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

By Valerià Paül and 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.

DOI identifier: 10.1080/0964056042000308139
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