Modification of traditional spatial plans to green ones for sustainable future
The City of Karlovac has recently completed its Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan and is now in the process of modifying its spatial and zoning plans. The City has recognized the potential synergy between the two actions and is, with the support from the North-West Croatia Regional Energy Agency, integrating them into the first Green spatial and zoning plan in Croatia. The overall concept is to empower and enable local and regional governments to explicitly set and bindingly enforce their development pathways with a focus on sustainable development and environmental protection, using tools already at their disposal.
Within the project, a set of guidelines for the integration of energy and climate measures into the cities spatial and zoning plans will be developed, backed by a set of assessments and analysis, and subsequently implemented. The final result of the action will be a Green spatial and zoning plan which will define and mandate the implementation of climate change mitigation and adaptation measures within the City limits. This will include measures which will go beyond the state of the art. These measures will include the definition of low carbon or carbon free zones, limitation on the expansion of the use of fossil fuels for heating, mandate the implementation of building scale renewable energy production or use of green infrastructure and so on.
The planning phase requires limited resources to:
Develop energy and climate guidelines;
Integrate energy and climate measures into spatial plans.
The implementation phase requires significant resources to:
Support the implementation of the proposed energy and climate measures
Evidence of success
The process is still ongoing. A first draft of the suggested zoning changes and the energy and climate measures has been prepared and presented to the City of Karlovac. This is the first action of this kind in Croatia, where SECAP measures are directly connected to the most important spatial planning and execution activities.
As this is a pilot project in Croatia, it consisted of several new concepts in the field of spatial and urban planning and was, as such, a learning experience both for the City of Karlovac and REGEA. It was a challenge to adapt some of the measures to the language of spatial planning.
Potential for learning or transfer
The learning and transfer potential of this practice is very strong. All municipalities, cities and regions have spatial planning practices across Europe and often lack the capacity or experiences to properly integrate energy and climate into them. This can be a lighthouse example of how to develop and implement green spatial plans thus enabling local and regional governments to explicitly and directly tailor their development pathways. Potential is even stronger if properly connected with budgetary planning and with the ex-ante documents in relation to usage of structural funding for energy and climate issues.