Comitato Dora Spina Tre (tre means 3) is a volunteer committee founded in December 2004 by a group of people living in Torino who believe in personal involvement in the social life of their neighbourhood. We think that when great urban changes take place, people must be consulted, and really get involved in their planning and realization, so that the necessary public monetary investments and priorities can be identified by those who know what the area needs, and by those who will be the primary users of everything that they will be provided with.
We think that the urban transformations plan called Spina 3 has not had this positive characteristic so far. People have not been involved, neither have they been previously sufficiently informed.
The city of Turin is situated in the North-Western part of Italy and it is an important industrial centre. The territory of Spina 3 is an area of one million square metres in the northern part of the city, not far from the city centre.
Starting from the last decade of the 19th century, the river Dora Riparia (whose water was used for power) favoured the establishment of important industries like Ferriere FIAT (iron metallurgy), Michelin (tyres), Paracchi (carpets), Superga (shoes), and Officine Savigliano (electrical and railway manufactured goods). For instance, Savigliano built the iron roof of the main Milano railway station and the rails for the Trans-Siberian railway.
All these great factories were disbanded in the last years of the 20th Century and thousands of jobs were lost.
The Municipal Administration and the various companies that own the buildings made a plan of “rebirth” for the area. This plan, named Spina 3, can take advantage of considerable economic resources, both from the Italian government and the European Union, in order to revitalize this former industrial area and the surrounding neighbourhoods. A lot of funds are available, about 132 million euros have been allocated so far. Both old and new residents have great expectations. People that have been living around the industries for a long time, many of them former workersand the new residents of the area, hope that this one time opportunity also solves the chronic lack of public services in these suburbs.
Our commitment as Committee Dora Spina 3 was initiated by reading some of the original plans of Spina 3. We read about huge and very tall buildings, the new Catholic cathedral, and many supermarkets, but no new public buildings except a primary school, which today has yet to be built.
Also, at the centre of all this concrete area, the Dora Park would be the “final touch”. It is difficult, though, to imagine it as an area rich with greenery, both for the areas which were formerly industrial and for the wide block of concrete covering a part of the river. This block of concrete was meant to support the buildings of the ironworks and it is still there, even though the former owner was committed to remove it. So it remains there to affect the quality, the look and the integrity of about one third of the park.
In the meantime, thousands of residents are moving into to the Spina 3 new houses. More than 10,000 have already moved into the area or are waiting to enter their new properties. More have come or will come to work in the new post-industrial activities allocated in Spina 3.
It is therefore more and more necessary to adjust to the increased needs of the population: public schools, transport, sporting sites, post offices, meeting centres, cultural centres for young and old people, etc. must be constructed much more quickly than is happening at present.
We also proposed the creation of a Museum dedicated to the history of the workers and industries of the site. This is also the history of the social struggles, of the Unions and of the Resistance movement against the fascist dictatorship. We deem it necessary to transfer these memories to the next generations.
We think that, after having fostered in the first phase of the plan the economical interests of the various builders (private or cooperative), it is now necessary to give priority to the needs of the old and new residents of this part of Turin.
We therefore suggest to the people of Spina 3 and the neighbourhood that they self-organize, and also participate in the meetings and in the activities of our committee.
We cannot be satisfied with the institutional committee, named ‘Parco Dora’, which has been constituted by the Municipal Administration in 2006 and is mostly composed of public administrators and private builders. In our opinion, the 4th and 5th Municipality and the Town Council are the administrators to whom the people should refer. This istitutional committee closed his activity in 2015.
Since its foundation, our volunteer committee has intervened with respect to the various environmental problems. For example, the dust from numerous yards and demolition works, the cutting down of trees, the quality and equipment of the future park, the remediation of former industrial areas and of the local surface and ground waters. The committee and has kept on constantly informing the residents with the result of such environmental activities, and has participated in various meetings with environmental Associations.
We have organized two demonstrations for getting the construction works started of a day hospital (outpatients dept.) that will be located in a part of the former building of the Superga factory. Construction of this hospital has been delayed for 12 years.
We have also participated in the only two public meetings about Spina 3 held at the Town Council, to present our proposals.
We have collected more than 550 signatures on a petition in favour of the ancient neighbourhood of Giachino and Tesso streets and we have distributed in 2007 a questionnaire asking the new Spina 3 residents for their opinions and proposals. The results of this questionnaire are available for everybody to be read at http://www.comitatodoraspina3.it/.
In November 2009, we organized a meeting with some environmental associations to make the voice of the old and new residents heard regarding the problems concerning the new area.
In April 2010, we handed hundreds of signatures to the Municipal Administration, requesting the construction of a new public library in Spina 3. This could become an important cultural meeting point for old and young people living in the suburban area.
In 2014 we have called a contest of ideas for the Parco Dora (the five better ideas have been presented to the Muncipal Administration).
One of the first results of our activity can be considered the new primary school that opened “temporarily” in September 2007 in the new buildings.
Interest has also increased in the social issues of the area as a result of our activities.
On our website you can find our letters and documents, a brief history of the Spina 3 project (from our point of view) , many declarations, press reviews with a collection of articles about Spina 3 and the activity of our Committee, and some “before” and “after” pictures, of the site.
Some areas of the Dora Park must be still inaugurated. Our Committee has introduced many proposal to make the park more green, surer and more enjoyable for the people of Spina 3. Our proposals have been made with the citizens that are in contact with our Committee and with the Associations of disabled persons so that the park is a place totally frequentable also by the people that have a reduced motor or visual ability.
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