Chiara Del Core 1 apr 2021 Articles 0 comments

The neighborhood garden

Unlike in the past, today, public green spaces are no longer considered negligible and aimed at filling simple residual spaces but constitute an aspect of primary importance that requires a real design process. It is therefore a good practice to follow some rules so that the public garden project is effective in concrete reality.

Parameters for correct planningAt the basis of each intervention, it is necessary to conduct careful research on the specific context; it is essential to know the characteristics of the environment in which we operate, evaluating their constraints and potential. For example, in the case of an unpleasant outdoor area, the garden can assume a closed shape, aimed at isolating the green area from the context. If, on the other hand, there are interesting urban views, an open or targeted composition is preferable, in order to direct attention towards the most valuable points. In any case, the garden must be an integral part of the urban fabric and ensure consistency between the built environment and the natural habitat.

Listed below are some of the parameters useful for ensuring design harmony in relation to the context.

It provides for the choice of an element that functions as a matrix with respect to everything that will make up the neighborhood green space. In some cases it may be the lawn related to the shrubs or a plant species that predominates over the others which, following each other, return an appreciable overall harmony.

In order to obtain a harmonious composition, once the design unit has been defined, it is necessary to maintain the proportions. The volume shapes of shrubs and built elements must be calibrated so as not to differ with the expanded shapes of meadows, paths and water elements. Furthermore, the right balance must be created between diffuse volumes and defined volumes on plants and shrubs; the former guarantee lightness thanks to the mobile foliage, the latter follow a precise and more formal design.

Each element that makes up a green area should follow a precise graduality aimed at ensuring a pleasant overall harmony. The correct progression between masses and volumes consists in the succession of different vegetation plans that manifest themselves with increasing heights ranging from the herbaceous to the shrubby and finally arboreal level.

The chromatic choice in the design phase is an element of fundamental importance.
Today the varied choice of products and colored finishes allow to achieve optimal results from an aesthetic point of view, provided you choose consciously.
Knowledge of the fundamentals of color theory (complementarity, contrast, harmony) is useful for design purposes to obtain pleasant views and scenes.

Urban green is selected based on the destination, shape and use of the green area for which it is intended. Given that the green is divided into green furniture and green
functional, there are some parameters that can guide the choice of specific species.
One of the first elements to consider is the geomorphological conformation of the soil on which it operates: depth, humidity, slope, exposure of the soil will be decisive elements.
The climatic and environmental aspects follow, those related to the urban fabric and aesthetics. The latter vary according to the characteristics of the plant species, such as foliage, flowers and fruits.

The garden as a pleasant and usable place for everyone In order for a place to be defined pleasant, it is necessary that certain quality requirements are met, which are fundamental for comfortable use.
In the case of municipal green areas, these elements are represented by four indicators: accessibility of the place, activities carried out, comfort and social value of the area.

The fundamental prerogative of all public areas is that they are clearly visible and easily accessible by all. Correctly connected by public transport, they must also be noticed from medium-high distances and have space for parking cars. Furthermore, it is essential that the internal spaces are practicable, easy and without architectural barriers.

Comfort and aesthetics
Safety and hygiene are guarantors of comfort and well-being in public areas. The spaces must be usable and provided with seats to be used if necessary; in fact, often the absence of street furniture in public green areas is the main cause of their malfunction.

They give uniqueness to the place making it desirable for people who return to it. In case of absence of attractors or activities carried out, the place remains deserted.

Social activity makes the space more attractive and favors citizens' sense of belonging in relation to a specific area.
Too often these good design practices are ignored and the direct consequence is the non-functionality of the space. In fact, many places are designed more to be looked at than frequented every day. In fact, often there are no attractors, the entrances are hidden and uninviting and the uncultivated vegetation obstructs the passages.
The internal and external paths with respect to the green area should be conceived in close relation to the context, remembering that the flow of people is directly proportional to the accessibility and visibility of the space.

The removal of architectural barriers
Since the correct design is aimed at the free and easy use of the goods, the total absence of all those elements that limit or hinder their use is necessary.
These are the so-called architectural barriers that often constitute the subject of numerous debates. Everyone must have equal opportunities regardless of the degree of motor and sensory ability and for this purpose the D.P.R. 503/1996, decree concerning the rules relating to the removal of architectural barriers in buildings, areas and public services.
The design criteria must be based on the principles of accessibility, visitability and adaptability; in fact, the handicapped person must be able to use independently and visit the public place without difficulty.
The elements considered by current legislation are analyzed below.

Optimal if they arise on a flat surface, the paths must have a minimum width of 0.90 meters and every 10 meters in length present larger spaces that allow the inversion of wheelchairs.
The maximum allowed slope is 5-8%, horizontal parking spaces are required every 10 meters and there must be no obstacles. In the design phase, the optimal width to take into account for the creation of easy routes for everyone is 1.5 / 2.00 meters.

The minimum width of the ramps must be 1.5 meters in order to allow access for two people in wheelchairs if they cross each other. In addition, there must always be a horizontal shelf measuring 1.5x1.5 meters every 10 meters to allow the change of direction.
The ramp must be smooth and a handrail with a height of 0.90-1 meters must be inserted on both sides. The maximum slope of the ramps is 8%.
It is also fundamental at floor level, a material signal of the start and end of the ramp that can be perceived by the visually impaired.

Typical section of a ramp with landing for maneuvering with a wheelchair
Drawing dwg

From the earliest design stages, it is of fundamental importance to consider the material-structural conformation of the external flooring typical of common areas and green spaces. It must be designed to withstand the overloads expected over time and the surface must be non-slip. The routes must be easily identifiable, sometimes even by resorting to a chromatic or material differentiation, provided that it does not cause instability or differences in level. The latter are allowed up to a maximum height of 2.5 cm and if it is greater, connecting ramps with a maximum slope of 15% must be inserted.

The information signage is optimal in the common green areas and allows users to understand if particular solutions have been adopted that facilitate the use by the disabled.
For the blind, it is necessary to insert sound signs or signs written in Braille useful for orientation and understand any dangerous situations.

Targa tattile informativa 1   Targa tattile informativa 2

Example of information tactile plaques   

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