OrtiAlti as urban regeneration devices
An action-research study on rooftop farming in Turin
This paper discusses the role rooftop food gardens can play as urban regeneration devices, by combining environmental and social benefits and leveraging food production as a mediating function. In particular, this study focuses on the case of OrtiAlti, an action-research project based in Turin, set up to revitalize abandoned or under-utilized urban buildings through rooftop community gardens. The research is aimed at understanding the extent to which rooftop farming can contribute to urban regeneration processes if framed as a social innovation practice of place-making and urban resilience. OrtiAlti is indeed a metaphor, a way to demystify the old categories of spatial planning. It represents a new ontology that redefines the conflicting relationship between public and private sectors in the use of resources, such as land, that recognizes certain categories of urban spaces and activities as multi-dimensional, and that includes new economic and social actors as subjects able to produce values of collective interest for the community.