Renewable Energies and Urban Environment in Spain

Renewable Energies and Urban Environment in Spain

María Jesús García García
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-7793-6.ch008
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Abstract

Sustainable development is a type of development that advocates first of all the harmonization between economic development and environmental protection, adding social progress; it would therefore be a development in which high and stable growth in the production of goods and services is compatible with widespread social progress, environmental protection, and prudent and efficient use of natural resources. Among the different sectoral areas transferred by the idea of sustainable development is undoubtedly the field of urban planning and housing. The activity generated in cities has an important environmental impact, so it is necessary to orient urban structures, homes, and buildings under premises that are as respectful as possible with the environment, also taking advantage of its economic potential and its effect on the social fabric that inhabits it. It is about promoting integrated actions in the urban environment that are in tune with the objectives.
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Introduction

The idea of sustainable development has to relate to other concepts and ideas within the framework of which it finds its justification and its content. We cannot talk about sustainable development without first placing it in a broader context from which it owes. In this sense, a reference to the principle of sustainable development, energy efficiency and the idea of urban renovation is necessary. These are generic concepts within the framework of which energy renovation is framed and which also lend its justification and reason for being.

The first term to which it is necessary to allude to explain the idea of energy renovation has to do with the concept of sustainable development, which for some time now has been used in our domestic legislation and whose legal implementation has been carried out mainly through Law 2/2011, of 4 March, on Sustainable Economy.

Sustainable development is a concept that combines three interrelated elements and has traditionally been treated differently in Spanish legislation. Perhaps that is why it can be said that in our legal system the concept is relatively new in that it interrelates different objectives that converge in the different sectoral areas, emphasizing the interdependence between them rather than in their singular treatment (Chu, Steven, and Arun Majumdar 2012). These three elements or pillars that converge in the concept of sustainable development are: social, economic and environmental. “Sustainable development is a type of development that advocates first of all the harmonization between economic development and environmental protection, adding social progress; it would therefore be development in which high and stable growth in the production of goods and services is compatible with widespread social progress, environmental protection and prudent and efficient use of natural resources.”; it is therefore a delicate building supported by three main pillars: social, economic and environmental in which none of them prevails over the others ”.

Accordingly, sustainability has an integrated character, preceded as it is by the objectives of economic recovery, environmental sustainability and social cohesion. It is a general principle with transversal or horizontal projection, capable of crossing different and varied sectoral areas, as many as are relevant to achieve its integrating objectives (Curry, Nathan, and Pragasen Pillay, 2012).

Among the different sectoral areas transferred by the idea of sustainable development is undoubtedly the field of urban planning and housing. The activity generated in cities has an important environmental impact, so it is necessary to orient urban structures, homes and buildings under premises that are as respectful as possible with the environment, also taking advantage of its economic potential and its effect on the social fabric that inhabits it. It is about promoting integrated actions in the urban environment that are in tune with the objectives also integrating sustainable development.

Since sustainable development is an integrative concept, its influence on the urban and housing sector could not fail to have these same connotations, insofar as sustainable urbanism is nothing but a projection of sustained development in a specific area. Urban planning must respond to the requirements of sustainable development, minimizing its commitment to growth and betting on the regeneration of the existing city in order to achieve a sustainable and inclusive urban model, environmentally, socially and economically that improves the quality of life of citizens in urban spaces. In short, we are talking about the integrated objectives of sustainability applied to urban planning, in which the duty of conservation plays a fundamental role.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Sustainability: Sustainability is usually defined as the processes and actions through which humankind avoids the depletion of natural resources, in order to keep an ecological balance that doesn’t allow the quality of life of modern societies to decrease.

Urban Renewal: Rehabilitation of impoverished urban neighborhoods by large-scale renovation or reconstruction of housing and public works.

Duty of Conservation: Urban conservation is concerned with those parts of the built environment that are of architectural or historic significance. This includes buildings (individually or in groups), localities (streets, blocks, environments, or precincts), special gardens or landscapes, and other structures.

Renewable Energy: Renewable energies (or renewables) are ways to generate energy from (theoretically) unlimited natural resources. These resources are either available with no time limit or replenish more quickly than the rate at which they are consumed. Renewable energies are generally spoken of as opposed to fossil fuel energies.

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