Arts and Humanities
Jordi Sardà Ferran
ETSA - URV
City, Territory and Sustainable Planning
Expecting landscapes: The case of Camp de Tarragona
The dynamics of transformation and growth of the traditional city are well understood in terms of its patterns, and the cause-effect ingredients at play (land-value, capital investment, population growth, etc.). Urban geography and planning have the analytical tools to monitor the historical and present conditions of the urban tissues, and explain their foreseeable changes. We call them the built space, or the builtscape. The same is true of the unbuilt or scarcely populated natural areas that configure the rural areas, or the natural spaces between built areas, which are more stable in time and under fewer pressures. This is most of the time a protected space, since urban growth is limited to the adjoining areas of the continuous city. Together, we consider them as “landscape” (built or unbuilt) for they configure the places where the life of citizens and society is developed.
However, there is a continuous transformation of rural land into builtscape and, the fewer times, in the other direction. But these dynamics of transformation are not well understood: the forces that transform rural space into buildable space are clear: in a capitalist setting, they are a combination (or a sequence) of urban and legislative measures, relying on economic vectors of land transformation and surplus benefit, combined sometimes with social needs or political-ideological will. But the very announcement, or even rumor, of the advent of any these changes unleashes a series of landscape dynamics of another kind: agricultural production stops, prices soar, sales revitalize, proto-industrial activities appear and, ultimately, urbanization makes the its appearance. In sum, property, use and production change in rapid and significant ways, affecting how we perceive and inhabit these landscapes and their qualitative values. We call these spaces in transformation “expecting spaces”, since they linger for a certain time (sometimes very long) in a condition of latency, of expectation, of forced arrest, with a logic of their own.
This project aims at studying and giving some meaning to the patterns of transformation that the landscape suffers after the expectations placed on the urban or rural landscapes are changed, thus defining and
The area known by the name of Camp de Tarragona, between and around the cities of Reus, Valls and Tarragona itself, at the south of Catalonia, is an excellent area of study in this regard. It is considered a “metropolitan area” of about 300.000 inhabitants distributed in a vast territory, mostly rural or industrial, that functions as a unified economic region in terms of labor, transportation, etc. The economic crisis of 2008-17, after a period of about 20 years of urban expansion, has left many instances of these expecting spaces frozen in time. It is, in this regard, a perfect laboratory for the study of these patterns of transformation that define the “expecting landscapes”.
37.5 hours a week
|This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 713679|