STRATEGIC ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT FOR METROPOLITAN PLANS OF COASTAL AREAS. THE CASE OF VALENCIA
Free (open access)
Volume 12 (2017), Issue 8
1272 - 1281
JOSÉ LUIS MIRALLES I GARCIA
Many uses of land, such as for building and all kinds of infrastructure, are concentrated in the metropolitan areas of coastal cities. Often, urban and infrastructure uses are dispersed across the territory, generating situations of urban sprawl. In addition, especially in coastal areas, new urban expansion and new infrastructures are in conflict with other uses, such as for agrological areas, beaches or natural areas. In general, the best agricultural zones on the Mediterranean coast are next to the sea. The more important touristic areas are also next to the sea. Therefore, contradictions between sustainability and development are very intense. All these conditions take place in the metropolitan area of Valencia. Now, regional government wants to develop a metropolitan plan to generate an equilibrium between the different uses and to reserve areas for new urban use and infrastructure. In reality, the area’s population is now stable but, for economic activities to be competitive, new usage is required as logistic areas or to increase the rail network. A global vision is also needed for urban transport in the metropolitan area. On the other hand, the environmental impacts of current and planned uses can be significant. Moreover, the perception of environmental impacts has changed over time. It is necessary to preserve areas, such as agricultural areas or natural areas, but it is also necessary to produce the quality of landscape perceived by visitors or to generate a green infrastructure network, according to European policy. Finally, we must integrate all these elements with current and new urban and civil infrastructure uses through a public decision-making process. The objective of this paper is to introduce a methodology to integrate the process of public environmental assessment on the works to elaborate a metropolitan plan for a coastal city such as Valencia (Spain) next to the Mediterranean Sea.
Green infrastructure, landscape and urban planning; regional planning, strategic environmental assessment