Monitoring planning compliance. Assessment of land use changes in Lezíria do Tejo region, Portugal

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Planning enforcement is “probably…the weakest link” in the planning system (Dobry 1975 in Mckay & Ellis, 2005). Detection of breaches of planning control can profit from analysis of aerial photography or aerial imagery (Harris, 2011). Despite its limitations systematic monitoring of land use changes provides an important valuation in planning compliance. This paper analyses the land use/cover data dynamics in three municipalities of Lezíria do Tejo region (Almeirim, Benavente and Santarém) and aims to support a reflection on the effectiveness of the main development restrictions foreseen in the Portuguese planning system: the National Agricultural Reserve and the National Environmental Reserve. A quantitative analysis of the recently-converted areas will be given, based on the comparison of land-use cartography, COS-1990 and COS-2007. Official data on unauthorized development (and information on the characteristics and motivation of private actors) is nonexistent. Therefore, the paper provides an important diagnosis and an overall perspective of the built-up increase during two important decades in which the planning system was implemented. Numbers indicate that farmland and environmentally sensitive areas are being reduced, due to land use changes in areas where guidelines and specific rules have been drawn up to guarantee their preservation. These outline the links of compliance and the very rationale of planning law which can aid planners, scholars and administration officers.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Definite Space – Fuzzy Responsibility, Prague, 13-16th July, 2015
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