GIS scheme based on scientific information to be used in land planning at different scales to ensure conservation of natural values and sustainable use of land.
The aim of the initiative is to foster a new territorial analysis and organisational strategy based on a multidisciplinary view of the territory, its potential and its fragilities, incorporating existing knowledge. Also to develop a cascade planning model (territorial organisation plans, master plans, town plans and management plans) based on a new concept and basic common information.
The SITxell project promotes the use of the informatio related to territorial analysis (geology, hydrology, botany, zoology, ecology, socio-economics, agronomy, town planning) both from independent groups of experts (university research centres, private consultants social organisations, etc.) and inside the administration itself for the socioeconomic development compatible with the preservation of ecosystem services essential for the maintenance of human welfare. Nowadays, we are channelling these planning purposes through the implementation of green infrastructure at local and regional scales.
The ultimate aim is to transform this expert information into knowledge that can easily be applied to territorial analysis, planning and management, to be used by all competent public administrations. So, the application of a concept and common information at the different levels and areas of territorial organisation promotes governability through concurrent, agreed planning mechanisms and substantially increases the effectiveness of public administration and the sustainable use of the territory.
Around 2 M€ were needed during first years (2003-2010) to acquire information through agreements with research centres. Nowadays, 50.000 €/year are needed to update information. One internal GIS expert is on charge of the system.
Evidence of success
SITxell has been used in land planning of in more than 100 municipalities. Recent plans have defined of Local Green Infrastructure. For protection purposes, it has been used in spatial plans for protected areas and for strategic plans (hydrology, agriculture). In regional planning SITxell analysis and purposes have been the basis for the definition of areas of special protection. SITxell website receives more than 50.000 visits/year, and thousands of downloads of data layers of information.
Main difficulties were related to lack of basic information and the existence of many different administrations involved on decision making. We have learned that the combination of scientific information and approach combined with a strong political support are key for the success of the project.
Potential for learning or transfer
Because of its flexible, adaptable nature, the concept behind the project can be applied to any region, simply adapting it to the particular features and information available. This is why the SITxell initiative has been taken as a reference for territorial analysis with direct application to planning throughout Europe. For this reason, the project has been presented at many seminars, congresses or master’s degree programmes in Europe (France, Italy, Denmark, Holland and the United Kingdom, as well as at international organisations such as the IUCN, EUROPARC, Eurosite), has been nominated as a finalist for the EPSA 2011 awards and has won first prize of the United Nations 2012 awards in the category “Improving knowledge management”.
SITxell has also been taken as an example of good analysis and territorial planning practices by the European Union as part of the “Green Infrastructure” initiative (Interreg Project Greeninfranet)
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