The Turia River garden is located in Valencia, Spain, and runs through the central axis of the city. It is not a masterpiece of landscape design, but it does provide a sense of the spirit of Valencia.
Since the city’s foundation by the Romans, Valencia grew around the Turia River. Over the centuries, the river caused many floods. In 1957, a particularly damaging flood encouraged the government of the time to divert the river around the city. The initial plan was to use the urban space vacated by the river as a highway, a plan that was approved in 1973. However, substantial protests by the local populace were successful in altering this decision to use the space as a large, elongated park.
In 1979, a national competition was held for the design of the proposed park. This was won by Ricardo Bofill, who presented his final masterplan to the city in 1982. The 8.5km long, sunken park is designed as a sequence of eighteen independent gardens, punctuated by a series of existing and new bridges.
The first segment of park connects it to the city, and also the Valencia Wildlife Park. It is primarily used for strolling, jogging, cycling, resting and enjoying the lake.
There are numerous activities that take place along the length of Turia park, facilitated by sporting facilities, bicycle lanes, running tracks, soccer fields, rollerskating areas, a giant chessboard, a skateboarding zone and a rugby field. In addition to ample green landscaping, there are ponds, fountains, cafes and towards the southern end, the Arts and Sciences Precinct designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela.
Maintenance costs of the park are half those of other parks in Valencia thanks to the use of native plants and efficient systems for watering and cleaning.