MONTAÑA Elma Carmen
capítulos de libros
"Mendoza, The city-forest. Social identity and urban landscape on the dry lands of Argentina"
Urban Forests in Latin America. Uses, functions, representations
Universidad Externado de Colombia
Lugar: Bogotá; Año: 2006; p. 55 - 78
According to the type of city, its origin and history, its society and environmental conditions the open spaces materialize with different typologies. From small squares like remnants stolen from an apple orchard, to urban parks whose presence is an invasion of the urban warp and weft, to green spaces developed along the sides of highway, or on river banks, among the many possibilities. Different sizes, different forms, greater or lesser presence of vegetation, formal or classical in the French style, or romantic in the English tradition, inviting to contemplate a landscape or to actively participate in recreational, cultural, sporting and even productive activities. These open (green) spaces constitute, in one way ore another, singular and significant places in the city. The city of Mendoza, in the central West of Argentina. is no exception: it has city squares, both large and small and a variety of forms of green spaces among which a large park, the General San Martín park, inspired by the ideas of the Enlightenment of the end of the 18th century, is a high spot in the landscape. However, the most characteristic urban green expression is not in these green spaces but in urban trees. Here, urban town squares and gardens and complementary elements that strengthen the omnipresent green in streets with acequias (canals) lined by a screen of trees. This is the Argentinean city-forest of Mendoza. This article will present this typology of urban green as a system of “street-acequia-foothpath-tree”. The central hypothesis of this article has to do with the relationship between landscape –in this case urban- and social identity. It is understood that the urban woodland of Mendoza city transcends functional and bioclimatic factors to become the basis for identitary dimension. The image of streets bordered by trees and acequias constitute the urban expression of a dominant regional identity, developed around a paradigm that celebrates the control of a hostile nature. On the basis of this features, this analysis reviewed discourses and claims of diverse social actors and reconstruct regional identity founded on which woodland acquires a symbolic dimension. Alongside this dominant identity, there are also other constructing identities and disputes values, some associated with paradigms of different society-nature relationship. Within this framework, the existence of woodland ranking as Mendoza’s urban emblem appears to transcend functional and bioclimatic advantages and become reaffirmation of a dominant identity and, from this, of the supremacy of some dominant groups over other subordinate ones.