URBAN AND HYDROGEOLOGICAL ALERT ON THE MORPHOCLIMATIC RISK AFFECTING QUITO’S WORLD HERITAGE
Keywords: Natural Risk, Ravines, Quito, Heritage, Memory
Abstract. The ecological risk attached to the filling of Quito’s ravines, together with the subsequent loss of a memory about their existence, are the focus of this paper which aims to provide a base for both comprehension and action. Ravines are part of the geomorphology of the city’s basin and play a vital role in the hydrogeological system of Quito’s water cycle. They have been filled over time, disappearing from urban maps. This disrupts ravines’ original course and natural drainage system generating risks. An integral multi-scale perspective that considers geomorphological and hydrogeological modifications is missing. Three problematics can be observed. Technical-infrastructural, Urban-spatial and Architectural-cultural. The conjugation of all the phenomena described above, constitutes a call to consciously establish the risk level to which this territory is exposed. The damage goes beyond material or human loss. It affects history, living memory, identity, and knowledge. All these aspects have contributed to the consideration of HCQ (Historical Centre of Quito) as World Heritage Site. These are valuable legacies that need to be preserved. Therefore, it is necessary to undertake a detailed inventory of: i) the technical constructive state of patrimonial buildings made using raw earth; ii) the modifications and current state of DMQ’s (Metropolitan District of Quito) ravines; iii) the existing interstitial spaces associated to the ravines’ path within the HCQ. The paradigm under consideration for the future is not conservation but integral protection. Rescuing Memory in relation to HCQ’s ravines as an active operator for transformative provisions associated to social, environmental, urban and architectonic dimensions becomes fundamental for future development.