Depopulate the south of the island of La Palma? Urbanism will go behind science

73 years after the eruption of the San Juan Volcano, the house closest to its crater, in its west side, is 1.1 kilometers away. 51 years after the explosion o

Depopulate the south of the island of La Palma?
 Urbanism will go behind science

73 years after the eruption of the San Juan Volcano, the house closest to its crater, in its west side, is 1.1 kilometers away. 51 years after the explosion of Teneguía, the inhabitants closest to the crater are 2.1 kilometers, at a minimum settlement called Fuencaliente Beach. Now, with the old boiler volcano in full boiling, the 20,171 inhabitants of Los Llanos de Aridane, the most populated municipality of the Island of La Palma, the 4,600 neighbors of Tazacorte and those of some parishes of El Paso await the evolution of the Upcoming days to know what the future of your land will be. It is not foreseeable that lava destroy populated areas very significant, but it is likely that natural risk certainty will change the territorial policies of the islands.

"An island like the palm is governed by an insular plan, a supramunicipal norm that orders the territory and that is the result of a triangle of factors: protection of the environment, risk and needs of the population in terms of housing and infrastructures. The Risk factor refers, above all, to the floodability of each zone, to the probability of desertification and, in Canarias, to seismic and volcanic activity, "explains the architect José María Ezquiaga, Professor of Urbanism at the Polytechnic University of Madrid and co-author of the Insular Plan of Lanzarote.

"I would seem very logical that the palm will rethink its insular plan based on what is happening these days, you will have to recalize soils that were destined for agriculture and, above all, population areas. In addition, a new landscape will arise, That will first be a huge geological importance and that we will have to protect for its value as a landscape, as in Lanzarote, the Timanfaya environment has been protected. "

Does that mean that you have to empty places so far inhabited? "It is a possibility. In La Palma, Urbanism and Territorial Policy will have to go behind science and define risk areas," explains Ezquiaga. "There will be very high risk areas that will have to be depopulated, and others slight in which it will be enough with preparing a contingency plan. The problem is that we know less about the behavior of volcanoes than other risk factors. In an area with Trend to floods, it is easy to predict how water is going to behave, where you will go down and with what intensity. There are algorithms that allow us to predict the risks. With volcanoes it is more difficult. "

There is one more condition: the habitat of the island, which, as in the whole archipelago, is dispersed: along the roads of the palm are neighborhoods, alignments of six or seven houses almost in a continuous. The consolidated peoples are rare.

This feature has advantages and disadvantages in a situation like the one given these days in La Palma: the assessment of risks will be made meter to metro, home home, so it will be more efficient. In return, the bad part is that almost any ravine on the island, by remote that seems, can hide a populated area.

"It is the reflection that I have made these two days, it is obvious that the way we have to occupy the territory makes it very difficult to defend the population of natural risks," explains Ferrara Fisherman, professor of the Department of Art, City and Territory of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. "There are soils built on all the islands that should be protected. And there is a recent dispersion dedicated to the second home that makes the maintenance of the territory very expensive."

Why Canarian, like Galicia, have that scattered habitat? "At first, that responded to the farm that was given in the islands: people had to live on their plots," explains Fisherman. The intricate geography of five of the seven islands (all Lanzarote and Fuerteventura) took this type of occupation. "It is true that there is still significant agricultural activity in La Palma, but I believe that the reason, at this point, has to see more with the aspirations of people and also with second home tourism. People want to live with more space . What happens is that this is very expensive, very expensive for them and very expensive for the whole of society. In the Canary Islands we have to be all more aware of the territory we live, from the fragile it is. "

Updated Date: 21 September 2021, 06:07

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