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Service Learning Experiences in the Master’s Degree in Territorial Planning: Information, Tools and Methods

Geographic information systems and remote sensing applied to planning

  • Coordinator: Yolanda Pérez (myolanda.perez@urv.cat)
  • Community organization: PRIORitAT Association
  • Summary: The aim of this activity is to draw up a landscape quality map of the Priorat region in order to extend knowledge of this area within the framework of the region's candidature for selection as a Mediterranean mountain agrarian cultural landscape by UNESCO's world heritage committee.

    To this end, students use a Multicriteria Evaluation (MCE) technique integrated within a Geographical Information System (GIS). This involves evaluating a series of alternatives and serves to inventory, classify, analyze and order these alternatives. The criteria used for the evaluation must be geographical or territorial (i.e. they must be maps integrated in a GIS, via which the MCE technique will be applied).

    In this way, first the criteria that influence the quality of the landscape are determined (e.g. land cover, gradients, orientation, etc.), then the impact of each of these criteria is evaluated (e.g. land cover represents 40% of landscape quality whereas gradient represents only 5%), and finally the MCE rule is applied to the GIS.

Dynamics and problems of rural and natural spaces

  • Coordinator: Jordi Blay (jordi.blay@urv.cat)
  • Community organization: PRIORitAT Association
  • Summary: Students on this course analyze an area of the Priorat region selected for its agrarian landscape or for its special interest. The characteristics of the terrain, especially those associated with a traditional agrarian landscape, are analyzed in order to determine, differentiate and analyze the various levels of protection existing for:

    - The various habitats of interest and the natural spaces in general
    - The various types of agricultural areas (and their value)
    - The agrarian or non-agrarian heritage of the chosen terrain
    - The buildings not intended for agricultural use in the area

    After completing their analysis, students examine the state of the agrarian cultural landscape in the area selected and discuss the criteria for conserving the most interesting features or, with the collaboration of the PRIORitAT association, for conducting other types of intervention that may be considered necessary for maintaining or achieving a level of landscape quality in accordance with a world heritage cultural landscape.

Landscape criteria and environment in spatial planning

  • Coordinator: David Serrano (david.serrano@urv.cat)
  • Community organization: PRIORitAT Association
  • Summary: The activity focuses on identifying and characterizing the main values of the Priorat landscapes. Students choose a hydrographic basin that, properly defined, should allow them to carry out integrated landscape assessment. In particular, the study should:

    - Make a descriptive diagnosis of the area of study
    - Define and classify landscape units into at least three taxonomic ranks
    - Characterize the units defined
    - Make a landscape diagnostic, with emphasis on such aspects such as quality for conservation, a esthetic quality, environmental fragility and recent developments.

    During the course of the study, field work and direct contact with the territory stakeholders will be very important. The result of the study, largely expressed through cartographic products, should prove useful for the presentation of the candidature of the Priorat region as "Mediterranean mountain agrarian cultural landscape" to the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO.

External work experience - Digital mapping of the Catalan coast

  • Coordinator: Aaron Gutiérrez (aaron.gutierrez@urv.cat)
  • Community organization: Ecologists in Action of Tarragona and the Ebro Region
  • Summary: The students on this course helped to provide support for and raise public awareness of the Ecologists in Action for Tarragona and the Ebro Region. They were entrusted with producing maps of the quality of Catalan beaches, preparing a study of the changes in land use near urban beaches (mainly urbanization), and analyzing plans for beach use in the region of Tarragona. Digital maps are available online at the Black Flags Information System of Ecologists in Action (SIBNEA). These display the locations of black flags and virgin beaches identified by the NGO in recent years and provide information on artificial reefs and protected natural sites.