Bari - NBS for greening the urban space

Grassland, Heathland and shrub, Urban
Nbs actions:
Topics (Keywords):
Start/End date
Design Team
Area Characterisation

The overall objectives of the Bari city authorities are to improve urban quality, reduce the urban heat island effect and manage storm water.

Improving green areas and their functions is a crucial part of achieving this goal and is addressed by several plans within Bari’s multi-level planning system. This multi-level planning consists of:

  • the city itself, which is responsible for statutory land-use planning;
  • the metropolitan area of Bari, which has powers only for strategic planning;
  • the Apulia Region, which is responsible for overarching plans in areas such as landscape, regional infrastructure and water resources.

At regional level, the regional landscape plan lists a series of goals related to urban and peri-urban green spaces, including community spaces in new housing developments, multifunctional agricultural areas at the city margins and green spaces in consolidated urbanised areas. The main focus of this plan for the central area of the Apulia region where Bari is situated is to develop the system of lame, which are karstic, geomorphological depressions or intermittent rivers. These provide a natural network for drainage which has been interrupted by urbanisation processes. The idea is that these could be rehabilitated so as to decrease geomorphologic and flooding risks and to create connectivity (“Paesaggio Puglia - Scenario strategico,” 2016).

The regional landscape plan builds on the 2002 regional urban landscape plan (PUTT/P) and the regional territorial landscape plan (PPTR). These plans aim to preserve and restore the landscape, recognising the role of biodiversity and landscape in the region’s economic and social development.

At local level, the strategic plan for the metropolitan area of Bari (“Bari 2015 Metropoli Terra di Bari,” 2015) also lists the repair of the lame within the city as potential ecological restoration projects.

In addition, the preliminary planning document (DPP) for the new masterplan (currently being drafted) follows the regional landscape plans in seeking to promote the region’s self-sustainable socioeconomic growth by preserving and repairing its social, cultural and environmental assets (DeBellis, et al., 2015).

At sectoral level, the hydrogeological masterplan of the Apulia Region Water Basin Authority also points to the importance of increasing the quality of urban and peri-urban landscapes, with a special focus on geomorphologic features of the landscape that need to be conserved and developed to increase hydraulic security (DeBellis, et al. 2017).


NBS 1: Operation Zero Degradation (Revitalising residual urban areas as green spaces)

The Bari Urban Living Lab and Focus Learning Alliance, organised as part of the Green surge project funded under the FP7, focused on the reuse of existing vacant areas in the city and created scenarios for transforming them into urban green areas.

NBS 2: Shagree (Green shadows programme)

The Green Shadows Programme (Shagree) announced in 2014 by the city of Bari aims to increase urban green space. It involves the pilot construction of green areas covering a total of 2 000 m2 on the roofs of certain buildings in the city centre. The project’s main goals are to:

  • find new areas for growing plants to help counteract the effects of climate change inside buildings and hydrogeological risk;
  • protect citizens from pollution.

The idea is that owners of suitable roof areas do not have to pay for the installation of the green areas or for maintenance during the initial period. A consortium of SMEs is in charge of running the project. The SMEs are financed by a living lab as part of an ICT-focused project entitled ‘Home — Living Labs’ 2017. The project has not been implemented yet.

NBS 3: Lama Balice Nature Park

The Lama Balice Nature Park was established as a protected area by the Apulia region on the site of an abandoned area, protecting one of the lame north of the centre of Bari. The nature park protects the area of the riverbed in the periphery of the city, acting as a natural channel for regulating water flow. It also serves as a recreational/cultural hub, while conserving agricultural functions. An administrative body made up of the mayors of the participating local authorities has been set up to manage the protected area (“Parco Naturale Regionale Lama Balice | Sito ufficiale,” 2015).  

Potential impacts/benefitis

NBS benefits
Transferability of the Results

Lessons learned

The high building density in the city of Bari places physical limits on greening initiatives, while the availability of land is hampered by the municipal authorities’ limited resources. Rather than using economic resources on many minor projects, city officials seek to focus these resources on finalising projects to improve urban green space and its sustainability (DeBellis et al. 2015). The existence of numerous fragmented green or open spaces created in the context of obligations for building permits (see below) poses heavy management issues, as the city struggles to keep account of these spaces.

Publications & Reports

With scarce direct financing for public green policies, green areas in real estate projects are established by private investors under urban planning permits. Green areas are often planned and/or established as part of building investments on different scales, such as Fuksas’s unrealised plan for the railway area (“Baricentrale - Riqualificazione Area Ferroviaria,” 2013) and the creation of underground parking with a green area on top at Piazza Cesare Battisti. At the same time, some green areas are the result of stand-alone projects such as the Punta Perotti park, which was created in place of demolished buildings on the coastline.


Yole de Bellis, University of Bari, Author of the Green Surge case study for Bari

Carla Tedesco, assessor for urban planning in the city of Bari.

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