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(Automatic translation)

Development and conclusions of the First Conference on Highway Landscaping

Development and conclusions of the First Conference on Highway Landscaping
Barcelona, ​​25 and 26 2003 June

Madrid, July 17 2003.- The days were structured in a presentation, three days of work and conclusions. The presentation, titled Semiotics of the road in the territory, addressed the complex relationships between road and territory from the general theory of signs. The idea of ​​country is formed from the road and analysis of the views from and to the road it allows us to consider the succession of landscapes and, consequently, the country as a mosaic of landscapes, while the role of the territory is introduced into the process guidance and recognition for those traveling on the road.

The complex interrelationships between roads and territorial development allow us to consider the road as a structural element and not only as a generator of impacts, and highlight the benefits of accessibility and intensive development. Semiotics of spontaneous arising of those who can not tolerate change, it progresses to a corrected semiotics, with performances to soften the environmental impact and a planned semiotics that seeks sustainability with planning.

These themes were developed in the three days following work.

Roads in the urban landscape
Roads and major infrastructure run by both rural areas and open landscapes, where the identity of the country are articulated, the sustainability of ecosystems is maintained, and the complexity of the network of spaces naturales- as character fields is sorted more urban in very built environments that have so far received less attention by the discipline of landscape. Both access to urban centers, as variants to avoid difficulties provide a design, in relation to these new areas of interest, and thus should scrutinize proposed in this conference with a presentation of general and two case studies.

The paper on access roads and city landscape introduced the subject with consideration of the road from a broader perspective than usual. The road is not a specialized mode of transport infrastructure, but a platform where various traditional modes of transport are mixed and which also serves as a support and access to the building, as opposed to the railway that is clearly facing a single function.

And it is at the entrances of the cities where it acquires utmost importance, constituting the section where their expertise is blurred in a wide range of urban functions. A quick but detailed historical analysis relates the stages and situations that happened this transformation. Well known is the case of the main axis of Paris, whose original function is transformed access to inside the city and simultaneously extends outward with the construction by Perronet, the important bridge of Neuilly.

After reviewing various urban possibilities, such as the garden city, the penetrations of the extensions, the boulevards, rounds and ring roads, the importance of the design details outlined in achieving this transformation. There is no point limit speed, if all the design of the side protections and layout features encourage cross it faster, says the author, remembering how close they should be disciplines and project planning. Subject of great interest, again, to try the path of bypass roads, which should be approached from this dual perspective.

In the idea of ​​clarifying how you can combine both worlds, they have included two case studies. The first is the analysis of an important road junction at the entrance of the city of Pamplona, ​​with the use of a powerful computer tool design. the criteria to be followed in these important infrastructure project near the city, which typically require several masonry structures, in addition to the required earthworks are first analyzed.

Beyond the required functionality links, additions and movements, knots occupy space and have great physical presence. This produces new observation points, sometimes with unprecedented views of the city and also possible concealments of important views for the recognition of the identity of the next nuclei or the city itself. The complexity of the different alternatives requires control of geometry and a view of the surrounding space makes almost forced to use software rendering and visualization to uncover situations that go unnoticed if work continues, traditionally, only with geometry .

The second case study corresponds to the integration of access in the city, in particular, coverage of the Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes in Barcelona, ​​where the opportunity is taken to city acting on noise levels, with a section partially cover and sound screens, integrating the tram route, and achieving new green and parking spaces. Similarly, the proposal includes a drastic reduction in speed, just 120 80 km / h, absolutely essential to humanize the way. City and speed are odds for obvious reasons of safety and noise but also the inability to reconcile peace and coexistence with objects passing fleeting.

Design of Integrated Roads in the Middle
The second day was devoted to problems of permeability of the road for natural and artificial biological flows transverse direction. It not attended both the nature of injury, as the barrier to the natural development of biological processes and land use. A traditional multiplication of underpasses and overpasses are now added connections natural continuity, as wildlife crossings or continuity solutions ecosystems, such as false tunnels, as well as greater use of viaducts for off road terrain and allow use agricultural, forestry or even industrial land or services unhindered.

The issue was addressed with two presentations focused on the design elements of the road and a case study oriented territorial integration path. The first paper dedicated to the design of road elements is the need to maintain a comprehensive approach in the landscaping of road performances. The landscape adaptation must arise from a good knowledge of local environmental conditions such as climate, soil characteristics and the availability of local species for revegetation him, his ability to engage and survival. The delicate nature of plantations, crops and ajardinamientos and harsh conditions in which intervention arises in reality, the arid and hostile environment of the rock excavated or Row require a selective and effective treatment measures that will be carry out. numerous examples of successes and failures occurred in different contexts that introduce and illustrate the various considerations to take into account the landscape adaptation of the road.

The second presentation was oriented towards ecological relationships that must be taken into account in the design of the road, especially focused on animal communities, not for its undeniable importance as a resource, but for its value as an indicator of environmental conditions of the territory . It is important to make a good inventory from solid scientific basis, as a preliminary step for environmental analysis that will determine the layout and ancillary dictate the need for corrective measures.

Beyond prevent its destruction, which is obvious condition, the basic concept of ecological design is to avoid fragmentation of habitats of different species detected. In that sense, the layout should be designed so that no surface break the continuity specified by the different species and, where that is not possible, provide remedial measures to restore the situation. In general, it is simple and inexpensive measures, which only require specific knowledge of the nature and behavior of the animals, as the main indicator of environmental conditions of the medium. The paper toured the various devices and permeability measurements pathway evaluating its functionality, efficiency and application today.

The two papers were completed with a case study oriented layout criteria for the integration of the road that takes up and develops the need for surface continuity to the different species introduced in the previous paper. The integration of the road into the complex interrelationships between ecosystems arises from the criteria emanating from the approaches of landscape ecology or territorial ecology (Landscape ecology). The axioms and laws of this discipline structure a system of analysis and territorial diagnosis that identifies the most fragile areas off the linear arrangement of the road, suggesting alternatives to minimize the negative effects on relations between ecosystems.

The case reviewed first to the main elements of the analysis of territorial ecology, with emphasis on the roles of the different habitats, their edge zones or ecotones, biological corridors and network of relationships that make up the territory . Maintaining different habitat conditions, especially the most extensive, diverse, evolved and mature, is the foundation of biodiversity and richness of a landscape. Respect for the fringes edge is critical to ensuring the ecological functioning of habitat contact. In particular, the form must be respected more diversified, more interdigitated and less sharp edge, which are those that ensure greater exchange and a better filter changes through the green border.

Also they are considering the functions essential for the ecological functioning of the landscape in its entirety biological corridors. It is necessary to ensure continuity for the complexity of ecological relationships that bind other feeding spaces according to their different functions is maintained. These criteria apply to a simplified three alternative routes example, to analyze the advantages and disadvantages regarding their condition system ecological relationships.

Meanings of the road
The third day focused on compatibility issues roads with the character of the places they go through. Standardization of construction elements and road services have become the old sense of the journey in a journey through no man's land, without identity, while the own sense of each place yearns. Potential conflicts are not only visual or ecological nature but that transcend the realm of meanings. And those meanings can not be considered from the perspective of the road as a linear work, because they are alien to the ideas of origin and destination and even the flow of communication associated with the road, but require focus on diversity different areas of landscape unit where runs.

The issue was addressed in three papers. The first, the road and the idea, it addresses the strengths and weaknesses of the road as mode of transport, as reasons for the formation of the meanings that determine its aesthetic value, to point after the problems of greatest current interest in their relationship with the landscape, and then focus on those related to the meanings that are the least studied.

In that discussion, the central element is the idea of ​​place, as meaning condensate present in the built and able to model our emotions, arousing feelings of belonging or rootedness of great importance in our value system. And from that idea, we must face the insertion of the road in the country it serves, taking into account not only their ability to burst on the local, but also the power of creating new territorial relations with undoubted impact landscape.

The second paper introduced the issue of security from the perspective of road anthropology, explaining that reflects citizen, is expressed and interacts with the road at three levels: technical, political and scientific. The first two are well known and the third points to a consideration or human or philosophical point of view that enriches and complements the previous ones to improve our understanding and to introduce new ideas of progress. He exhibited an investigation into road accidents occurred in 38 sections of concentration of accidents network of Catalonia, during the last six years, which allows us to highlight the importance of overconfidence driver, as the source of dangerous situations, the condition masculinity of most accidents, perhaps linked to aggressiveness, and a typology of attitudes related accidents distraction, drowsiness, lack of competition at the wheel and civic irresponsibility.

Finally, the third presentation highlighted the multiplicity of dimensions that is present on the road and prevents them from being considered as a purely linear work, it must observe its complexity. He noted its evolution highlighting the importance of the discovery of speed, which generated real eagerness and marked the end of the romance of the road. The advent of the highway tunnel Happily called transparente- assumed new needs of crossing structures, hitherto almost exclusive patrimony of the railway used almost exclusively steel, concrete now being preferred by the road for years, material to the recent employment of mixed structures.

The changes introduced by the road on the environment should not be regarded as a mere impact, but also as an opportunity to structure the territory, depending on the solutions adopted can bear fruit in a new and harmonious landscape, where they join and complement pathway and nature.

In cities, the access roads must be transformed into urban roads, providing new opportunities for citizens to improve the possibilities of coexistence. And the knots should be designed with maximum simplicity and considering creation and concealment of landscapes representing its presence, a task that could greatly simplified with the help of computer software.

Unlike other ancillary elements of the road, living elements of the landscape adjustment require a specific approach for implementation and maintenance. On the other hand, has highlighted the importance of reducing the barriers that the road poses to the free movement of species and resource flows because, ultimately, ease of movement of animals is vital for development in turn, it is an effective indicator of the health of the territory.

Finally, the road is more than infrastructure, thus transforms perceptions, language and behavior of its users and of those living in countries where it is installed. The road should participate in the character of the places it passes through, beating his condition simple linear work to become a way of being in the territory. Its design should be approached with all the complexity of its structuring character of the landscape, and not as a mere object placed on an existing scenario.

Miguel Aguilo
Professor of Aesthetics of Engineering (UPM)
rapporteur General

Asociación Española de la Carretera
Goya, 23 - 4º Right.
28001 - MADRID (Spain)
Tel .: (34) 91 5779972
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