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© 2009 - 2018 Systemarchitects Partnership

Revitalisation of Garraf Natural Park

Sitges Municipality, Province of Barcelona, Spain (2009)

ISOCARP Activity under the UPAT Programme (Urban Planners Advisory Team)

Introduction

El Garraf Natural Park and the Olérdola County Park make up the southwest spur of what is known as the Catalan Coastal Mountain System, which extends over the counties of El Baix de Llobregat, L´Alt Penedès and El Garraf. Its boundaries are the lower valley of the River Llobregat, the Mediterranean Sea and the Penedès depression. Together they cover 12,376 hectares. The actual assignment was to help Sitges into the long term urban and regional planning organization and to develop some ideas that were on the mind of the Sitges society and administration. This exercise was related to the social uses of the Garraf Natural Park, natural border of Sitges and other municipalities within the big area of Barcelona. ISOCARP Project Team David Guggenheim, Architect, Israel Raul Abelar, Landscape Designer, Mexico Jacob Babarinde, Town Planner, Canada Alexander Macgregor, Town Planner, Scotland Rolf Schütt, Town and Regional Planner, Bolivia Key Data Area: 12376 Ha Geology: carstic Elevation a.s.l.: 0 to 657 m (mountain of Montau) Date of creation: 1986 (first approved Management Plan) Municipalities: Avinyonet del Penedès, Begues, Castelldefels, Gavà, Olesa de Bonesvalls, Olivella, Sant Pere de Ribes, Sitges, Vilanova i la Geltrú Inhabitants:  250 000 in immediate area of influence Geography and Climate Park of Garraf is geologically a massif composed almost entirely of calcareous stone from the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, transformed due to erosion into a karstic topography. Its subterranean hydro geologic system is four times larger in terms of water streams, being its most important subterranean river, La Falconera, a main source of fresh water provision. The climate in the area around the "Park of Garraf" is typically Mediterranean and very irregular. Rainfall is 700mm per year. The average winter temperature is 9°C, and the summer average ranges between 23 and 24°C. Cultural Landscape The zone around the "Park of Garraf" was first used for farming (mainly wheat and wine) during the XVIII century. This activity was accompanied by a substantial increase in population. Wine was primarily exported to America which resulted in the construction of a little seaport at Vallcarca. In 1879 the "phylloxera plague" erased the wine production of the area, drastically damaging the local economy. There is today a number of interesting stone farm buildings remaining, which were related mainly to vineyards/wine production, wheat, goats, stockbreeding, etc. Some examples of vineyard caserones include the Can Marcer, Mas Quadrell and Can Grau. Typical masias would include the Mas Maiol, el Carxol and the rehabilitated Vallgrassa. These smaller buildings are often arranged in clusters of three or four structures which are usually surrounded by stone perimeter walls. The geography, vegetation, land use and the small number of traditional buildings have left an unmistakable natural and historic imprint on the landscape of the Garraf. A number of new activities and initiatives combined with recently constructed residential settlements and their related infrastructure, however, constitute real threats to this established rural image. By far, the most significant intervention in the Park is the landscape despoliation created by the workings of the limestone quarries. These eyesores are closely followed by the network of power lines and their supporting towers and the radar station and communication antennae. Scheme Planning Process A 3-Dimensional planning process combined research, interdisciplinary discussion and reporting. Output The objective was to come up with a medium-term strategy to revitalize the Natural Park and guarantee the social dynamics of the space - accomplishing more social uses and maintaining some economic activity along the whole year. The project should be seen as a mixture of assessment upon economic, architectural and landscape possibilities. The Park should be finally understood as a system connected effectively to the Sitges' micro region.

Work Process

The work process was divided in two phases. The introductory phase comprised 8 days of intense on site activity (workshop) with local authorities, representatives of local businesses, citizen organisations, NGOs and neighbours. The second phase would consist of six weeks post workshop development, a final presentation and the submission of a substantial report. Analysis and Design Process The basic methodology for the Garraf Park Revitalisation was to work on concepts, scenarios, and design principles within charrettes. In this way concepts and ideas can arise from drawings or discussion, tested in maps and in debate. As part of this proposed methodology, the design process was seen as a means of investigation, research and planning. Eventually, a chain of 10 steps was used to conceptually organise the design production process. First Conclusions As a result of the discussions with stakeholders, generally a number of issues was identified concerning identity, character, edges, gateways and identity. Some concrete topics include the need for better entrance ways to the Park as well as smart and up- to-the-minute Information Centres with full support facilities such as cafes, signage, parking, picnic areas, etc. Three particular points of entry were identified. In terms of infrastructure, there are clearly identified needs for more marina provision, a new five star hotel, residential accommodations at all levels, increased facilities for picnicking, camping, interpretation, hiking, hunting and so on. Challenging is the existence of several eyesores on the landscape, namely, four large quarry workings and a cement factory that may be nearing the end of its useful working life. The factory occupies a site of some 50 hectares. Together with its ancillary buildings, it is a significant blight on the landscape that needs to be resolved by design interventions. The complications of the working quarries and their remaining working life span coupled to needs and demands from the City of Barcelona are of particular concern.

Proposed Interventions

Additionaly to the general recommendations, five punctual interventions were proposed.  These are distributed throughout the key locations in the Park, namely (1) Jafre del Garraf (abandoned village with traditional macias) (2) Vallcarca Gateway (proposed as hotel and industrial museum) (3) Limestone Quarry Petite Mer (water reservoir and energy storage) (4) Port Ginesta Gateway (entrance to interpretative paths) (5) L'Auditori obert (proposed as open air theatre and research site) Proposed intervention 1: Improving the existing belt of farms and traditional masias Site: Jafra del Garraf The Existing Belt of Farms is already an area where some of the traditional farming still takes place. This area could be further developed for agricultural activities which are compatible with the general husbandry and ecological logic of the area and its agricultural history. Tourist interest such as a regeneration of an element of the historic wine trade to America could be a small but stable economic anchor for the area through, for example, an historic wine trail to attract wine tourism. (Map Jafra) Proposed scheme (1) Parking Area for visitors (2) Overview Platforms (3) Macias conserved as Visitor Centre and Retail of local products (4) Camping Area (5) Paths for hiking and mountain biking (6) Road to Plana Novela and existing Buddhist Temple (7) Proposed Organic Vineyards (8) Proposed Aromatic Crops Jafra del Garraf Abandoned Masías in the former village of Jafra can be restored to host visitor centres and shops for local products. They may best display with authentic architecture the local character. Proposed intervention 2: Cement Factory and Cultural Heritage Site: Vallcarca Gateway The situation relative to this 50 hectare site is very interesting in that the factory is barely producing since 2009 due to the building industry collapse in Spain. The site offers great potential and resources for the development of several high quality tourist attraction features including a superb piece of industrial archaeology, i.e. the factory buildings, a late nineteenth/early twentieth century ancillary railway station, a vast port and docking facility and considerable amounts of developable land. The transportation connections are good as it is edged on its north flank by the motorway and to the south by the sea and coastal road.  A railway track also runs through the site. This site already has a built port facility and there is more than enough available space to develop a high quality Five Star Hotel. Proposed scheme (1) Residential area (2) Infrastructure: Community centre, Daycare centre, Sport facilities, Ground school, Groceries stores, Healthcare centre (3) 5 Star Hotel (4) Commercial Centre (5) Cement Factory converted to industrial Museum (6) Multi-function Halls (Art Gallery, theatre, local market,artists workshops, etc) (7) Refurbished railway station connected to regional network (8) Parking areas (9) Public beach (10) New Marina In addition to these developments, a range of residential accommodations could be provided which could meet the need for the high market end individual units as well as providing well-designed affordable housing with an overall ratio of at least 50%. The latter may provide a source of housing and labour for the tourist facilities. All of this, to an extent, would be aimed at creating new jobs, encouraging inward economic investment and reinforcing green development in the area. The existing factory buildings would be ideal for transforming into a superlative Industrial Museum and/ or a Museum of Modern Art. Proposed intervention 3: Limestone quarry  Petite Mer Site: Former Quarry North West of Garraf The "PETITE MER" site would be used for practical applications such as a small lake for hydro electricity power storage, as well as for recreational purposes. Ancillary uses would include outdoor adventure sports such as rock face climbing, orienteering and other similar activities. (Map Petite Mer) Proposed scheme (1) Water reservoir (upper basin for hydroelectricity generation) (2) Playground and Picnic area (3) Camping area (4) Hiking, geo-caching track (5) Climbing walls (6) Hostel (7) Mountain Biking track (8) Main access road (from/ to Garraf) Hydroenergy generation and storage Existing plants in Japan, Canada and Scotland use successfully salty sea water for hydroenergy generation. This approach may use salty and fresh water for this purpose. The upper basin may be also used for recreational purposes. Proposed intervention 4: Infrastructure use changes Site: Port Ginesta Port Ginesta is a suitable site to develop a gateway into the park from the east. In this location there would be no adverse or detrimental environmental impacts on any of the parks existing natural resources. The location is also ideally suited for access to or from the existing transportation routes to Barcelona and other Spanish cities. The transformation is rather structural than physical and shall happen at a more detailed scale. Proposed intervention 5: L'Auditori obert Site: Former Quarry North of Garraf The "L'AUDITORI" site would be an ideal setting for an open-air theatre cum events location for Summer Festivals and similar such activities. The paradigm for such a use could be the Greco-Romano Theatres from the Ancient World where the open-air facility fully utilized the natural scenery as a backdrop to the performing arts e.g. as in the Greco-Romano Theatre in Taormina, Sicily or the purely Greek Theatre in Cyprus. In addition, University Laboratories for ecological research could be developed there. (L’Auditori map) Proposed scheme (1) Open Air theatre (2) Stage and facilities (3) Visitor Facilities (4) Forest and park (5) Hiking, geo-caching track (6) Regenerated terraced Quarry with panoramic views to the site and sea. (7) Main access road from/ to Port Ginesta & Garraf Open Air Theatre The purpose of the open air theatre is also to preserve the historic function of the site for locals and visitors. Environmental Recovery of the quarry The regeneration of the limestone quarry shall not only improve the landscape situation but primarily contribute to provide habitat to endemic flora and fauna. This is achieved with reforestation measures and consolidation of the quarry walls.
REGIONAL PLANNING
© 2006 - 2015 Systemarchi

Revitalisation of

Garraf Natural Park

Sitges Municipality, Province

of Barcelona, Spain (2009)

ISOCARP Activity under the UPAT Programme (Urban Planners Advisory Team)

Introduction

El Garraf Natural Park and the Olérdola County Park make up the southwest spur of what is known as the Catalan Coastal Mountain System, which extends over the counties of El Baix de Llobregat, L´Alt Penedès and El Garraf. Its boundaries are the lower valley of the River Llobregat, the Mediterranean Sea and the Penedès depression. Together they cover 12,376 hectares. The actual assignment was to help Sitges into the long term urban and regional planning organization and to develop some ideas that were on the mind of the Sitges society and administration. This exercise was related to the social uses of the Garraf Natural Park, natural border of Sitges and other municipalities within the big area of Barcelona. ISOCARP Project Team David Guggenheim, Architect, Israel Raul Abelar, Landscape Designer, Mexico Jacob Babarinde, Town Planner, Canada Alexander Macgregor, Town Planner, Scotland Rolf Schütt, Town and Regional Planner, Bolivia Key Data Area: 12376 Ha Geology: carstic Elevation a.s.l.: 0 to 657 m (mountain of Montau) Date of creation: 1986 (first approved Management Plan) Municipalities: Avinyonet del Penedès, Begues, Castelldefels, Gavà, Olesa de Bonesvalls, Olivella, Sant Pere de Ribes, Sitges, Vilanova i la Geltrú Inhabitants:  250 000 in immediate area of influence Geography and Climate Park of Garraf is geologically a massif composed almost entirely of calcareous stone from the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, transformed due to erosion into a karstic topography. Its subterranean hydro geologic system is four times larger in terms of water streams, being its most important subterranean river, La Falconera, a main source of fresh water provision. The climate in the area around the "Park of Garraf" is typically Mediterranean and very irregular. Rainfall is 700mm per year. The average winter temperature is 9°C, and the summer average ranges between 23 and 24°C. Cultural Landscape The zone around the "Park of Garraf" was first used for farming (mainly wheat and wine) during the XVIII century. This activity was accompanied by a substantial increase in population. Wine was primarily exported to America which resulted in the construction of a little seaport at Vallcarca. In 1879 the "phylloxera plague" erased the wine production of the area, drastically damaging the local economy. There is today a number of interesting stone farm buildings remaining, which were related mainly to vineyards/wine production, wheat, goats, stockbreeding, etc. Some examples of vineyard caserones include the Can Marcer, Mas Quadrell and Can Grau. Typical masias would include the Mas Maiol, el Carxol and the rehabilitated Vallgrassa. These smaller buildings are often arranged in clusters of three or four structures which are usually surrounded by stone perimeter walls. The geography, vegetation, land use and the small number of traditional buildings have left an unmistakable natural and historic imprint on the landscape of the Garraf. A number of new activities and initiatives combined with recently constructed residential settlements and their related infrastructure, however, constitute real threats to this established rural image. By far, the most significant intervention in the Park is the landscape despoliation created by the workings of the limestone quarries. These eyesores are closely followed by the network of power lines and their supporting towers and the radar station and communication antennae. Scheme Planning Process A 3-Dimensional planning process combined research, interdisciplinary discussion and reporting. Output The objective was to come up with a medium-term strategy to revitalize the Natural Park and guarantee the social dynamics of the space - accomplishing more social uses and maintaining some economic activity along the whole year. The project should be seen as a mixture of assessment upon economic, architectural and landscape possibilities. The Park should be finally understood as a system connected effectively to the Sitges' micro region.

Work Process

The work process was divided in two phases. The introductory phase comprised 8 days of intense on site activity (workshop) with local authorities, representatives of local businesses, citizen organisations, NGOs and neighbours. The second phase would consist of six weeks post workshop development, a final presentation and the submission of a substantial report. Analysis and Design Process The basic methodology for the Garraf Park Revitalisation was to work on concepts, scenarios, and design principles within charrettes. In this way concepts and ideas can arise from drawings or discussion, tested in maps and in debate. As part of this proposed methodology, the design process was seen as a means of investigation, research and planning. Eventually, a chain of 10 steps was used to conceptually organise the design production process. First Conclusions As a result of the discussions with stakeholders, generally a number of issues was identified concerning identity, character, edges, gateways and identity. Some concrete topics include the need for better entrance ways to the Park as well as smart and up- to-the-minute Information Centres with full support facilities such as cafes, signage, parking, picnic areas, etc. Three particular points of entry were identified. In terms of infrastructure, there are clearly identified needs for more marina provision, a new five star hotel, residential accommodations at all levels, increased facilities for picnicking, camping, interpretation, hiking, hunting and so on. Challenging is the existence of several eyesores on the landscape, namely, four large quarry workings and a cement factory that may be nearing the end of its useful working life. The factory occupies a site of some 50 hectares. Together with its ancillary buildings, it is a significant blight on the landscape that needs to be resolved by design interventions. The complications of the working quarries and their remaining working life span coupled to needs and demands from the City of Barcelona are of particular concern.

Proposed Interventions

Additionaly to the general recommendations, five punctual interventions were proposed.  These are distributed throughout the key locations in the Park, namely (1) Jafre del Garraf (abandoned village with traditional macias) (2) Vallcarca Gateway (proposed as hotel and industrial museum) (3) Limestone Quarry Petite Mer (water reservoir and energy storage) (4) Port Ginesta Gateway (entrance to interpretative paths) (5) L'Auditori obert (proposed as open air theatre and research site) Proposed intervention 1: Improving the existing belt of farms and traditional masias Site: Jafra del Garraf The Existing Belt of Farms is already an area where some of the traditional farming still takes place. This area could be further developed for agricultural activities which are compatible with the general husbandry and ecological logic of the area and its agricultural history. Tourist interest such as a regeneration of an element of the historic wine trade to America could be a small but stable economic anchor for the area through, for example, an historic wine trail to attract wine tourism. (Map Jafra) Proposed scheme (1) Parking Area for visitors (2) Overview Platforms (3) Macias conserved as Visitor Centre and Retail of local products (4) Camping Area (5) Paths for hiking and mountain biking (6) Road to Plana Novela and existing Buddhist Temple (7) Proposed Organic Vineyards (8) Proposed Aromatic Crops Jafra del Garraf Abandoned Masías in the former village of Jafra can be restored to host visitor centres and shops for local products. They may best display with authentic architecture the local character. Proposed intervention 2: Cement Factory and Cultural Heritage Site: Vallcarca Gateway The situation relative to this 50 hectare site is very interesting in that the factory is barely producing since 2009 due to the building industry collapse in Spain. The site offers great potential and resources for the development of several high quality tourist attraction features including a superb piece of industrial archaeology, i.e. the factory buildings, a late nineteenth/early twentieth century ancillary railway station, a vast port and docking facility and considerable amounts of developable land. The transportation connections are good as it is edged on its north flank by the motorway and to the south by the sea and coastal road.  A railway track also runs through the site. This site already has a built port facility and there is more than enough available space to develop a high quality Five Star Hotel. Proposed scheme (1) Residential area (2) Infrastructure: Community centre, Daycare centre, Sport facilities, Ground school, Groceries stores, Healthcare centre (3) 5 Star Hotel (4) Commercial Centre (5) Cement Factory converted to industrial Museum (6) Multi-function Halls (Art Gallery, theatre, local market,artists workshops, etc) (7) Refurbished railway station connected to regional network (8) Parking areas (9) Public beach (10) New Marina In addition to these developments, a range of residential accommodations could be provided which could meet the need for the high market end individual units as well as providing well-designed affordable housing with an overall ratio of at least 50%. The latter may provide a source of housing and labour for the tourist facilities. All of this, to an extent, would be aimed at creating new jobs, encouraging inward economic investment and reinforcing green development in the area. The existing factory buildings would be ideal for transforming into a superlative Industrial Museum and/ or a Museum of Modern Art. Proposed intervention 3: Limestone quarry  Petite Mer Site: Former Quarry North West of Garraf The "PETITE MER" site would be used for practical applications such as a small lake for hydro electricity power storage, as well as for recreational purposes. Ancillary uses would include outdoor adventure sports such as rock face climbing, orienteering and other similar activities. (Map Petite Mer) Proposed scheme (1) Water reservoir (upper basin for hydroelectricity generation) (2) Playground and Picnic area (3) Camping area (4) Hiking, geo-caching track (5) Climbing walls (6) Hostel (7) Mountain Biking track (8) Main access road (from/ to Garraf) Hydroenergy generation and storage Existing plants in Japan, Canada and Scotland use successfully salty sea water for hydroenergy generation. This approach may use salty and fresh water for this purpose. The upper basin may be also used for recreational purposes. Proposed intervention 4: Infrastructure use changes Site: Port Ginesta Port Ginesta is a suitable site to develop a gateway into the park from the east. In this location there would be no adverse or detrimental environmental impacts on any of the parks existing natural resources. The location is also ideally suited for access to or from the existing transportation routes to Barcelona and other Spanish cities. The transformation is rather structural than physical and shall happen at a more detailed scale. Proposed intervention 5: L'Auditori obert Site: Former Quarry North of Garraf The "L'AUDITORI" site would be an ideal setting for an open-air theatre cum events location for Summer Festivals and similar such activities. The paradigm for such a use could be the Greco- Romano Theatres from the Ancient World where the open-air facility fully utilized the natural scenery as a backdrop to the performing arts e.g. as in the Greco-Romano Theatre in Taormina, Sicily or the purely Greek Theatre in Cyprus. In addition, University Laboratories for ecological research could be developed there. (L’Auditori map) Proposed scheme (1) Open Air theatre (2) Stage and facilities (3) Visitor Facilities (4) Forest and park (5) Hiking, geo-caching track (6) Regenerated terraced Quarry with panoramic views to the site and sea. (7) Main access road from/ to Port Ginesta & Garraf Open Air Theatre The purpose of the open air theatre is also to preserve the historic function of the site for locals and visitors. Environmental Recovery of the quarry The regeneration of the limestone quarry shall not only improve the landscape situation but primarily contribute to provide habitat to endemic flora and fauna. This is achieved with reforestation measures and consolidation of the quarry walls.
REGIONAL PLANNING
Systemarchi