The Leixões Logistics Platform, Portugal, and its Territory
AbstractWithin the global scenario, where the production has been fragmented in very distant locations, the attention has been placed on logistics and intermodality. The increasing flow of goods needs, indeed, a more efficient and effective logistics system, which requires logistics platforms located in strategic areas. These platforms, nevertheless, produce negative impacts on the areas where they are settled. Within this context, the present paper aims at critically analyzing the preliminary plan of the Leixões logistics platform, specifically the Gatões Guifões logistics node, in the Porto metropolitan area, in order to investigate how the following issues have been tackled: mobility, the relationship of the area with the patterns of the location system, the relationships with the environmental protection zones bordering the southern part of the logistics node. On the basis of this close scrutiny, some planning hypotheses have been put forward. These hypotheses aim to modify some patterns of the planning settlement layout, leaving the overall layout as it is. The Gatões Guifões logistics node represents an interesting case study because it is located in an area hosting scattered and medium sized settlements, which are typical of the “urbanized countryside”, with a dense network of different routes and with environmental protection areas. This paper underlines that the logistics platforms’ topic can/may become a planning, urban design and architecture topic. The logistics platforms are “mega-facilities” with functional peculiarities, which generate negative effects (social, economic, environmental) on the territory. The mitigation of such negative externalities, and the related compensation measures might be studied by the territorial scientists, the planners and become a relevant subject for the policy makers, too. Specifically, the so-called “sustainable integration” of the logistics structures is a topic involving both architectural and urban design expertise. The paper is structured into five sections. The introduction is followed by a short description of the logistics system in Portugal and of the National Logistics Plan. Section 3 is dedicated to the description of the Leixões platform preliminary project and Section 4 focuses on the critical analysis of such a project and on the planning alternatives. Conclusions follow.
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