Environmental Engineering Reference
Distinctive and Pleasant
Landscape Design Practices as Representation and
Reclaiming Territory Experiences
The phenomenon of endless urbanization has, almost everywhere in
Europe, deeply altered the original subtle territorial fabric and turned it into
an ever-ending succession of single constructions, where unbuilt spaces
become just meaningless rests. This is even worse with regard to the result-
ing landscape observation, when considering the absolute autonomy and
refuse of dialogue that each single built object demonstrates.
Faced with this situation, current field experiences in the Spanish towns
of Yecla, Badalona, Girona, and Costantina (Seville)  have shown how
the valorization of primary neighborhood activities could be considered as
a useful tool to redeem the typical fragmentation characterizing much of
the so-called diffused urbanization .
Bearing in mind the principle resulting from those and similar experi-
ences, this chapter aims to present what could be, in terms of a coherent ter-
ritorial design exercise, the role of representation practices toward the
implementation of a material continuity in the perception of the territory,
i.e., how to arrive to the organization of what has been defined a “ land-
scape infrastructure ” .
Generally speaking, it could be stated that, within contemporary archi-
tectural design practice, the Porto School of Architecture in Portugal has,
since the 1980s, maintained and promoted classical drawing as the pre-
ferred instrumental practice, to recognize the formation and transformation
processes of a site and at the same time the privileged route to finding the
solution. Recently, in the nearby School of Architecture of Minho
University, while adopting the same drawing practice, we have also tried to
extend its application to the territorial scale .
In principle the problem is that, when looking at the territorial scale
with an architectural approach, the reality is not entirely visible or, i.e., it
cannot be included within a comprehensive view. Therefore, skillful draw-
ing observation needs to be integrated with technical knowledge of the
specific territorial comprehension. “ To design and select, select and inter-
pret and propose ” ; relying on this principle, originally defined by M.
Sola Morales at the School of Architecture in Barcelona, we try to reach the
elaboration of a somehow calligraphic cartography, aimed at recognizing
and describing the formal and logical values of a determined territory.
Therefore, the main criterion is that of verisimilitude, i.e., the operative
imperative is to maintain, even in territorial technical drawing, a kind of
fidelity between reality and its correspondent representative sign, i.e., a tra-
ditional drawing standard.