The globalization of water landscapes

In recent years, urban regeneration projects have been carried out focused on river and coastal spaces near cities, with the idea of ​​rediscovering water in the city, with the aim of promoting a creative use of space and with ecological values. Even so, the objectives of these new projects have not had the expected result, since the political discourse has been one of sustainability, but, in reality, it is not known if these have been created to prioritize their use of leisure and social over their ecological benefit.

Several years ago, there was a risk of a complete uniformization of water landscapes with a solution based on grass accompanied by a sheet of water, and now it seems to be taking on an increasing role. Is this an acceptable solution in all cases? Is it sustainable? But one thing is clear: what works in one case does not have to work in another. A comprehensive solution is suitable for cases of deeply threatened, polluted and destroyed rivers, but it does not have to be imitated in average cities, with rivers with very different local geographic characteristics. The problem persists, and even more so in those cases in which urban green has been imposed to the detriment of rural green, or economic activities have been promoted that have destroyed the local heritage, or the natural shape of the river has been eliminated to favour a pipeline or a detour.

The urban regeneration projects constitute a positive alternative to the pre-existing marginal and degraded scenarios in the cities, since with the economic reactivation and the creation of open spaces with social potential they are able to reverse them. However, there are critical aspects that deserve to be identified and studied from an environmental point of view. Among them, it is important to highlight that these projects are often not accompanied by river restoration interventions or contemplate the preservation of local landscape identities. It is necessary that issues related to natural, historical and cultural heritage play a prominent role in this type of urban intervention. Fluvial spaces, although urban, also deserve to be studied, regenerated and restored taking into account the historical and local context.


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