Cultivated Lands within Urban Area: Cultural Heritage Dying out or New Environment Chance for the Town? The Case of Trieste (Northeastern Italy)

Cultivated Lands within Urban Area: Cultural Heritage Dying out or New Environment Chance for the Town? The Case of Trieste (Northeastern Italy)

G. Mauro (University of Trieste, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1924-1.ch010
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Abstract

Several studies put in evidence the relevant role of cultivated lands in the urban areas. Using GIS methodologies in order to map agricultural areas near or within the town, it is possible to analyze their relationship with the urban area. In this study, the author used several different cartography sources, like digital cartography and orthophotos, in order to locate the urban domestic gardens and the terraced landscapes accurately. The study area is a medium city of a North-East Region of Italy, Trieste. Built on a hill morphology, it had a great and fast growth in the 19th and 20th centuries. These changes deeply transformed its landform, mainly reducing its surrounding cultivated lands. At present, the residual terraced landscapes are mainly placed in the north side of the city and they represent a kind of “cultural heritage.” On the contrary, the most important garden areas are located in the terrain embankments of the south suburban areas.
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Cultivated Lands In The Urban Areas: Roles And Perspectives

The strong metamorphism and the high dynamicity, distinctive of the peri-urban areas, decreases the contrast between urban and rural landscape, mainly in the “rural-urban fringe” (Pryor, 1968). The environmental, cultural and socio-economic roles, provided by the cultivated lands neighbouring the town are commonly recognized (e.g, Bianchi, 1982; Colding et alii, 2006; Fagnano, 2009). Generally, in this geographical context farms are small and family managed, but they put in evidence a high productivity. They show a low degree of competitiveness, due mainly to their little dimensions and to the quality of manpower (often part-time and “hobbyist” workers). Moreover, the influence of the near urban market on these farms is very reduced, actually (Zerbi, 1975). However, in the last decades the peaceful and charming countryside surrounding the town have increased its attractiveness. So, Donadieu (2006) proposed to invert the direction of landscape planning, focusing on the cultivated lands: the countryside can influence the growth of the urban area. Developing extensive and interconnected tracts of green spaces, sometimes domestic urban gardens can improve the environment where the people is living, as a sort of “urban green belt” bordering the urban sprawl. When these vegetated segments have linear character through an urban area, they represent a “green wedge” breaking a continuous residential texture. They could be also a kind of “greenway” within the town, linking the urban area with the neighbouring countryside or forests (Valentini, 2007).

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