The presentation of the project yesterday. Antoni Noguera third from the left.

14-02-2017Joan Torres

Palma's deputy mayor for the model of the city, Antoni Noguera, believes that Palma will be spoken of in ways similar to New York and Paris once the plan for the urban forest becomes a reality.

Noguera has presented the project to create this green space, the first phase of which will affect the old dog track. When the tendering process for this is completed, work will start in September and finish by the end of the year or early in 2018. It has a budget of half a million euros that comes from the law of capital cities fund and from the town hall's participative budgets (ones for which the public gave their preferences).

The second phase will involve the velodrome, which the town hall expects to expropriate in April, and the area of the Zuic factory, which is town hall property. The intention is for work to begin next year and be completed in 2019.

Next to the velodrome is the Es Fortí military club. The town hall, says Francisco Cifuentes, the director general for housing, is holding "serious negotiations" with the aim that Es Fortí should be better integrated into the city and cease to be privately held.

Cifuentes adds that the idea is ultimately for the forest to be a corridor that links the centre of the city with Establiments and on to the Tramuntana and which will also unite neighbourhoods cut off by the Riera torrent.

Some of what is there will remain and be part of this new forest. This applies, for instance, to the arches at the greyhound track and a whole bank of herbs which has taken root and grown over the last twenty years. The remains of the Arc dels Tints (from the thirteenth century) will also be integrated into the project.

Reforestation will consist of about 280 new trees, most of them oaks and hackberries. There will also be pines, olive and almond trees as well as shrubs. All paving is to be made from permeable earth, meaning that there will be no concrete. This will enable water to drain and reduce humidity in order that there are cooler temperatures. Once the trees have reached heights of up to fifteen metres, these will also contribute to lowering temperatures during periods of heat wave.

Rather than a black spot in the city, the forest will create, says Noguera, a means of fighting climate change. There are other black spots, he observes, such as the Gesa building and its surrounds. "We don't want to keep feeding the degradation of the city, which is why there will be transformation during the period of this administration."

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