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Containing Urban Sprawl: Trends in Land Use and Spatial Planning in the Metropolitan Region of Barcelona


  • Valeria Paul
  • Matthew Tonts


In recent decades, there has been considerable debate in the Metropolitan Region of Barcelona regarding the role of spatial planning in influencing general land-use trends. There is a widespread belief amongst geographers, environmentalists, planners and some politicians that spatial planning of the metropolitan region has not been particularly successful in reducing urban pressures on rural areas. The aim of this study is to explore the apparent links between urban sprawl, spatial planning and changing land use in the rural-urban fringe of Barcelona. The paper demonstrates that the main impacts of sprawl have been concentrated in agricultural areas, and that the planning system has not been capable of containing urban growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Valeria Paul & Matthew Tonts, 2005. "Containing Urban Sprawl: Trends in Land Use and Spatial Planning in the Metropolitan Region of Barcelona," Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(1), pages 7-35.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jenpmg:v:48:y:2005:i:1:p:7-35
    DOI: 10.1080/0964056042000308139

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    Cited by:

    1. Balanzó, Rafael de & Rodríguez-Planas, Núria, 2017. "Crisis and Reorganization in Urban Dynamics: The Barcelona Case Study," IZA Discussion Papers 10748, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. repec:eee:ecolec:v:146:y:2018:i:c:p:173-183 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:rrs:journl:v:11:y:2017:i:1:p:76-101 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Luca Salvati, 2013. "Struttura produttiva, dinamiche di diffusione urbana e distribuzione spaziale dell’impermeabilizzazione del suolo: un’analisi esplorativa a scala locale," RIVISTA DI ECONOMIA E STATISTICA DEL TERRITORIO, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2013(2), pages 22-36.
    5. V. Masson & Y. Lion & A. Peter & G. Pigeon & J. Buyck & E. Brun, 2013. "“Grand Paris”: regional landscape change to adapt city to climate warming," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 117(4), pages 769-782, April.
    6. repec:spr:endesu:v:19:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10668-015-9742-y is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Tomaso Ceccarelli & Luca Salvati & Sofia Bajocco & Pier Luigi Perini, 2015. "Land-Use Trajectories and ‘Syndromes’ of Land Degradation in Northern Italy," SCIENZE REGIONALI, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2015(1), pages 85-98.
    8. Luca Salvati & Giuseppe Venanzoni & Pere Serra & Margherita Carlucci, 2016. "Scattered or polycentric? Untangling urban growth in three southern European metropolitan regions through exploratory spatial data analysis," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 57(1), pages 1-29, July.
    9. Bev Wilson & Arnab Chakraborty, 2013. "The Environmental Impacts of Sprawl: Emergent Themes from the Past Decade of Planning Research," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(8), pages 1-26, August.
    10. Luca SAlvati, 2014. "Looking At The Future Of The Mediterranean Urban Regions: Demographic Trends And Socioeconomic," Romanian Journal of Regional Science, Romanian Regional Science Association, vol. 8(2), pages 74-83, DECEMBER.
    11. Depietri, Yaella & Kallis, Giorgos & Baró, Francesc & Cattaneo, Claudio, 2016. "The urban political ecology of ecosystem services: The case of Barcelona," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 83-100.
    12. Huang, Ke & Zhang, An-lu, 2015. "Relationship between Rural-Urban Land Conservation and Economic Development of Metropolitans in China," 2015 Conference (59th), February 10-13, 2015, Rotorua, New Zealand 202526, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    13. Esther Sanyé-Mengual & Isabelle Anguelovski & Jordi Oliver-Solà & Juan Ignacio Montero & Joan Rieradevall, 2016. "Resolving differing stakeholder perceptions of urban rooftop farming in Mediterranean cities: promoting food production as a driver for innovative forms of urban agriculture," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 33(1), pages 101-120, March.
    14. Salvati, Luca & Sateriano, Adele & Grigoriadis, Efstathios & Carlucci, Margherita, 2017. "New wine in old bottles: The (changing) socioeconomic attributes of sprawl during building boom and stagnation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 361-372.
    15. Luca Salvati & Alberto Sabbi, 2014. "Identifying urban diffusion in compact cities through a comparative multivariate procedure," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 53(2), pages 557-575, September.
    16. Lluis Parcerisas & Joan Marull & Joan Pino & Enric Tello & Francesc Coll & Corina Basnou, 2012. "Land use changes, landscape ecology and their socioeconomic driving forces in the Spanish Mediterranean coast (the Maresme County, 1850-2005)," Working Papers in Economics 273, Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia.

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