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Green cities and urban forests – Sicilian spring

: The project came about as a result of a collaboration among residents, artists and shop owners who are planning the regeneration of the area, which is presently in a state of decay and fully supported by the municipality.
: Italy
: Catania
: 182.9 km²
: 585,87 (World Population Review, 2020)
: 2013
: No Data
: Ongoing
: Yes
: National government
: 37.4922
: 15.0704
Biodiversity conservation or increased biodiversity
A network of streets, open spaces, sidewalks, atriums, courtyards, palaces in the heart of the city (including the Pinacoteca di Piazza Manganelli) was enriched with greenery through 500 new planting areas thanks to the green urban regeneration created by the Sicilian Spring project (Comune di Catania, 2017).
Increased quality and quantity of green and blue infrastructures
Sustainable urbanisation
Yes, the interventions at urban level for the neighbourhoods in Catania (and for sustainable urban regeneration in general) are regulated by the "Strategia urbana di sviluppo sostenibile" (Urban strategy for sustainable development) and regenerates the whole area which is centre of city cultural and economic importance. This might help the economic activities of the neighbourhood. (Naturvation, 2020).
Improved aesthetic value
Yes, green areas and plants are rendering the city centre more attractive (Naturvation, 2020).
Increased access to green infrastructure
Increased social interaction and inclusion
Yes, by means of the project management set-up and implementation, which include the elements of co-governance (blend of responsibilities between government and non-government actors, joint implementation (i.e. 10 designers took part in the green installations) and citizen-based initiative (i.e. tree planting). (Comune di Catania, 2017; Naturvation, 2020).
Increased willingness, participation, investment in NBS
Yes, by the municipality, private companies (designers), a non-profit agency (PromoVerde), citizens (volunteers) and local community involvement (Naturvation, 2020).
Provision of health benefits
Yes, it is expected that the project activities will boost the well being of residents and workers (Naturvation, 2020).
Education, knowledge exchange and learning
Yes, the project activities included a calendar full of meetings, workshops, laboratories, green parties (in shops, clubs, bars, bookstores), where all citizens can take the opportunity to share knowledge and secrets of greening. Two international conferences, one in Palermo (22 March 2013) and the other in Catania (23 March 2013), developed the topic of the relationship between gray infrastructure and green infrastructure, with a special focus on the experience of Mediterranean culture. (Nemeton, 2013).
Drought and heat risk
The Mediterranean Region is considered as a "hot-spot" of climate change, having been identified in global climate scenarios as one of the most responsive regions to climate change (Lionello and Scarascia, 2018). There is a consensus in scientific literature that average temperatures will rise across most of the Mediterranean Region, and that precipitation will decrease (Ulbrich et al. 2013; Lionello and Scarascia, 2018). Observed annual mean temperatures in the Mediterranean Region are now 1.4 °C higher than the average late-nineteenth-century levels particularly during the summer months (Cramer et al., 2018). Sutanto et al. (2020) stated that drought plays a substantial role in the occurrence of the compound and cascading events of dry hazards, especially in southern Europe as it drives duration of cascading events. Drought-heatwaves are affected regions mainly in Spain, Portugal, Sicily, according to the data used in their study relates to the summer seasons from 1990 to 2018.
Low aesthetic value
Yes, by green features integration into grey infrastructure (Naturvation, 2020).
Good health and well-being (SDG3)
Sustainable cities and communities (SDG11)
Terrestrial biodiversity (SDG15)
: Comune di Catania. 2017. Centro Contemporaneo: eventi e idee per rilanciare il centro storico. Information obtained: 2020-09-25. Available at:

Cramer, W., Guiot, J., Fader, M., Garrabou, J., Gattuso, J.-P., Iglesias, A., Lange, M.A., Lionello , P., Llasat , M.C., Paz, S., Peñuelas, J., Snoussi, M., Toreti , A., Tsimplis, M.N., Xoplaki, E. 2018. Climate change and interconnected risks to sustainable development in the Mediterranean. Nature Climate Change. Retrieved from:

Lionello, P., Scarascia, L. 2018. The relation between climate change in the Mediterranean region and global warming. Regional Environmental Change, 2018, Volume 18, Issue 5, pp 1481–1493. Naturvation project. 2020. Urbanhont Catania. Information obtained: 2020-09-24. Available at:

Nemeton. 2013. In Primavera la Sicilia é Verde, a Palermo Catania, Caltagirone. Information obtained: 2020-09-25. Available at:

Sutanto, S.J., Vitolo, C., Di Napoli, C., D’Andrea, M., Van Lanen, A.J. 2020. Heatwaves, droughts, and fires: Exploring compound and cascading dry hazards at the pan-European scale. Environment International, 134, Retrieved from:

Ulbrich U, Xoplaki E, Dobricic S, García-Herrera R, Lionello P, Adani M, Baldi M, Barriopedro D, Coccimiglio P, Dalu G, Efthymiadis D, Gaetani M, Galati MB, Gimeno L, Goodess CM, Jones PD, Kuglitsch FG, Leckebusch GC, Luterbacher J, Marcos-Moreno M, Mariotti A, Nieto R, Nissen KM, Pettenuzzo D, Pinardi N, Pino C, Shaw AGP, Sousa P, Toreti A, Trigo RM, Tsimplis M. 2013. Past and current climate changes in the Mediterranean region. In: Navarra A, Tubiana L (eds) Regional Assessment of Climate Change in the Mediterranean. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 9–52. Retrieved from:

World Population Review. 2020. Catania Population 2020. Information obtained: 2020-09-24. Available at: