The duality of landscape and tourism
Torroella de Montgrí (ES)

Responsible: Escuela Tecnica Superior de Arquitectura de Barcelona (UPC/ETSAB).
Case study area: Torroella de Montgrí
Funding: Erasmus Intensive Programme (LLP).
Team: Marieke Timmermans, Gloria Font, Oriol Casas, Lisa Mackenzie, Kenny Fraser, Karin Helms, Stephan Tischer, Marina Cervera, Maria Goula, Martí Franch, Agata Buscemi, Roberto Franceschini, Carles Martinez, Giorgia Sgarbossa, Christina Milos, Jorg Sieweke, Charles Anderson, Sue Anne Ware, Julie Bargman.

Beyond the traditional use of agriculture, Mediterranean regions  are  increasingly demanding additional activities to preserve and develop their (cultural) landscapes. Up to now, neither tourist nor urban infrastructures have contributed to environmental improvement or  to the  recognition of  the specific  landscape features  of the territories that sustain them. On the contrary, most ‘developments’ have exerted such pressure on the natural resources and  their supporting landscapes  that  they  have caused severe degradation  and perhaps even irreversible loss.
On one hand,  tourism, today Spain ‘s most important (only?) economic motor,  is search ing  for alternative scenarios to the sea-and-sun model by improving mature tourist  destinations and  preventing their imminent decline; on the other, the EU’s 2013  Common Agricultural Policy , which  restructures the assignment of agricultural subsidies  to rural  regions, attempts  to combine  socio-environmental benefits with those of ‘productivity’, which had previously been predominant. This new policy opens  up  new expectations  as to how rural land should be managed as a multifunctional territory  while  still remain ing  productive.




With the aim of exploring responsible alternatives to the existing tourist development of the coast, students and teachers worked together on the topic of the ‘second coast’ in Baix Empordà in Spain.
The visions produced were based on the study of the landscape’s identity – a rural mosaic, developed historically on the River Ter’s flood plain, figuring a complex cultural landscape between a dry mediterranean forest and the coastal tourist area. The scenarios for this intermediate space, hence the notion of a ‘second coast’, were explored though the proactive approach of conservation through development with the aim of introducing new leisure activities in a responsible way.




Lectures and guests:

  • The Montgrí plain, a vision on its landscape & history. Antoni Rovires. Mediterranean Museum Director. Museologist and heritage manager.
  • Nature. Emporda’s necklace and the Fauna catalysts. Jordi Sargatal, Naturalist, Castell del Montgri Camping Manager, former Director of Aiguamolls del Empordà Natural Park & FTP Territory & Landscape Private Foundation.
  • Joan Bonany. Agronomist. Director ‘Mas Badia’ Agronomical Research Institute of IRTA. Major of Jafre.
  • New operational paradigms for massive tourism destinations in the Mediterranean. Ricard Pié. Dr. Architect.
  • Energy. Smart grids. Pep Salas. ENERBYTE.
  • Soci-environmental approach for river management. Ter river case study. Ponç Feliu, biologist and environmentalist. CONSORSI ALBA TER.