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Carlo Ratti Associati's new floating garden brings alternate mobility system to Swiss city Lugano

Switzerland Architecture News - Jan 17, 2020 - 11:24   10480 views

Carlo Ratti Associati's new floating garden brings alternate mobility system to Swiss city Lugano

CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati and MIC-Mobility in Chain have unveiled design for a floating garden that brings an alternate mobility system to the waterfront of Lugano in Switzerland

A new vision by the team aims to present disconnection between Lugano and its lake. The proposed plan for the Swiss city aims to increase the links between city and lake with a system of innovative public spaces – from a floating garden island to a new water navigation system and reconfigurable roads capable of responding to people in real time.

Carlo Ratti Associati's new floating garden brings alternate mobility system to Swiss city Lugano

With this project, the design aims to increase the number of connections between the city and lake by overhauling the main traffic artery cutting through Lugano’s shore.

Through the floating island, the congested waterfront will become partly pedestrianized, with the addition of a dynamic road system which can be configured with zero, one or two lanes at different times of the day, as well as shared surfaces with playgrounds and social gathering spaces., Electric autonomous vehicles and micro-mobility solutions will integrate private mobility into the new plan. 

Carlo Ratti Associati's new floating garden brings alternate mobility system to Swiss city Lugano

The proposed dynamic waterfront also includes a system of smart signage, responsive street furniture, infrastructure that produces clean energy from heat absorption, and a series of mobility hubs where people can select their preferred, shared mode of transport.

"Lugano’s distinctive waterfront, nestled between the Swiss Alps and the glacial lake, is an opportunity to create a responsive edge for the city, experimenting with novel ways of blending nature and urban space," said Carlo Ratti, founding partner at CRA and director of the Senseable City Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

Carlo Ratti Associati's new floating garden brings alternate mobility system to Swiss city Lugano

"Lugano is committed in redesigning the front lake and the city center for the future citizens, focusing on a growing attention to dynamic public spaces, the coexistence of different mobility vectors, the development of green areas, the role of the water in city life, the impact of the landscape, and much more," said Marco Borradori, Mayor of Lugano.  

"The path began in 2018, when the Municipality went public with its vision and objectives, identifying innovation as one of the key points for urban development. The next step will hopefully be an open competition to create a new master plan for the city of tomorrow. Our wish is that the vision could soon take the form of a realised project."

Carlo Ratti Associati's new floating garden brings alternate mobility system to Swiss city Lugano

The proposed regeneration was initially presented to private partners involved in the Lugano Living Lab, a collaborative platform to promote urban development through innovation in the area. Companies involved in the Lugano Living Lab and interested in the regeneration of Lugano expressed their support for the project.

The focus of the intervention preserves the historical value of the lakefront designed by Pasquale Lucchini in 1863, and envisions it as a transition zone between the city and the water. Among the proposed interventions, the vision plan outlines ways to physically connect Lugano and its lake – allowing the town to stretch out onto the lake thanks to a newly created floating island accessible to the public. 

Carlo Ratti Associati's new floating garden brings alternate mobility system to Swiss city Lugano

The rotating island would be connected to the city by a series of boardwalks, and it would host a series of public spaces, including a garden to preserve the biodiversity of Lake Lugano.

The vision plan for Lugano continues CRA’s research into reconfigurable urban spaces that leverage new technologies to respond to people’s needs in real time. 

Carlo Ratti Associati's new floating garden brings alternate mobility system to Swiss city Lugano

Previous examples include MIND, the former site of Milan’s 2015 World Fair, reimagined by CRA as an "urban living lab" – a new type of public space with plazas, vegetable gardens, offices, research centers, university faculties, residences and cultural spaces that will be integrated alongside areas for urban agriculture and the world’s first neighborhood planned for autonomous mobility. 

Carlo Ratti Associati's new floating garden brings alternate mobility system to Swiss city Lugano

In 2018, CRA also collaborated with Alphabet’s sister company Sidewalk Labs in Toronto to develop a prototype of a flexible paving system that allows for a greater degree of flexibility in how a street is used throughout the day. 

Furthermore, the vision plan for Lugano draws on research by the MIT Senseable City Lab on the urban impact of self-driving technology and shared mobility models.

Project facts

A vision for the Lugano lakefront

A project by: CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati with MIC-Mobility in Chain

Creative Consultant: Italo Rota

CRA Team: Carlo Ratti, Andrea Cassi (project manager), Alberto Benetti, Chiara Borghi, Serena Giardina, Federico Riches, Galla Vallée

CRA Graphic team: Pasquale Milieri, Gary di Silvio, Gianluca Zimbardi

MIC Team: Federico Parolotto (project supervisor), Francesca Arcuri (project manager), Lucia Bocchimuzzi, Loris Sciacchitano (planners and data analyst), Federico Cicu, Anna Vnukovskaya (transport modelling)

With the collaboration of TIRESIA, the International Research Center of Politecnico di Milano’s School of Management

All images © CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati

> via Carlo Ratti Associati