Lourdes Barrios Ayala

Lourdes Barrios Ayala

Evolving Lower Guadiana

The project consists of a regional strategy for the Bajo Guadiana River Valley, in the southern border in between Portugal and Spain. Developed in three steps: Landscape Regeneration, Sustainable Local Production, Green-Blue Accessibility.

Analyzing the area, it is clear that the current use of the land is not sustainable in the near future, both in terms of water quantity and quality, and in the availability of human capital that inhabits and maintains this territory alive. Irrigated agriculture, macro-urbanization and golf / beach tourism require a high demand for water, a resource that is increasingly compromised. These activities put at risk the identity of the area and the preservation of valuable habitats and species. It is necessary to devise a model that takes into account the values and risks that the region is currently facing, and use them as a guide to provide a sustainable future.

The starting point is that there is an imbalance. The hydrological system, soils and the ecological structure need reinforcement. Diversification of fresh water sources and reforestation with native species are proposed. The generating principle is how to channel, reserve and reuse available water.

In matters of production: irrigation processes must be optimized, crops must be progressively replaced by those that tolerate dry / saline soils. Permaculture is also part of the strategy. Making this landscape productive, it becomes profitable for its population, but also generates the proper funding for nature protection.

The first two steps of the strategy are evidenced in the landscape in different elements of ecological restoration or experimental productivity spaces that begin a dialogue with traditional systems and heritage traces.

As a third step: to restore the role of the Guadiana River as an axis of communication, complemented by public transport and a coherent cycle path network, as well as spaces for the enjoyment of the water. Important point is the combination between conservation, community and sustainable tourism. This is a model that proposes that tourists not only consume, but also contribute; and a profitable program that has an active/positive role in the preservation of this ecosystem.

Afstudeercommissie: Hanneke Kijne (mentor), Harm Veenenbos en Lada Hrsak.

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