IGU Urban Commission, Canterbury, 2011
University of Girona, Spain
The anatomy of urban sprawl in the Mediterranean region: the case of the Girona districts (1979-2006)
The Spanish way towards globalisation was induced and sustained by growth of the tertiary sector as well as the real estate boom. In this context, the regeneration and expansion of cities developed at the same time as the great expansion of places for leisure and second homes. The theoretical part of this research, a doctoral dissertation, lies within the framework of the dispersed city phenomenon and is based on the hypothesis of convergence towards a global urban model. The empirical part demonstrates this proposition with a study of 522 zone development plans in the Girona districts (located on the northern edge of Barcelona’s metropolitan region) from 1979 to 2006. The conclusion is the consolidation of three morphological typologies: urban extensions, low-density housing estates and industrial parks. While urban extensions are related to the compact city model, low-density housing estates and industrial parks are associated mainly with urban sprawl. This duality reveals the transition to a new dispersed urban model that reflects globalisation, shortcomings of planning for urban growth and the post-modern culture.
Keywords: urban morphology, urban planning, globalisation, urban sprawl, postmodernism.