Nutrition Spain , León, Monday, May 04 of 2015, 17:06

A project analyses business areas in Northern Spain

The INVESTER Research Group of the Universidad de León has studied the arrangement, planning, and management of business areas

Cristina G. Pedraz/DICYT Researchers of the INVESTER Group of the Universidad de León (ULE), led by Professor Paz Benito del Pozo, have carried out a research project on the arrangement, planning, and management of the business areas of Northern Spain. The initiative has been financed by the Ministry of Science and Innovation for the three years of its duration (between 2011 and 2013) and its results are being revealed in numerous articles, books, and didactic resources such as the Atlas of Business Areas published by the Universidad de León or the book Territorial planning and the development of business land in Spain from the Thomson Reuters-Aranzadi publishing house.

The scope of study of the project ranges over six autonomous regions: Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, Castilla y León, the Basque Country, and Navarra.

As has been explained by Paz Benito del Pozo, professor of Human Geography at the ULE and the director of the INVESTER Group, the main objective was “analysing the territorial model for industry and the importance of planned industrial sites in Northern Spain after the industrial reconversion stage and within the framework of a globalised economy, which involves a new logic in the distribution and the territorial organisation of industrial activities and their associated services”.

These processes are influenced on the one hand by public policies and on the other by the structure and dynamics of the business fabric. The project has focused its interest on four key aspects in order to understand the spatial organisation and the importance of the planning of business areas: the criteria governing the arrangement of spaces for economic activities; official planning of industrial land; the patterns of urban development of sites for companies in urban and rural areas; and the approaches and actions of the agents intervening in the management of business areas.

In order to carry out the project a methodology was proposed to combine quantitative and qualitative techniques ranging from bibliographical/documentary tracking to field work and the carrying out of surveys and interviews. The basic sources examined were regional regulations on town and country planning, town planning legislation, the industrial land plans of the Governments of the autonomous regions, municipal town planning, and the action programmes of the public promoters of business land (national bodies, regional agencies, town councils, and mixed companies).

Results of the project

As Paz Benito explains, the project “has allowed progress in the general knowledge of the spatial logic of business areas and the territorial model of industrial sites in Galicia, Asturias, Castilla y León, Cantabria, the Basque Country, and Navarra”.

Firstly it is confirmed that the regions subject to restructuring processes between 1980 and 1990 and with official industrial land plans since 2000 develop a very concentrated territorial model for business sites, linked to city centres and more dynamic and accessible cities. The categories of spaces for companies are very varied: industrial estates, business parks, technological parks, logistic areas, etcetera.

On the other hand, the planning criteria for business areas in the autonomous regions studied have been established precisely and the weaknesses and strengths of the basic management instrument have been identified. The rules governing the official planning of industrial land have also been determined and it has been confirmed that the volume of land put on the market, its distribution and spatial location, and its urban characteristics and services “are highly coherent with the actual supply and demand, although it is also confirmed that part of the land offered rather reflects political interests than the capacity of the territory”.

On a municipal scale it has been shown that urban planning “encourages industry in urban areas and to a lesser extent in rural areas”. The size of the industrial estates and business parks varies from 20 to 100 hectares, with plots that adapt to the demand from companies and an offer of services that tends to improve their quality.

Management of business areas

In the first instance the management of business areas falls to public promoting agents (preferably Town Councils and Governments of the Autonomous Regions) and secondly (when the plots have been sold and occupied) to the entrepreneurs who are grouped in associations of industrial estates in order to carry out this function.

Paz Benito del Pozo specifies that the project's greatest achievement is that it has confirmed the main initial hypothesis, i.e. “that in the north of the country a territorial industrial model of the concentrated type prevails, although to a lesser extent than formerly, articulated by more diverse categories of sites albeit standardised, the result of the superposition of town and country planning policies, the official planning of industrial land, and municipal town planning”.

On an urban and metropolitan scale it is concluded that industry-city relationships are being strengthened. “It can be affirmed that the industrial city is not dead; the spatial logic of industrial activities has simply been transformed in relation to the urban or metropolitan space which contains them. At the same time a certain dispersal of industry can be appreciated in rural areas, which affects the articulation and general efficiency of the territory”.

Finally, the landscape created by business areas is being transformed to make it more extensive, hybrid in nature (industry + very heterogeneous services), and with the factory giving way to warehouses designed by architects and office buildings and business incubators.




Bibliographical references:

Benito del Pozo, Paz (dir.) (2014): Planificación territorial y desarrollo de suelo empresarial en España. Navarra, Thomson Reuters-Aranzadi, 242 pp. ISBN 987-84-9059-391-2.

Benito del Pozo, Paz (dir) (2014): Atlas de Áreas Empresariales. Un recurso didáctico para el estudio de los modelos territoriales de la industria. León, Secretariado de Publicaciones de la Universidad de León. ISBN 978-84-9773-664-0.

Benito del Pozo, P. (2014): “Paisajes industriales y áreas empresariales en transformación. Apunte sobre Avilés y Gijón”, en J. Cortizo, J. Mª Redondo y Mª J. Sánchez (coords): De la Geografía Rural al desarrollo Local. Homenaje a Antonio Maya Frades. León, Secretariado de Publicaciones de la Universidad de León, pp. 429-441. ISBN 978-84-9773-669-5.

Pascual, Henar; Benito del Pozo, P. (2014): “Los parques tecnológicos ante la crisis: situación y desafíos”, en J.M. Albertos y J.L. Sánchez (coords.): Geografía de la crisis económica en España. Valencia, Publicaciones de la Universidad de Valencia, pp. 639-666. ISBN 978-84-370.