- Urban Rivers as Factors of urban (Dis)Integration    click here to open paper content1206 kb
by    Baptista e Silva, Jorge & Serdoura, Francisco & Pinto, Pedro | jbsilva@civil.ist.utl.pt   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
Rivers can be either physical barriers or sources of well being, promoting urban diversity and complexity.
30 Portuguese cities with rivers are presented in terms of their structure, connectivity level and types of city-river integration.
Historically cities are linked to rivers - the presence of water had, and still has, economic relevance, namely through industrial activity, fishery, transport of products and, more recently, leisure and tourism due to the valorisation of urban aesthetics. On the other hand, rivers may also constitute threats (e.g. flood events).
In Portugal, planning strategies tended to be focused at the city growth. Those strategies were likely to undervalue the importance of rivers and their natural cycle; in some cases they have led to channalized or even ignored rivers, because local authorities, developers and planners looked towards rivers as elements of urban discontinuity. Cities can look to rivers as physical barriers or, on the contrary, as a source of well being, in promoting urban diversity and complexity.
Several European Directives and development strategies highlight the importance of water in the improvement of urban ecology and environmental quality. The New Charter of Athens points out the connected city and the enhancement of spatial linkages as key elements to promote better urban integration.
The focus issues of this paper are to assess the importance of the existing connections between banks of the river or around the river itself, in promoting accessibility and mobility within the city, and to the improvement of urban identity due to the river as a natural element in the urban structure.
In some cities, rivers are a structural element, participating in urban life due to its relative position (crossing the city centre). In other cases rivers are ignored and flow among dispersed urban areas or are peripheral to it. This paper presents a review of 30 Portuguese cities with river, regarded in terms of their structure and connectivity level, assessing different types of city-river integration.
City River Relationship, Connectivity, Structure
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