Cidália F. Silva
Vale de Lamaçães, Braga
The district of Braga has experienced rapid population growth in the last thirty years, well above the rates of the Northern region and the country in general (6,2% and 5,3% respectively). This change was brought forth due to the amendments made to the land uses, that were once predominantly agricultural and forests, which, in turn, led to a significant increase of urban building since the early nineties (15,4% between 1991 and 2001). In the present day we still find fragments of the old rurality in the expansion areas, as is the case of the Valley of Lamaçães, the main focus of this research. The main objective of this research is the identification of the anonymous heritage of the Valley in order to define principles for intervention in the area in a way that would limit and regulate the construction of new housing and commercial buildings to salvage the aforementioned fragments while proposing new uses that would increase the quality and quantity of public/open spaces in the valley. To accomplish this task it is necessary to draw both the natural and urban features that shape the valley, topography, hydrography, street network, parcel structure and use, as well as identifying points of interest. Thus, through the use of archived military maps and aerial photos, going as far back as 1948, we can see how these elements changed and shifted over time. This therefore will allow to better understand the current wastelands, parcels and empty lots that were once large farms, and plan the construction of new roads and parks that bond with the existing ones and expand. This way it may still be possible to avoid the total loss of heritage and identity of the old paradigm through the implementation of a proposal that compliments both the need for housing and commerce as well as recreation and nature.