The Foz do Douro Urban Park located in the west of Porto city. A green area for public use inserted into an recently developed urban area, which has been progressively been built along the Atlantic seafront since the nineteenth century and the Park is part of an overall project submitted in the competition Nun’ Álvares Avenue Plan promoted by the Porto Municipality. This plan includes a set of design elements – a new avenue, streets, residential services areas and facilities (schools, pools, Metro, health care services), equipment deployment, historic centers rehabilitation, and green areas for public use.
With approximately 5ha, Foz do Douro Urban Park clearly contributes to increase in region rates of existing green areas for public use, increasing the availability of open spaces for local and regional level. Approximately 30% of the area is occupied with native tree flora, mainly willows, pines, oaks and cork oaks, resulting from maintenance actions and recovery, by taking advantage of its scenic, ecological and bioclimatic comfort, integrating these elements in spaces of passage and staying.
Wetlands are inserted into green corridors ensuring the proper functioning of the Ervilheira stream in the urban context, implementing a riparian gallery can be identifiable as an element belonging to the elements of water that dramatizes the municipality ecological structure.
Creating ecological and landscaped space, transforming it into a place where open scenarios contrast with forests which are safe and accessible for all, for collective use, social, ecological and environmental concerns, are the principles of this project. Green spaces are designed to converge and maximize the vegetation/soil permeability, maintaining the existing landscapes and scenic value whilst also allowing for the creation of a distinct identity that incorporates accessibility, nature, heritage and education.
The presence of Ervilha fortification being of significant heritage value, the design makes essential references to the aesthetic/cultural value of the site. The Park also contributes to the improvement of Oporto microclimate by implementing vegetation, significantly increasing local biodiversity and enhancing the plant associations of Portuguese flora, through the distribution of oaks, willows, poplars, cork oaks and pine trees.
Sustainability principles are realized in the Foz do Douro Urban Park through the minimization of water consumption for living and mechanical systems operations, by taking advantage of existing water resources, such as mines and wells water. The existence of quality soil in areas of horticultural production allows its reuse in areas of the Park where soils are poor, reducing in this way part of the costs of implementation. Maintenance costs will be reduced through the use of durable inert material, vegetation adapted to soil and climatic conditions of Porto city and herbaceous and shrub that tends over time to natural regeneration. The drainage is naturally, promoting the infiltration of water into the soil or drainage to the Ervilheira stream.
The genesis of design and structure of Foz do Douro Urban Park is based in the vegetation and the existing water line (Ervilheira stream). Like the water that distributes the water by the territory, the Park will also distribute the users in an orderly way from one extreme to another and surroundings. Allotment gardens, their cultural importance, products and habitats remain in the collective memory of communities, therefore it is proposed to space as a metaphor of the past.
Foz do Douro Urban Park | Porto, Portugal | Laura Roldão e Costa – Landscape Architecture
Landscape Architect | Laura Roldão e Costa – Landscape Architecture
Text Credit | Laura Costa; Sérgio Pinto
Architecture +António Paulo Marques – Arquitecto e Associados, Lda.
Road Infrastructure | Geestrada – Gabinete de Engenharia de Estradas, Lda.
Terrain Modelling | Ferreira Lemos – Engenharia, Lda.
Electrical Engineering | Gatengel – Projetos de Engenharia, Lda.
Noise Study | Cecília Rocha
Environmental Impact Assessment | C.P.A. – Consultoria e Projetos de Ambiente, Lda.