Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Sustainable territorial development and urban growth: a critical interaction: the Spanish Mediterranean Coast, and Catalonia, during the last two decadas

Nicolas Colaninno


The paper aims to provide a reflection about the different types of models of urban growth in
relation to the territorial natural context, it means an investigation about those relationships
established between natural environment and human involvement which often, and especially in
recent years, have generated not a few conflicts in the balance among urban / non-urban
combination. Certainly, the urbanization process is affected by natural and administrative
factors, but it is clear that there is a tendency to occupy the most productive and most profitable
portions of landscape. If we look at how urbanization has spread over territory during the last
twenty or thirty years, and we concentrate on its forms of occupying the soil, we have the clear
suspect that urbanization, above all in the Mediterranean area, and even more toward the
immediate coastal line, has underwent a process of uncontrolled, uncoordinated planning,
almost without care for environmental problems. An important piece of evidence is that, in 2006,
the first kilometre of coastal territory, along the Spanish Mediterranean coast, was 30%
urbanized; this percentage, which was as low as 22% in 1990, goes down flatly already in the
second kilometre (16% in 2006) to reach very low values at a distance of 20 or 40 kilometres.

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