The area of Costa Sud extends from Piazza Sant’Erasmo to the junction at Villabate. In the 1900s, the territory was largely agricultural, punctuated with water towers and fortified farms around which residential centres gradually developed. In the 30s, numerous bathing establishments, open-air sanatoriums, and health-care facilities were opened along via Messina Marine. After the Unification of Italy, the coastal stretch began to be exploited for industrial purposes, with plants producing bricks and other building materials. In response to the rapid urban expansion to both the north and south in the 60s and 70s, land values increased abruptly, prompting more intensive use of the territory. Along the coast, construction extended beyond the natural limit of the Oreto River, the traditional south-eastern border of the city. Because of the constant dumping of contaminated debris from demolitions and excavations, the coast advanced, altering the city’s geography radically. Today the territory of Costa Sud of Palermo appears as a disorderly mosaic of village constructions and what is left of factory architecture, enveloping a rich ecosystem between the city and the sea.
Costa Sud is part of the section City on Stage of The Planetary Garden. Cultivating Coexistence, and hosts Ponte Luminaria, a new installation on the Oreto river by Roberto Collovà, part of the project Giardino di giardini. Azioni sulla Costa Sud (2018).