There are the parks, institutional venues and public open spaces. In other words, the ‘business cards’ that a city shows off to citizens and visitors. Over the years, the use of Village Green® in the revitalisation of public assets has been first introduced, then extended and established. A minefield for many local and regional authorities, grappling with two opposing problems. One, that of guaranteeing a high level of decorum in strategic places of collective life. The other, increasingly short budgets, which need to be rationalised to maximise the efficiency of resources so as to avoid waste. It is on these axes that the use of Village Green® has proved strategic. We are talking about the only variety of Kikuyu authorised in Europe (with EU licence no. 39360), which, thanks to its characteristics – sterility, root system of 930 millimetres compared to the 640 of the common Kikuyu, 50% water saving, to name but a few – has carved out a place for itself in public projects, after having already gained a foothold in the private sector.
The Apulian case: “Perfect for public projects”
In Bari town, for example, this variety was used for the redevelopment of the green spaces of the regional council. Over 2,000 square metres of lawn in front of the institutional headquarters par excellence. “And the species has demonstrated a very fast establishment capacity, remarkable walkability due to its high robustness and great uniformity of coverage. As well as a strong resistance to abiotic biotic adversities”. This was said by Oscar Carofiglio, agronomist and landscape designer, who oversaw the development. “In the past,” he continues, “we also used it for public gardens and lawns of private villas. In the case of the Regional Council, we planted it in December, a period that is theoretically not optimal, yet the results were excellent, in addition to the savings in terms of water and maintenance”.
The Nicosia redevelopment
In addition to aesthetic appeal, the product’s versatility, which is inextricably linked with sustainability, also plays a role. It is no coincidence that uses range all over Europe with forecasts of expansion, as climate change forces all players – public and private – to think in new ways.
One of the most ambitious uses has been in Cyprus, in the central Eleftheria Square in the heart of the capital Nicosia. Here 16 years ago, the municipality wanted a redevelopment project to return the space to citizenship. The project, curated by the well-known landscape architect Zaha Hadid, saw the creation of a pedestrian area totalling 35,000 square metres, to be inaugurated in 2021. The Village Green® lawn – more than 5 thousand square metres – became the setting for the square, alongside which the country’s tallest skyscraper peeps out. “It was proof that the product works just as well in the public as it does in the private sector,” explains Costas Michael, who took care of the grafts. “Versatility goes hand in hand with aesthetic performance, and a tandem of this kind is excellent for spaces aimed at people.
The Andalusia case study: little water, high yield
So much so that on the other side of Europe Village Green® has been used for a public swimming pool.
This time in Gaucin, a municipality in Andalusia. “It turned out to be better than the species we were using before. The starting point is that rainfall here is low: it hasn’t rained since the beginning of the summer,” says Chelo Martìn, a biologist specialising in plant disease control and delegate for public green areas for Agro Carreras, the company that carried out the work. “It rewards the combination of factors,” she continues, “for a public swimming pool to have a product that does not need herbicides, chemicals and phytosanitary products, with a reduced need for maintenance and water, is strategic.
As a result, the use of Village Green® proves to be strategic at opposite ends of Europe. A species that allows effectiveness, aesthetic performance, high tightness and, consequently, savings.Crucial factors in designing the public spaces of today and tomorrow.