini (bottom)