Green is health
Prato Green Hospital project, which envisages a series of interventions in favor of the forestation of “Nuovo Ospedale Santo Stefano” in Prato, is one of the projects available on the Prato Forest City (PFC) platform. PFC is the municipal administration's online crowdfunding platform created in the framework of Prato Urban Jungle (PUJ), under the Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) programme, of which aim is to renovate the districts of Prato by developing areas with a high density of green - the so-called urban jungles.
Prato Green Hospital, the new urban park of “Nuovo Ospedale Santo Stefano”
The Municipality of Prato, in 2018, adopted the Action Plan on Urban Forestry inserted in the new Operational Plan. In this framework, the Urban Innovative Action (UIA) project - Prato Urban Jungle (PUJ) - aims to renovate the districts of Prato by redesigning areas with a high-density of greenery, immersed in the urban structure, which multiply the natural capacity of plants to break down pollutants, restore the use of soil and space in the community and transform marginal and decaying areas into green hubs within the city.
The ambitious plan of the Municipality is to plant 190.000 trees in Prato. This will be facilitated by the digital platform Prato Forest City (PFC). PFC is the new strategic approach to urban planning developed by the Municipality of Prato together with Treedom, a technical partner of PUJ. PFC allows every citizen to monitor and actively participate in the actions of the Municipality for the promotion of urban green. The platform helps in finding information on how to collaborate with the Municipality. Everyone can either donate in support of an urban forestry intervention, but also propose a new forestry initiative themselves.
The aim was to create a digital platform through which citizens can support both with donation, but also with active participation to the forestry plan of the City of Prato
Elisabetta Meconcelli, Treedom
The Municipality, considering that the urban regeneration of greenery is also equivalent to an improvement in health, has signed a joint declaration of intent with USL Toscana Centro and the AMI Foundation, thus becoming partners in this initiative. The USL Toscana Centro believes that the characteristics of the spaces can have beneficial effects on both patients and staff. In particular, the environment has a great impact on our health, reflecting on the effectiveness and quality of care. Therefore, reducing the conditions and situations of tension and stress by raising the environmental quality perceived by users has become an imperative that the Health Authority can no longer escape from.
More than 30 forestry projects have already been planned, and these include Prato Green Hospital. This initiative was promoted by the Health Department of the “Nuovo Ospedale Santo Stefano” of Prato, which aims to equip the health facility with new green areas of an adequate level for the function and the importance of the place, in order to obtain a significant increase in both the quality of hospitality and the environmental value of the area. The intervention intends to increase the naturalness index of the area by promoting the fundamental functions that are now recognised as green: creation of environmental relations for a green "system" in the area; beneficial effects on climate and human health components; reduction of heat island effects; improvement of the acoustic climate. Additionally, it proposes a landscape arrangement of a natural asset capable of a more relaxing impact, which improves the perception of hospitality for the users and operators of the hospital. This, thanks also to the installation of a varied and irregular vegetation whose value, both environmental and ornamental, is able to enhance the many aspects of the healing function that greenery exercises.
The “Nuovo Ospedale Santo Stefano” of Prato has undergone a significant transformation. In December 2020, all the internal trees in the lobby were substituted; in May 2021, the internal garden, named “the donors' garden” was fully refurbished, with trees and shrubs that grow over time and change colours throughout the seasons with an harmonised sense, and most importantly are native and not allergenic. This garden has given back a fruitable outdoor place to operators, who can now go outside and breathe fresh air during their breaks.
The first intervention of Prato Green Hospital with the help of donations through PFC concerns the forestation of the pediatric emergency unit. The unit needs to be redesigned with specific interventions to accompany children on their way to the unit. Wooden areas, and a small playground will also be added.
The “Nuovo Ospedale Santo Stefano” of Prato takes care of people and helps them on their life journey. Therefore, it is important to guarantee a place in which there is greenery that will be a part of the health process, especially in the most acute moment of their illness. Additionally, the green will also offer a nice area for the operators where to have breaks or lunch with nice weather, and a healing function by allowing patients to have rehabilitation programs outside the hospital.
Prato with the new urban park of Santo Stefano Hospital unit continues to redefine the relationship between the built environment and natural space. This park is a clear example for building a healthy city.