Into the Mangroves
A park brings the Amazonís aquatic landscape closer to urban residents.
By Jimena Martignoni
Converting degraded landscapes for environmental purposes has become one of the most common types of projects facing landscape architects all over the world. Once rehabilitated, such sites are models of positive land use and, in most cases, also create public space.
The Mangal das Garças, or Mangrove of the Herons, a project
in the city of Belém, in the state of Pará, Brazil, goes beyond this
contemporary planning trend not only to convert an abandoned naval shipyard
into naturalistic green space, but also to restore this property to local
residents as a public park.
The intent of the projectís originator, Paráís secretary of
culture, Paolo Chaves, was to create a park that contained the significant
characteristics of the Amazonian landscape, stressing the many native species
that make this natural scenery so unique. This re-creation, whose best results were thought to be achievable
only in the long term, aimed to get residents closer to the local environment
and its cultural significance.
Here in this city on the Guama River, a tributary of the Amazon, one of the endemic plants with this kind of cultural resonance is the
aninga (Montrichardia arborescens), an aquatic species native to tropical forests. In the Mangal das Garças, a
natural population of aningas was recovered at the shore and incorporated into
the new park.