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Town entrances and exits

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The entrance and exit of a town are its main points of access, so they are also the first and last impressions that travellers have of it. This type of landscape not only affects the quality of life of the people that live there or travel through there, but it also affects the image that the town projects. As a result, the quality of these spaces is essential for strengthening the character and identity of each community.

In general, buildings and other elements with great functional diversity (cark parks, hoardings, furniture warehouses, department stores, petrol stations, restaurants, road stops, etc.) have been placed sequentially at town entrances and exits, located along on the roadside and in areas required for travelling, which also means they are highly visible. However, these elements are often arranged in a scattered, inconsistent or homogeneous manner, creating roads that are unattractive and uninteresting and that change the image of character of the place. Amidst this general confusion, some settlements have conserved historical rows of trees or aligned vegetation to frame their main entrances and exits, making them distinctive features of the landscape.

The landscape catalogues of Catalonia have defined tools and measures that may serve as a basis for local authorities to pursue the following objectives with regard to town entrances and exits:

  • Improve and enhance the scenic quality of town entrances and exits.
  • Conserve towns' tree-lined entrances and exits.

Improve and enhance the scenic quality of town entrances and exits

Some tools and measures that towns may implement include:

  • Promoting landscape improvement projects along lesser-quality stretches of road at town entrances and exits.
  • Using urban planning tools (POUMs, etc.) to establish criteria for occupation and types of buildings adjacent to main entry and exit roads in order to guarantee orderly access to towns and ease the transition between open spaces and urban landscapes, improving their aesthetic conditions, enhancing the values inherent in the towns and bolstering the identity and character of the place.
  • Using urban planning tools (POUMs, etc.) to promote the creation of spatial plans for the commercial activities and associated services with the greatest visual impact along main entry and exit roads (buildings, outdoor exhibitions, adjacent facilities) through measures to reclassify the space, supervising their size, location, signage and colours with strategies of concealment or harmonisation.
  • Maintaining the diversity of agroforestry usage and the singularity of the elements located around town entrances and exits.
  • Defining and structuring networks of scenic corridors and linking them with towns through access points and other urban public spaces (avenues, boulevards, squares, urban parks, peri-urban parks and other spaces).
  • Minimising degraded areas in the outskirts of communities and lines of communication while determining the possible uses and prohibited uses that could undermine the quality of the landscape and promoting actions to restore it.
  • Some good practices to improve town entrances and exits may include:
  • Rehabilitating pre-existing elements of heritage, integrating them into the town entrance or exit landscape and improving observation of it from the access roadway.
  • Burying power lines visible from the roadways and integrating the cabins that house the electric transformers into the landscape.
  • Removing elements that hinder visual continuity (signs, arbitrary heights of disperse buildings) from scenic points of interest, scenic backdrops, visual landmarks and other characteristic and distinctive vistas of the town.
  • Gradually eliminating obsolete advertising signs and supports.
  • Adapting the sizes, colours and forms of commercial signs and of the signposting in place at town entrances and exits so they are consistent with the size and characteristics of the town.
  • Recovering and managing abandoned farming areas or spaces were there is no activity.

Conserve towns' tree-lined entrances and exit

Some tools and measures that towns may implement include:

  • Identifying tree-lined town entrances and exits and conserving them as a historical heritage site because of what they bring to the quality of the community's landscape. One way to do this is to include them in the catalogue of assets in municipal urban development plans (POUMs) or under other measures of protection in municipal planning.
  • Promoting the plantation of lines of trees along town entrances and exits, using tree species adapted to the site.
  • Recovering plantations of trees at town entrances and exits when signs that they once existed are present, even if they have since disappeared.
  • Adapting the management of planted trees to each case in particular based on the establishment of convenient distances, minimum lengths and crosscutting sections appropriate for the importance of the road in question.
  • Maintaining lines of trees along town entrance and exit roads, using species adapted to the environment.
  • Analysing the status of the tree-lined avenues in existence from both the phytosanitary and technical point of view, paying special attention to tree grills and their relation to the pavement so they have enough space to grow.
  • Placing and pruning trees so they respect the clearance planned for the length of the road.

 

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