Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, 24th ISUF 2017 - City and Territory in the Globalization Age

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Urban sprawl and citizen participation. A case study in the municipality of La Pobla de Vallbona (Valencia)
Eric Gielen, Yaiza Pérez Alonso, José Sergio Palencia Jiménez, Asenet Sosa Espinosa

Last modified: 14-05-2018


The accelerated urban growth of the last decades in Europe has caused, especially in the Spanish Mediterranean coast, a paradigm shift in much cities, moving from a mostly compact urban form to a more diffuse one. The concept of city has changed so much that even in a lot of dispersed municipalities, it becomes difficult to define its limits. This change implies not only ecological and economic impacts, but also, social effects. Urban sprawl makes difficult social interaction and reduces the community feeling, and therefore, social cohesion and identity. This produces also changes in the relations of citizens between them and with the city council. The research propounds a discussion about the challenges that the urban sprawl causes for the application of participative models in the decision making, understanding them as basic criterion of good government.

We analyze a case study to extract the complexity of articulating processes of citizen participation in territory with high dispersion based on a project carried out in the municipality of La Pobla de Vallbona (Valencia) on participatory budgets. It analyzes the results of the process carried out in relation to the urban model, the morphology of their urban pieces and spatial structure, and the demographic and social characteristics of the municipality.

The question is identifying the problematic for the articulation of participative processes in territories with this idiosyncrasy. Finally, the article suggests a series of strategic lines as starting points to achieve participatory processes in the city characterized by urban sprawl.

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