This First Scientific-Technical Conference opens the “Water, Landscape and Citizenship” Project, a comprehensive programme of activities and meetings that will culminate in March 2019 with an International Congress and a Workshop for the application of the European Landscape Convention (Florence, 2000). The purpose of this project is to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Mediterranean Landscape Charter adopted in Seville in April 1992 and taken by the Council of Europe in 1994 as a basis to adopt a similar agreement covering the entire continent.
This first conference will evidence that the relationships between cities and nature realized mainly through water, gardens and parks have a long tradition in history. Seville has played a leading role in this process, although it has not been sufficiently known or valued.
First, we must highlight the old age and nature of the first gardens in Seville; the gardens of the Reales Alcazares have been in place for almost one thousand years, and even if not as old as them, there are other palace and convent gardens have been existing for many centuries.
The Alameda de Hercules of Seville, built in 1574, is one of the oldest Green area with public fountains, tree cover and gardens in Europe; it has also had the greatest impact on the large number of similar boulevards that were later built all over Spain and Spanish America in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Its influence and even its name has reached present time as a reference for public gardens in the entire Spanish-speaking world.
The Maria Luisa Park is a further significant milestone in the history of gardens. Not just because of the personality of its designer, Nicolas Forestier (1861-1930) and the importance of his works in other big cities (Barcelona, Havana, Paris, Buenos Aires), but also because he created a unique style incorporating the skilful water management of Islamic gardens and reinforced the presence of the southern or Latin gardens worldwide.
Finally, during the most recent period in which Seville consolidated its position as a major city, and especially after the 1992 Universal Exposition, many other parks have been built within the city boundary and in the metropolitan area. They have placed the city among the top in Europe in terms of green area per inhabitant and have established a basic structure of what will become a complete green system. This will become a hallmark of the most important metropolitan area in Andalusia.
Seville must make further progress in this long course, perhaps as a European Green City. Especially by enriching its vision to enhance its environmental quality, improving the management of the main resources, water, and reintroduce nature into the city with all kinds of actions. The green urban system is destined to gain an increasing importance in the management and god governance of cities, because it contributes to regulate temperatures, captures CO2 and air pollution, adds biodiversity and embellishes or increases landscape quality of public spaces and the reputation of the urban community.
This conference intends to attract scientists and scholars working in city environments, water management and garden design and construction. Likewise, entities and associations that every day use water and urban parks and are in contact with them, taking care of them and becoming their main defenders as citizens aware of the importance of the quality of the living space and of the environment as a whole.
The Scientific-Technical Conference comes together with a relevant number of parallel activities focusing on educating and raising awareness in the community on the main contents of the “Water, Landscape and Citizenship” Project.
With its integrating and innovative approach, this 1st Conference: “Seville sustainable city: from the origins of gardens to the green urban system” intends to become a meeting point and a driver for the sector, with the participation of all.