Publication Details

Reference Category Journals
DOI / URL link
Title (Primary) Taming expansive land use dynamics – Sustainable land use regulation and urban sprawl in a comparative perspective
Author Bovet, J.; Reese, M.; Köck, W.;
Journal Land Use Policy
Year 2018
Department UPR;
Volume 77
Language englisch;
POF III (all) T13; T12;
Keywords Sustainable land management; Urban sprawl; Comparison of land use planning laws; Key governance requirements for sustainable land management; Effectiveness; Land use; Sustainability indicator
UFZ wide themes RU6
Abstract Urban sprawl and infrastructure pose a major sustainability challenge. It is therefore extremely important for countries to implement advanced land use planning and steering instruments that are designed to mitigate urban sprawl and to enforce thrift development within a coherent legal framework of sustainable land use governance. The following article presents the results of a comparative legal assessment that looks at how this major challenge is tackled in certain countries (Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Spain, Poland). The assessment is placed within a broader analytic framework based upon four key requirements of sustainable land use regulation which are also important precondition to successful mitigation of urban sprawl. These key requirements of sustainable land use regulation are described in the first part of the article. In the second part we present the results of the comparative assessment and describe how the key requirements are implemented in the land use regimes of the countries assessed, with a special focus on the mitigation of open space consumption. The evaluation shows the extent to which Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Spain and Poland have advanced in adjusting their environmental and planning laws to the demands of sustainability and how, despite this, diverse opportunities for improvement remain. One important conclusion relates to the key requirement of setting clear sustainability targets and implementing regulatory mechanisms relating to those targets. In this regard a major deficiency of the existing national approaches lies in the fact that, so far, only two countries have set clear political targets: Germany has set a target to reduce land take for human settlements and transport infrastructure to a maximum of 30 ha a day and Switzerland has set a target of limiting land consumption for residential purposes at 400 m2 per capita. But even there, there is no effective regime in place to ensure that the targets are met. Another conclusion relates to the key requirement of integrated and responsive steering and points to the importance of formal planning and assessment regimes in ensuring that shared environmental interests are properly integrated and that spatial planning and zoning are regularly monitored and reviewed. In this regard, we see that all the countries assessed have implemented monitoring systems and formal Environmental Assessments (EA) for land use and construction plans. However, the way these EAs are designed differs considerably, and therefore the national implementation is sometimes ineffective.
ID 19119
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Bovet, J., Reese, M., Köck, W. (2018):
Taming expansive land use dynamics – Sustainable land use regulation and urban sprawl in a comparative perspective
Land Use Pol. 77 , 837 - 845