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TOOLS: LANDSCAPE CATALOGUES

Viewpoints and routes

One way to contemplate contemporary urban and rural landscapes is from viewpoints. These exceptional sites call to us, captivate us, stimulate us and of course allow us to contemplate and admire landscapes. At the same time, they are places where we can feel pleasure, euphoria and peacefulness. Therefore, the contemplation is not merely visual, but also sensorial, emotional and rooted in experience.

The best viewpoints are usually found in elevated, accessible areas of great scenic breadth and with attractive and varied vistas that allow people to capture all the nuances of the landscape, identify their values and dynamics and even interact with them. In some cases, these places are also known to the local population and have great symbolic meaning.

Moreover, whether scenic routes are wheeled (accessible with motorised vehicles) or non-wheeled (accessible by foot or with non-motorised vehicles), they pass through and link up landscapes and help us to enjoy them. These routes are often complemented with viewpoints and play an important educational role.

The landscape catalogues of Cataloniahave defined tools and measures that may serve as a basis for local authorities to pursue the following two objectives with regard to their respective viewpoints and routes:

  • Facilitate access to and improve the quality of the network of routes and viewpoints.
  • Create, expand and promote use of the network of routes and viewpoints.

Facilitate access to and improve the quality of the network of routes and viewpoints

Some tools and measures that towns may implement include:

  • Guaranteeing access to scenic routes and local viewpoints in existence and ensuring that they are properly maintained in order to enhance perception and interaction with the landscape.
  • Properly signposting local routes and viewpoints, especially in the most inhabited and busiest areas.
  • Connecting routes with a network of main roads and access points from the town centre in order to makes access easier, while also ensuring harmonious transitions between the city, outskirts and open spaces.
  • Making sure that the construction of new road or rail networks does not break up the main scenic routes.
  • Improving the existing routes and viewpoints while respecting the quality of the place. Where necessary, a place may be subject to modifications according to how vulnerable and busy it is as long as it does not become excessively artificial.

Create, expand and promote use of the network of routes and viewpoints

Some tools and measures that towns may implement include:

  • Identifying and connecting points and stretches that offer the best views of the local landscape (known or new) and its natural and heritage values (buildings of interest; peri-urban, agricultural or forest parks; recreational areas; popular meeting places; etc.) and promoting viewpoints where people can contemplate the landscape and routes that provide access to it (especially from the town centre).
  • Highlighting the scenic routes and viewpoints around towns and in peri-urban areas, as well as surrounding roads.
  • Recovering old roads and paths in addition to the natural and cultural heritage of the area.
  • Encouraging people to peacefully stroll, hike or otherwise enjoy the landscape in these places, including sports, cultural and educational activities.
  • Spreading information about scenic routes and viewpoints (guides, organisation of tours, promotion in social networks, etc.) and using them to promote our local area.

 

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