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Waterfront District

: This intervention is one aspect of a broader master plan covering harbours and seacoast in Palermo, centering in particular on the Cala coastal area. The waterfront has relevance for the city not only as a harbour, but for its physical-emotional, intellectual and aesthetic impact as well. In particular, the Molo Trapezoidale can turn into the new “water district” in which compatible port functions will be integrated with the current urban functions and the new residential areas together with the new cultural and recreational services, with new infrastructures connected to natural features such as green areas and trees. The aims of the intervention are the improvement of the accessibility and functionality of the coastal area and the harbour area. What the city would like is to improve its port functions, and integrate them with urban services, residences and local area services whose purpose is to provide a natural space which connects the city with the coast. To reach the above-mentioned goals, the city is willing to improve the area surrounding the coast by furnishing small green areas and trees which will contribute to the creation of new points of meeting in the area and enhance economic activities. (Naturvation, 2020).
: Italy
: Palermo
: 158.09 km131
: 648,260 (PopulationStat, 2020)
: 2011
: No Data
: Ongoing
: Yes
: Municipality of Palermo
: 38.1415
: 13.3715
Biodiversity conservation or increased biodiversity
Yes, the creative waterfront scenario will enrich greenery (i.e. tree planting) within the place which best sums up the regeneration strategy is the “Molo Trapezoidale” (Carta, 2012).
Increased quality and quantity of green and blue infrastructures
Yes, by providing small green areas (naturvation, 2020).
Sustainable urbanisation
Yes, waterfront regeneration will augment the sustainable development of the whole city. A large pier (Molo Trapezoidale) that is the principal interface between city and port, the true landmark of the city, allows the urban uses to extend as far as the water and marine imagery to create new housing styles. The main function of this area is characterised by its relational, cultural and recreational functions (the presence of the largest urban archaeological park around the site of the former Norman Castle). The “Waterfront District” project foresees the refurbishment of existing buildings and the redevelopment of industrial buildings for use as venues by creatives (artists, designers and musicians) who will make use of loft spaces as houses, workshops and exhibition spaces for contemporary arts and dynamic ways of artistic expression. The introduction of greenery within the canal and dockyard will relaunch them as locations for new ways of socialization and waterfront living. The masterplan is founded on a new paradigm of knowledge/action on urban waterfronts and contributes to the achievement of the key development factors: competitiveness, cohesion, innovation and conservation. The linking of new infrastructures with natural features such as green areas and trees will strengthen four "urban values" (real estate, tourism, nautical and ecological). This consolidation of urban values will provide support to the stronger economy (generate higher economic rent) and will thus ensure the sustainability of the plan and boost the attractiveness of the waterfront. (Carta, 2012; Naturvation, 2020).
Improved aesthetic value
Increased access to green infrastructure
Increased social interaction and inclusion
Yes, the area became a vibrant site of historical and cultural events (Carta, 2012).
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, through the integration of green features into grey infrastructure (Naturvation, 2020).
Good health and well-being (SDG3)
Sustainable cities and communities (SDG11)
Terrestrial biodiversity (SDG15)
: 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:

Carta, M. 2012. Waterfront Manifesto: from urban regeneration to “fluid city” planning. 13E Conference Mondiale Villes et Ports “Le Nouveau Temps Du Port”, France, Nantes, Saint-Nazaire, 18-21 Jun 2012. pp. 1-10. 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. Palermo Waterfront. Information obtained: 2020-09-28. Available at:

PopulationStat. 2020. Palermo, Italy Population. Information obtained: 2020-09-24. Available at:

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: