Windward coast and territorial organization of the island of Almería.
The article here on the La Voz de Almería site is the eleventh in the series.
Read More for a Google translation of the article.
Almeria stories about the landscape (XI): The possibility of an island
A series that aspires to intervene in the perception of geographical and territorial reality
The factors that explain the isolation of Almería and its characteristics have already been discussed in different installments of this series (VJ3 A model of human sedimentation; VJ6 The great void of the southeast; VJ7 The Almería-Poniente urban region).
But, although they have a common linguistic root, isolation is one thing and insularity is another. Raising the insularity of Almería, beyond its metaphorical character, invites an exercise in geography-fiction, which could have the following items.
Old road sign on the N-340.
With its 8,774 km2, Almería would be the fourth island in the Mediterranean by area, behind Sicily (25,426), Sardinia (24,090) and Cyprus (9,251). Almería is only 52 km2 larger than Corsica, which would follow in fifth place, and 438 km2 larger than Crete, which would rank sixth. It would be, by far, the largest Spanish island. The island of Mallorca (3,640 km2) would be located a long way away. The surface of Almería is greater than that of the entire Canary archipelago (7,493 km2).
The Barlovento coast
Without a doubt, the great geography-fiction theme of the island of Almería is to imagine what the Barlovento coast would be like (the entire current limit with the province of Granada). The first image that we glimpse is that of a coast with cliffs of more than 2,500 m., Which would correspond to the heights of Chullo and Almirez (Sierra Nevada). But, even within fiction, such a coastline would not be credible. Marine erosion would have shaped a coastline that, although steep, would generate its own coastline.
This part of the island would be much more humid than the rest, due to its situation with respect to the atmospheric situations of the west, dominant in our latitudes. The large basins of the Andarax, Nacimiento and Almanzora would split, contributing the westernmost part of their flows to a new hydrographic network that would flow into the east windward. Its sedimentary action would create a coastal platform, of greater extension next to the mouths of the different rivers. These coastal platforms together with the hydrographic network would house population centers, originally linked to the management of their plains, but increasingly disconnected from them, due to the process of outsourcing and holiday and tourist development.
Geography-fiction. The island of Almería
Another aspect that would undergo a radical change is that of the "drawing" of land transport, road and rail infrastructure. They would tend to adopt a circular structure, to connect the different coastal towns on the perimeter of the island. From Huércal-Overa, through Santa María de Nieva it would connect with the Chirivel corridor. From Berja, the island's main road would go to Fiñana, through the coastal towns of Alcolea, Paterna and Bayárcal. The railway would connect the four main ports of the island: Almería, Garrucha, Alcóntar and Fiñana.
The possibility of an island
As fun as our geography-fiction exercise is, our insularity is only metaphorical. But it is a very powerful metaphor, and it allows us to fable about physical and territorial processes, which makes us better understand how our current reality has been shaped.
The suggestive title of Houellebecq's story also invites us to think about our possibilities for the future. We can continue to fight against isolation by demanding better communication infrastructures. They are necessary and useful, and it is only fair that we demand them. But they are not magic.
The real territorial development challenges of the province have to do with much more domestic factors: they are the challenges of environmental and socio-labor integration around primary production; those of the territorial rebalancing between the coast and the interior; those of the safeguarding and promotion of our patrimonial elements, which show our deep and persistent identity; those of the tourist positioning; those of the reunion with the landscape, our main raw material.
And, above all, the strengthening of a sense of community that involves us in projects and makes us protagonists of our history. We are isolated, but not cursed. We have a possibility: the possibility of an island.
Next week, we will approach some keys to interpret the Almeria landscape.