FR-1 :: Allocation of Land

The pressure on land increases in urban areas but also in rural zones. In France, the growth rate of artificialized soils between 2006 and 2012 is + 0.49% per year. It is significantly lower than the rate observed between 2000 and 2006 (+ 1.30% per year). In comparison, the population growth is 0.53% per year. The rural areas are more concerned by soil artificialization, because free space is more easily available. Between 2006 and 2012, more than 87% of newly artificialized territories were taken over agricultural soils. In 2012, agricultural soils represent 60% of the metropolitan area, vs 3% for artificialized soils. In 2006-2012, 1.2% of the territory has changed of use (0.8% in 2000 2006). The conversion and re-functionalization of artificialized soils is a more limited phenomenon (CGDD, 2015). In this context, the question of allocation of land is of particular interest. It involves important societal challenges such as concurrence on land use (e.g. biomass production for energy production vs food production), as well as the need of space for human development. For instance, the biomass production for energy sector represents about 60% of renewable energy in France, and should remain stable until 2020. This is the main sector of production of renewable energy according to the French Ministry of Ecology Phenomena linked to climate change (increase of pressure on land due to climate change and population migration) is also addressed by the question of allocation of land.
Specific research questions (following the conceptual model of INSPIRATION)
• - Increase in research type questions on landscape planning about trade-offs between wellbeing and cost of services in low density areas, carbon foot print of commuting, and more specifically for soil about trade-offs between wellbeing and food supply (it’s cheaper to build settlements on flat areas, which are also those with the higher crop potential).
Why: To answer to the huge demand from society for houses with garden in well-connected areas.
Natural capital
• Assessment of ecological state or soil quality by choosing specific criteria, in relation with French policy (law on biodiversity). Focusing on compensation structures.
Why: Policy is emerging on this topic and not yet entirely validated by scientific studies.
Land management
• Management of contaminated sites with vulnerability soil map related to its use, re-functionalization of low contaminated sites, land use cartography at a relevant scale for local planners.
Why: there is a need to make available planning tools at a local scale to address urbanism questions.
• Study and understand phenomena such as “land take” and “soil sealing” into order to prevent urbanisation (need for decision-making tools allowing to make judgements on the choices/actions).
Why: it is necessary to arbitrate between several potential land uses in a context of pressure on land.
• Better management of urban soils, with an integration of the specific objectives in strategic documents of territorial planning. Observatories adapted to different scales should allow carrying out the monitoring of urban soils. Other tools would be the promotion urbanization projects consuming less space, facilitated use of brownfields, implementation in appropriate fiscal tools and integration of the reuse of excavated land.
Why: the main objective is to reduce urban sprawl and the net increase in soil artificialization.
Net impacts
• Develop evaluation methodology to compare the efficiency of treatment techniques, evaluate the real risk vs. potential risk of soil contaminated for the environment.
Why: this is a societal need because actual data from risk assessment studies on polluted sites are anxiety producing for the society.