There is no doubt that cities are greatest artefact human beings have placed on the Earth’s surface since thousands of years ago; however, this action must not necessarily be unnatural. On the other hand, in the last two centuries and due to the increasing energy consumption effects such as global warming and climate changes have occurred. This has led to high intensity weather events (cold and heat waves, torrential rains) that are having a strong impact on life in the large human dwellings cities have become and that may also have important effects on the economic-financial system.
Some aspects of urban and spatial management that until recently were considered of lesser importance have now become the most significant ones to achieve a city governance properly integrated into its natural foundations. Major cities worldwide are developing knowledge programmes to improve quality of life, save energy and promote a greater presence of nature in them.
Within this school of thought and dynamic public action process, Seville can play its own role to become a global reference. Our city enjoys worldwide recognition based on its history, culture and heritage. However, it is essential to keep in mind that if such reputation and its presence in the urban hierarchy remain, it is also because they stem from sound natural foundations: its position and location. Based on these reasons Seville can likewise evidence in this time of history its specific environmental and ecological features.
Seville, like Andalusia, is located in one of the most important natural and historic crossroads of the world, where natural and human, land and sea flows converge. In addition to these general geographical conditions, Seville remains as a place with easy access through the river; its continuation as a major city is based on its condition of inland port and the last crossing point of a big river, thus adding the advantages of a new privileged convergence or crossroads.
Moreover, its location outs it in contact with different sea environments and clearly differentiated land ecosystems: wetlands with a high biodiversity, forested mountain areas with metal resources, fertile farmland in the valley and sandy soils with terraces plateaus and hills, covered mostly with extensive olive groves. The old municipal district of Seville (the land that was allocated to the reconquered city) has a natural base with a great geological diversity and an extraordinary biodiversity and one of the richest urban-rural cultures has developed on it over history.
Seville is therefore not just a cultural focal point; it is also a centre of action that impacts on a large area with which it maintains strong and valuable daily relations since many centuries ago. To bring them to the forefront is the main objective of a programme comprising knowledge and social participation actions centred around three key elements or concepts: WATER, LANDSCAPE AND CITIZENSHIP.
Water is the basic element of everything there is on Earth and the lifeblood of all our landscapes.
Landscape is a prestigious concept that expresses our consideration for the space where we life.
The management of our common living space depends mainly on the agreements reached among all of us living in and relating to it at the same time, enjoying a right but one that also entails duties for all.
The “Water, Landscape and Citizenship” Session rests on four main pillars:
Three scientific-technical conferences:
– “Seville sustainable city: from the origins of gardens to the green urban system”.
– “Water, landscape and citizenship in the construction of metropolitan areas”.
– “Water, landscape and citizenship. Water management in the city-region. March 2018
And an international congress “Water, landscape and citizenship facing Global Change”, supported by the Council of Europe and a Workshop on the application of the European Landscape Convention, enacted on the basis of the Mediterranean Landscape Charter or Seville Charter (1992).
Florencio Zoido Naranjo
President Scientific Committee “Water, landscape and citizenship” Session