Gurrutxaga M.; Marull J.; Domene E. et al. 2015. “Assessing the Integration of Landscape Connectivity into Comprehensive Spatial Planning in Spain”. Landscape Research.


The integration of landscape connectivity criteria into spatial planning through ecological networks formed by coherent open space systems has received increasing attention in Europe in the last few decades. In Spain, such integration began recently, in parallel with the development of a supralocal comprehensive spatial planning policy, which was practically non-existent a decade ago. An assessment of such integration is reported here, specifically on ecological networks inclusion within the spatially explicit zoning regulations of 11 regional and 66 subregional plans which had been approved in Spain until the end of 2012. At the same time, a survey was conducted among 22 Spanish and 14 European practitioners in order to detect possible deficiencies and opportunities to optimise this integration in Spain through a comparison with other European countries. An increasing integration of ecological networks into supralocal plans was observed, especially in subregional plans approved in the last five years, coinciding with a period of greater development in supralocal spatial planning policy, the end of the Spanish speculative housing bubble and new national legislation which encourages the promotion of ecological networks. However, the integration process is very uneven because homogeneous guidelines are not applied in the different regions. Spanish practitioners discerned wide room for improvement. The integration of ecological networks into multiscale spatial planning should be optimised in Spain, including improvements in local planning, strategic environmental assessment and training of planners in this topic.