Water giveth, water taketh away


  • Teresa Marat-Mendes DINÂMIA'CET-IUL, Instituto Universitário de Lisboa
  • Joana Mourão DINÂMIA'CET-IUL, Instituto Universitário de Lisboa
  • Patrícia Bento d'Almeida DINÂMIA'CET-IUL, Instituto Universitário de Lisboa
  • Samuel Niza IN+/ISR Lisboa, Instituto Superior Técnico
  • Daniela Ferreira


water, cartography, crops, surveys, territory, Lisbon Metropolitan Area


This article reveals the opportunity to include methods of visual characterization in analysis of urban metabolism, particularly for metropolitan areas. The article exhibits the application of a model of visual characterization as implemented in the territory that corresponds to the present Lisbon Metropolitan Area (AML). The analysis has focused its study cases on the most important settlements of this territory, in 1900. This paper identifies the relationships between water supply, sanitation and hygiene and the territory morphology, through the confrontation of historical surveys and cartography. An analysis of water use (from the surveys) and of the settlements morphology (from the cartography) was developed. This study evidences the existence of a complex mosaic of different landscapes that do testify distinct practices of water management, as used in 1900. The results confirm the feasibility of articulating different documentary sources for the benefit of the visual characterization method, in terms of indicators needed for the visualization of the urban metabolism, and therefore contribute to the contextualization of its future accounting.