Urban design opportunities in Spain

Spain is renowned for the design quality of its architectural and public space. However, Spanish planning legislation is virtually silent on built environmental quality.  Municipal plans are little more than zoning documents, urban design guidelines are rarely produced and the public is generally disinterested in the planning process.

Larry’s presentation examines how urban design opportunity is nurtured despite these apparent contradictions. Part of the answer lies in cultural differences regarding design and design professionals, with Spanish architects maintaining a near monopoly on built environmental design. Equally crucial is the Spanish planning system which does not expend undue energy on defining good design, but rather on structuring planning mechanisms to enable urban design opportunity and especially to streamline urban renewal.

Surprisingly, these design opportunities and the precinct planning which enables them, are almost invariably initiated, funded and implemented by the private sector. Over many decades, the Spanish planning system has been refined to facilitate land adjustment without resorting to compulsory acquisition, to achieve a high degree of private provision of public infrastructure and to establish viable and equitable built form controls. By providing a controlled legal framework for land owners to undertake many local planning tasks, the Spanish generally avoid unrealistic plans and are alert to achievable design opportunities.

Larry Parsons, Director Urban Design, Victorian Department of Planning and Community Development will speak at the 5th International Urban Design Conference – The Hilton on the Park, Melbourne, Australia 10th – 12th September, 2012.

The FULL PROGRAM is now available on the conference website

E: conference@urbandesignaustralia.com.au  |    W:  http://urbandesignaustralia.com.au

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