Town and country planning is based on the Land and Urban Planning Regulatory Act of 1956, revised in 1975 and again in 1990 by the Urban Regulatory and Land Appraisal Act. In essence the Acts (a) provide for the establishment of general municipal plans (which "zone" land into urban, urbanisable and non-urban areas) and of more detailed sub-plans for development areas, and (b) grant building rights to landowners on condition of their fulfilling certain obligations. Central to the 1956 Act, and to subsequent reforms, are two fundamental principles: the allocation of a substantial percentage of a development to various public uses including public housing development, and "the fair distribution of the costs and benefits of planning". This latter principle entails allocating the building rights, and with them the costs of the infrastructure and construction, as well as the profits from the same, to the owners of the land to be developed in proportion to their holding, but not to where it is sited in relation to the plan. This means that the original owner of land planned for a public park or school is not at a disadvantage compared with the owner of land planned for luxury housing. In addition, a particular provision of the 1990 Act discourages land speculation by allowing for compulsory purchase of land not developed within a fixed time-scale, with only 50 percent of its developmental value being returnable to the original owner.
   In practice, however, planning regulations have frequently been ignored. This was particularly true of the urban, second home, and especially tourist developments of the 1960s and 1970s which took place with more regard for profit than for quality of life and environment. The tourist resort of Torremolinos is a prime example of chaotic growth which was allowed to outrun the zoning, public use and infrastructure regulations, so that in the 1990s, when upgrading became essential to its competitiveness, deficiencies in sewage disposal and in public amenities such as parks, promenades, theatres, sports and other leisure provisions had to be remedied. The "congested and sterile" environment of cities, as the result of untrammelled growth on the outskirts and unsympathetic re-development in the centre, had similarly to be tackled by urban renewal plans, the most spectacular examples being slum clearance projects in Madrid, and the upgrading of Seville and Barcelona for Expo-92 and the Olympic Games respectively.
   Further reading
   - France, L. and Barke, M. (1992) "Torremolinos: Then and Now", Geographical Magazine Supplement, January 1992: 4–7 (a brief overview of the development of the resort).
   - García Bellido, J. (1991) "European Viewpoint: A (Revolutionary Framework for Spanish Town Planning", Town Planning Review, 62 (4): v–viii (a description of the 1990 Act with a brief historical background).
   - Pollard, J. and Domínguez Rodríguez, R. (1995) "Unconstrained Growth: The Development of a Spanish Resort", Geography 80 (1): 33–44(a very informative and detailed analysis of the relationship between expansion and planning in the growth of Torremolinos).
   - Wilson, G. (1993) "Regenerating Barcelona", Planner, 79 (7): 24.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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