Development madness turned Spain into the European country that created the most urban land between 2000 and 2006, according to a recent study by the European Environmental Agency (EEA). A series of satellite images show that over this period, Spain accounted for 24 percent of all newly developed land in the European Union, followed by France with 12 percent and Germany with nine percent.
The subsequent economic crisis has served to slow down this trend, benefiting green areas and arable land, as well as some of the animal and plant species that live in them. But the real estate bubble has left behind enough land already classified as available to build on to last the next 35 to 40 years at an average annual pace of around 150,000 new housing units, according to the Public Works Ministry's Urban Information System.
That means there are 709,577 hectares of land that could still be rescued and returned to nature.
It is this great pocket of land that environmentalists want to win back by having it reclassified as green space once more, at least in cases where construction is not imminent. It will not be easy because money, or the promise of it, is at stake.
...continue reading "The bright side of the property crisis"