Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, 24th ISUF 2017 - City and Territory in the Globalization Age

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Poly-nuclear urban system, landscape identity and economic development: The Vega Baja of the Segura River (Alicante) case study
Clara Garcia-Mayor, Gregorio Canales Martínez

Last modified: 11-05-2018


In the last twenty years, the territory that comprises the Vega Baja of the Segura River (Alicante province) has experienced a drastic change in terms of how space is occupied. This is observable in the introduction of new uses that modify the configuration patterns of traditional settlements. This paper presents a typology characterization and classification of the evolution of traditional rural settlements which includes new emerging patterns of urban settlements in the Vega Baja’s context. This process has significantly impacted the landscape and the environment, as well as affecting how the local population relates to their living environment. The alluvial territory of the Vega Baja of the Segura River has been historically developed as a result of the expansion of its functional network systems —water canals, pathways, and settlements—  which enable the occupation and colonization of  extensive areas of marshy land. The territorial organization of this study’s area, developed over the course of eleven centuries, remained relatively stable until the 1990’s. However, in the last twenty-five years, the local economy has undergone restructuring, producing a mind-shift among local communities and resulting in a meaningful loss of crop production surface to make way for town-planning developments. The geographical area of this study is characterized by its intensive irrigated agricultural pattern. It is one of the last remaining Huerta European landscapes identified in the Dobris Report. Therefore, a more comprehensive and integrated approach to preserve identity and local cultural values is required so as to propose a sustainable economic development framework.


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