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architexts ISSN 1809-6298


abstracts

português
Essa pesquisa objetiva a valoração ambiental do Parque do Loteamento Cidade Universitária a fim de analisar a Disponibilidade A Pagar (DAP) da população urbana de Passo Fundo RS, para a implantação de melhorias, manutenção e preservação.

english
This research project presents the results to conduct an environmental survey of the urban park in University City Allotment in order to analyze the Passo Fundo-RS urban population’s Willingness to Pay for improvements, maintenance and conservation.

español
Esta investigación objetiva, la valoración ambiental de Parque de la Cidade Universitária de analizar la Disposición A Pagar (DAP) de la población urbana de Passo Fundo-RS, para la implementación de mejoras, mantenimiento y conservación.


how to quote

NECKEL, Alcindo; BERTOLDI, Tauana. Recovery and environmental valuation in an Urban Park. An important outlook. Arquitextos, São Paulo, year 17, n. 197.06, Vitruvius, oct. 2016 <http://www.vitruvius.com.br/revistas/read/arquitextos/17.197/6263>.

1. Introduction

The uneven growth of urban areas has shown several negative effects on the environment as well as on people’s quality of life. These effects can be seen during the urbanization process through an increasing number of buildings and deforestation. In order to reduce environmental impacts, new strategies have to be adopted to preserve remaining green spaces. For instance, the green space in the Cidade Universitária Allotment – LUC, in the neighborhood of Petropolis, in the City of Passo Fundo, RS State, Brazil, has been jeopardized by unplanned urbanization. This site became an urban park in January 2012 as a result of community activities and seven years of research. Due to improvements, this degraded green area was transformed into an urban park with infrastructure to assist the needs of the population.

The Cidade Universitária Allotment – LUC urban park received several improvements since this study was carried out in 2005 due to the diligent work of local residents who understood the need for the preservation and adequate management of urban green areas as being the responsibility of both public and private sectors. The initial site project was developed and implemented over two years in an effort towards the environmental recovery of the area. Part of the measures included the transplanting of approximately 500 tree seedlings; the adoption and implementation of buffer strips along the water resources (according to the Brazilian environmental legislation guidelines); and the designation of an area for recreation which was dedicated to the local community to fulfill the role of an urban park. Through these actions, the local community exposed their perceptions and expectations in relation to the park, by stating that it would be important to plant trees and establish recreational areas. Currently, this area is listed as an urban park in the city reports, thus providing means to increase people’s quality of life as park users. This recognition becomes fundamental due to the fact that there are few green spaces in the city of Passo Fundo. If the preservation and maintenance of such areas are not successful, there is a risk of losing them. Such a loss could result in a reduction of life quality in the city caused by the absence of public spaces for recreation (1). Also, the fact that a park improves the quality of life not only for its users, but also improves the quality of air is a benefit to the city.

In addition, new efforts were proposed in 2010 aiming to further preserve the LUC (Cidade Universitária Allotment) urban park. These efforts are also listed in detail and further discussed in this paper.

2. Materials and methods

2.1. Area of study

The LCU is located in the City of Passo Fundo, northern part of RS State, Brazil. Passo Fundo has the following geographic coordinates: 28º07´, 28º25’ S, and 52º17´ and 52º41’ W. It is the largest city in the Mid-Plateau region with a population of 187,507 people according to the 2010 census (2). This area has a geomorphologic structure derived from deep basaltic spills, with well-drained soils classified as latosols.

Map of the University Campus subdivision urban park area
Image of the authors

The study area has 17.834 m², located between East Avenida Brasil and BR 285 highway, near the Campus of the University of Passo Fundo, in the Petropolis neighborhood. There are 33 houses, where a variety of families live from different backgrounds, different social classes and varying employment status. These families are farmers, owners of small businesses, teachers, public and private employees as well as students. Six streets in this neighborhood and the area was determined to be the community's responsibility for the implementation of the current urban park.

2.2. Research strategies

In an effort to help this urban park reach its urban and environmental objective, the following strategies were designed with the community and implemented over five years (from 2005 to 2010).

a) Bibliographic data search: papers and articles from authors who revealed urban trends and urban area usage were identified, using key words that closely matched the condition of the LUC urban park.

b) Area inventory: topographic tools and visual descriptions were used as methods of research.

c) Soil samples: collected in different parts of the park at two depths (0-20 cm and 20-40 cm). The samples were then analyzed at the Laboratory of Soil of the University of Passo Fundo according to the protocols described in the Chemical and Soil Fertility Commission of the states of Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina (CQFS-RS/SC, 2004).

d) Social and economic research: between 2005-2007 a questionnaire was developed and randomly transmitted to 33 homes in the community members in an effort to collect data on the social and economic aspects of park residents (to verify if the residents were willing to pay for maintenance and preservation of the park), and the environmental awareness of park users.

e) The results were compiled and analyzed to identify the main problems and corresponding management techniques to support in the recovery of the area.

Map of the City of Passo Fundo divided by sections. Each color corresponds to a numbered section [SEPLAN. Documentos do setor. Passo Fundo, Secretaria de Planejamento da Prefeitura ]

f) Data collection: an evaluation of the importance of the park for the residents of Passo Fundo was studied. 22 sections were identified in the city. Sections 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 07, 11, 12, 18 and 20 were randomly chosen to be sampled with a questionnaire. Overall, 338 houses were sampled to facilitate an adequate sample size. Passo Fundo has about 187,507 inhabitants and a total 48,228 households (3). In addition, random sampling of residences in different areas of the City of Passo Fundo provided a significant representation 45% of the people living in the area as potential urban park users.

Questionnaires distribution for section and Neighborhoods
Image of the authors

The objectives of the questionnaires are two-fold: assess the social-economics (with seven questions) and environmental perceptions (14 questions). The householders were asked about their willingness to pay for improvements, maintenance, and conservation of the park. Further inquiries were conducted in response to environmental improvements made at the urban park as well as suggestions for future projects to promote the environmental preservation of the LUC urban park.

3. Analysis and results

A joint effort between community leaders and a local housing association may be the most efficient way to accomplish the residents’ stated goals. 100% of those interviewed stated that they are committed to participate in all necessary steps required for the park’s improvement. However, they also requested in-kind support from the local government.

Regarding the impacts of urbanization on the environment, and with the urban park as an example, the community made by the residents made the following observations:

  • mice, mosquitoes, cockroaches, snakes, and other small animals are present and contribute to the local proliferation of disease;
  • the park has been used as a shelter by delinquents and thieves;
  • the park has been misused through inadequate activities by those who do not live within the local community;
  • despite the potential of the area to increase surrounding property values and attract new users, it has been abandoned by the government council and does not have a clear purpose;
  • there is evidence of preservation of some trees and water resources. However,  other negative environmental impacts should not be present, the entire area should be reforested, and the water resources should be preserved;
  • this area can contribute significantly to increase the quality of life of park users.

In observing all responses, it was found a strong community awareness regarding the potential of the area not only for the local neighborhood, but also for the entire city. The recognition of environmental services, mainly through the preservation of water resources that directly flow into the Passo Fundo River was mentioned. The answers also indicated that historically, this area was not considered a priority by city managers as evidenced by the disorganized and unplanned urbanization process. Those who were interviewed mentioned a list of items as potential for the park, and described the resources of the community association.

Using this information, the following strategies have been proposed and implemented by the residents of the neighborhood in order to facilitate the environmental recovery of the urban park area: a) Protection of water resources through implementation of buffer strips. Reforestation also took place within the water resources area in a radius of 50m around streams, lakes and rivers, according to the Brazilian environmental code (Legislation 7803, July 18th1989); b) The reforestation of green areas, and; c) The management of the recreational areas. Strategies for recovering the area included the removal of any foreign material, such as trash from the natural area as well as the transplantation of native tree species and the removal of exotic species, such as pine trees and eucalyptus in order to reduce environmental competition.

The implementation of recovery strategies was supported by the local community represented by the residents association. Choosing reforestation with native species was the quickest way to improve soil characteristics while avoiding chemical inputs. Native species are more suitable for the specific climate and local characteristics of the area. Selecting from a wide range of native species, growth patterns, ecological fitness and seedling availability were the parameters used to determine which species to use. Native plant seeds and seedlings were donated by the city council (4) emphasizes a bioengineering method that allows for the development of soil coverage and protection in a short period of time. The new seedlings will produce organic matter, adding carbon to the soil and recycling other essential elements through their roots. In this sense, general chemical and physical properties of the soil will improve the ability to retain water and nutrients, and overall rates of erosion will be lessened (5). It is noteworthy that climax native vegetation, such as Lueheadivaricata, Laurus nobilis, Cedrella fissilis, ApuleiaLeiocarpa, Tabebuia chrysotricha, Tabebuia impetiginosa, Myrocarpus frondosus and Albizia polycephala require more favorable conditions to be established. Other than reducing erosion, climax vegetation provides a microclimate and habitat for native fauna, mainly attracting bird species that are attracted to the new seed source (6). The seedlings were transplanted along with additional organic matter. Irrigation was not possible due to the lack of infrastructure. Nutrient, water and light competition with other germinating species were monitored by the community, which plays an important role in applying the suggestions set out by researchers and professionals involved in the research.

Planning and soil preparation were based in a mixed model, using pioneer species, secondary species and climax vegetation within a linear space of 4x4 m. This is the best method for the introduction of species in small areas, allowing 4,000 plants/ha. Paspalumnotatum, a native grass, which was planted along the borders to aid to: maintain the area, delay or prevent germination of other species. Climax species and other native trees such as Erythrina crista-galli, Eugenia uniflora, Campomanesiaxanthocarpa, Mimosa scabrella and Araucaria angustifolia were also used in the buffer strips near the park’s water resources.

A total of 500 seedlings were transplanted to contribute to the urban park’s local biodiversity, aiming to recover wetland areas as well as to enhance soil structure, ornamentation of landscape for recreation, and providing an environment to improve the quality of life of the users.

As for strategies to improve the recreational aspects of urban park, the development of a playground, hiking trails and walking paths have been proposed. The implementation has been slow due to the high degradation of green area that makes it difficult for tracks. financial and technical resources that need to be used to carry out the overall strategy are also missing. The local community has classified this project as a very high priority and the individual members of the community and local groups have been working in the area as time permits. That why, the park would provide a suitable environment for the development of activities such as meeting between the community, safe place for children to play, among others.

3.1. Social and economic aspects of the participants interviewed

The social and economic investigation was carried out second time in 2010 with an attempt to characterize the urban potential and what the importance of the LUC park to its users in the city of Passo Fundo. Thus, randomly questionnaires were applied with objective questions to the city's population. A total of 388 participants – 169 female and 169 male – were part of this research. Participant ages ranged between 16 and 21 years old (3% women and 8% men), 21 and 28 years old (9% women and 14% men), 28 and 35 years old (12% women and 13% men), and 35 years old and over (26% women and 15% men).

All of the participants interviewed had a monthly income of at least the Brazilian minimum wage (1 salary), 21% earned from one to two salaries per month, 42% earned three to four salaries, and 37% earned more than four salaries as their monthly income. Regarding schooling, 0.5% of the interviewees were illiterate, 16% had not finished elementary school, 11.9% had not finished high school, 12.1% had not finished college, 8.8% had finished college, and 4.7% had obtained a diploma. The majority of the participants have children who would play in green areas. In this sense, LUC urban park holds great a promise for providing leisure. In addition, 75% of the residents of Passo Fundo use urban parks on a regular basis. This finding is in line with the findings of (7) who researched the importance of urban parks in São Paulo State, Brazil, and found that 68% of those interviewed were also urban park users. However, 49% of those interviewed in Passo Fundo had no previous knowledge of the LUC urban park.

3.2. Interventions in Urban Park LUC

Planting of trees matrix
Image of the authors

During 2010, 20 professionals involved in park planning and management were also interviewed in an effort to develop an action plan for the LUC urban park. This item was complementary to the recovery project that was initiated in 2005. The following actions were proposed to achieve the environmental recovery of the park:

  • acquisition of equipment such as benches, garbage bins and street lights;
  • develop/plan hiking trails and pedestrian pathways to enable the park use and appreciation while reducing to a minimum the environmental impact;
  • implementation of a playground;
  • creating bike trails within the park limits;
  • implementation/creation of cultural spaces for reading and nature contemplation;
  • building a soccer field and sports area for recreational use;
  • reforestation with native species and conservation of the existing green areas.

Urban park in University City Allotment, current scenario, area where the park was implemented
Image of the authors

Urban park in University City Allotment, scenario with improvements, map of the implementation of improvements
Image of the authors

Based on the choice of strategies, the scenario for the implementation of the park was built, thus making it possible to layout the organization of the area. Below, it is possible to analyze the ground after planting tree seedlings (still small having about 50 cm) and the implementation of the playground. The period between planting and the image was three years.

Urban park in University City Allotment, area after planting trees
Photo authors

 

Urban park in University City Allotment, area after the implementation of the playground
Photo authors

4. Final considerations

This research highlights the importance of urban parks as key areas to improve the quality of life in the city of Passo Fundo, RS State, Brazil, from the perception of users regarding the park. The urban park LUC was chosen as the objective of this study due to its location and the high negative environmental impact levels previously detected before this study. Much has been done, but this park is still in need of investment for total ecological recovery, maintenance and improvement for recreational use. The projects developed from 2005 to 2007 were not sufficient to fully recover the area due to the unplanned urbanization effect with negative impacts on soil, water, fauna, flora, and the nearby residents’ community.

Despite the population growth and increased urbanization rates, there was also an increase on environmental awareness regarding the park situation. Park users and local community members have shown valid concerns about the environmental impact to this park and have identified the area as having an impact on their life quality. Such concerns were expressed through the local community association, which supported and participated in environmental inventories. The association also helped with planning and implementation of recovery strategies as well as fundraising for the eventual purchase of recreational equipment. Overall, the preservation of the park and the recreational use were prioritized by the local community by allowing significant changes in the area.

Overall, through this research, the mechanisms used for environmental recovery of the LUC urban park were identified and justified in an effort to instigate continuous actions for the preservation and maintenance of urban parks. The community is the key element of this process, and the most suitable development model comes as a result of people’s understanding about ecosystem sustainability as a unique and unavoidable choice.

notes

1
SILVA, Vicente de Paula da; FERREIRA, William Rodrigues. Parques urbanos de Uberlândia: estudo de caso no parque municipal Victório Siqueirolli. In: Anais do 2º Simpósio Regional de Geografia. Uberlândia, UFU, 2003, p. 1-11.

2
IBGE. Censo. Brasília, Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística, 2010. Dados disponíveis em <www.ibge.gov.br/cidadesat>. Acesso em: 01 jan. 2011.

3
Idem, ibidem.

4
ARAÚJO, Gustavo Henrique de Sousa; GUERRA, Antônio José Teixeira; ALMEIDA, Josimar Ribeiro de. Gestão ambiental. Rio de Janeiro, Bertrand, 2007.

5
ALMEIDA FILHO, Gerson Salviano de. Processos erosivos urbanos. In: POLETO, Cristiano (org.). Ambiente e sedimentos. Porto Alegre, ABRH, 2008, p. 39-63.

6
IBGE. Op. cit.

7
WHATELY, Marussia; SANTORO, Paula Freire; GONÇALVES, Bárbara Carvalho; GONZATTO, Ana Maria. Parques urbanos municipais de São Paulo: subsídios para a gestão. São Paulo, Instituto Socioambiental, 2008.

sobre o arquiteto

Alcindo Neckel is graduated in Geography (LP/B) from the University of Passo Fundo (2007). Master of Engineering with Major Field: Infrastructure and Environment at the University of Passo Fundo (2010). Degree in Environmental Management from Portal School (2012). Dr. in Geography from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul-UFRGS (2014). Researcher for the Faculdade Meridional /IMED.

Tauana Bertoldi is graduate in Architecture and Urbanism at the Southern College (IMED). Voluntary researcher Scientific Initiation of the Group for Study and Research on Urban Mobility (NEPMOUR) of Faculdade Meridional/IMED.

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197.06 environment
abstracts
how to quote

languages

original: english

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