L’Horta de València: Past and present dynamics in landscape change and planning
Free (open access)
Volume 15 (2020), Issue 1
28 - 44
This paper assesses the evolution in the preservation, management and planning of a cultural landscape: the historical Mediterranean huerta of Valencia, l’Horta de València. After a characterization of l’Horta as a traditional cultural landscape and a description of its main elements and functions, an account of the driving forces behind changes in this landscape is offered. This account highlights the way in which shared patterns of landscape transformation in Europe materialize in the particular case of l’Horta. It is argued that the negative changes and impacts are not simply the outcome of global dynamics but the result of the region’s planning trajectory and approach to landscape management. This has been shaped by the lack of a territorial and supra-municipal perspective and the primacy of aspects related to culture, identity and heritage over the productive dimension of the landscape. This claim unfolds through an overview of the planning and policy background that has determined the fate of l’Horta over the past decades and an analysis of the new planning tools recently adopted by the Valencia regional government, L’Horta Law and the Territorial Action Plan for the Management and Revitalization of L’Horta, both from 2018. The paper reflects on the general approach of these documents in the light of the literature on landscape planning and peri-urban agricultural landscapes and assesses the main differences and similarities with respect to the previous institutional and planning contexts.
L’Horta de València, la Huerta de Valencia, Mediterranean huertas, cultural landscapes, peri-urban agriculture, landscape planning, landscape preservation, Valencia