This was the fourth UPAT of an agreement of six that was signed by ISOCARP and the Sitges Municipality. The initial commitment of ISOCARP was to help Sitges into the long term urban and regional planning organization and to develop several ideas that were on the mind of the Sitges society and administration.
This fourth UPAT was related of the social uses of the Garraf Natural Park, natural border of Sitges and other municipalities within the big area of Barcelona. El Garraf Natural Park and the Olèrdola County Park make up the southwest spur of what is known as the Catalan Coastal Mountain System, which extends over the counties of El Baix de Llobregat, L´Alt Penedès and El Garraf. Its boundaries are the lower valley of the River Llobregat, the Mediterranean Sea and the Penedès depression. Together they cover 12,984 hectares.
The two parks are made up predominantly of a rocky and rugged landscape, characterised by calcareous rock with a large number of cavities, do lines and sinkholes. El Garraf nevertheless has a small reddish sandstone strip at the eastern end of the park while the plain surrounding Olèrdola is covered with vineyards. The highest peaks in El Garraf are La Morella (594 m) and El Rascler (572 m). El Puig de l´Àliga (465 m) is the highest point on the central, rocky platform that characterises Olèrdola. These two areas are legally protected by special protection plans sponsored by Barcelona Provincial Council.
In El Garraf, the harsh conditions of the physical environment have ruled out the building of great monuments. The most representative forms of architecture of El Garraf are the farmhouses and buildings linked to agricultural activity, often associated withwine production, and the farmhouses connected to goat herding. This building heritage includes four especially noteworthy items. These are the Güell cellar and La Pleta, works by the Art Nouveau architect Berenguer; the hospital of Olesa de Bonesvalls, one of the best preserved examples of medieval hospital architecture, and the remarkable site of the palace of Plana Novella, right in El Garraf.
El Garraf Natural Park and Olèrdola County Park offer visitors a whole network of facilities and services for public use. The network provides a wide range of information centres, facilities and programmes linked to archaeology, pedagogy, history, art, astronomy and gastronomy. These are also complemented by a series of exhibitions, audio-visuals, workshops, courses, conferences and environmental study stays. Leisure activities also include a series of sign-posted walks and guided itineraries.
The objective of the UPAT was to come up with a medium-term strategy to revitalize the Natural Park in and guarantee the social dynamics of the space – accomplishing more social uses and maintaining some economic activity along the whole year. The project should be seen as a mixture of assessment upon economic, architectural and landscape possibilities. The Park should be finally understood as a system connected effectively to the Sitges’ microregion.