Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 ;sessions / week, 3 hours / session

The Cardener River Corridor Workshop - Barcelona, Catalunya

This landscape and environmental planning workshop investigates and propose a framework for the enhancement, development and preservation of the natural and cultural landscape of the Cardener River Corridor in Catalunya Spain. The workshop is carried out in conjunction with the Polytechnic University of Catalunya, and the Barcelona Provincial Council (Diputació de Barcelona).

The Site

The Cardener River is located at the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountain, about 20 miles northwest of the city of Barcelona. It is a tributary of the Llobergat River, which empties into the Mediterranean at the southern edge of the city.  Small towns and villages dating back to medieval times characterize the Cardener. It is also the site of various early industrial uses such  as textile production. The town of Cardona for example, is the site of one of the earliest salt mines in Europe and an impressive medieval castle. Despite centuries of intensive use, major areas of natural landscape and cultural artifacts remain along the river corridor providing outstanding opportunities for natural conservation, recreation and visitor use.

Yet, there are serious issues concerning water quantity and quality of the river, including maintaining an adequate flow to support the ecosystem and reducing industrial pollution. The poor environmental condition of the river corridor provides an argument for using its watershed as the framework for regional and comprehensive planning. Facilitating aesthetic and functional improvements, and balancing economic development, community character and environmental issues, will be the workshop's key challenge.

The Workshop

The workshop utilizes techniques, processes, and professional skills required to effectively propose and mitigate potential development and environmental changes within the river corridor. The fundamentals of environmental planning, landscape architecture and urban design are explored and applied. Students participate, as project team members, in the preparation of a plan that will help create a compatible and positive physical structure of the area. The plan should help facilitate a coherent framework that will enhance the cultural landscape of the site, its physical resources and natural conditions.

Site Visit

MIT students and faculty members visited the area in the last days of August, 2001 through the first week of September, 2001. This visit gave the participants first-hand experience of the site and its context, allow interaction with the clients, public officials and residents and produce preliminary ideas for review and discussion in a meeting during the visit.