European Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research -

COST Action C11

Working Group 2 - Spatial planning and greenspace

National data on planning systems












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Spatial planning in France

Bernard Duhem

Native name




Loi sur la protection des monuments historiques et sur la protection des sites (classés ou inscrits)

Secteurs sauvegardés,

Espaces sensibles,

Espaces naturels sensibles et taxe des ENS

Laws on protection of historic buildings,

natural beauties

historical centers

Sensitive spaces

Natural sensitive areas

o Law of 31/121913 for monuments,

o enlarged to natural beauties (2/05/1930) , listing the things and places to conserve,

o historical centers (safeguard sectors, 4/08/1962, with rules much more precise than the local plan, giving urban quality goals and refraining demolition in histical centers (90 cities have one in 1999)

Protected sensitive ecological spaces (1959/1985 and 22/04/87) : regions can buy sensitive land to open to public with a tax they can ask from the builders (2/3 of regions do it and buy spaces along rivers mostly).

Parcs nationaux

National Parks

Law issued 22/07/1960.

For rare and rich ecological territories, heavy work out (on control of State) and strong protection.

7 do exist (0,66 % of national soil), 3 others are in project. Quality is fitting with thespecifications of the international union for Conservation of Nature.

Visits are incresing each year.

Parcs naturels régionaux

Regional nature parks

Law of 5/07/72 (revised 8/01/93) covering 10 % of national soil, the first ones where situatued very close to big towns to offer leasure-grounds, they permit protection of agricultural sensitive land and traditional agricultural good manners and respect of the environment and of landscapes,

Loi d'orientation foncière

Plan d'occupation des sols

Town planning Law :

Local plan or Master plan (municipal)

Law for town-planning issued in 1967 and since was completed with the disposals from the others legislations. (in the sixties the goal was to decompress dense cities, and the law was taken to make easy urbanisation in the rural suburban parts of towns). By now the local plan has to take care of landscape,…

The local plan is not compulsory, small municipalities can have a simplified form of it or even just obey to the national urban policy requirements. The local plan gives plot ratio for areas and specifications, existing greenspaces to be protected are listed (forests, natural areas, farmland. The average of protected soil in the whole municipalities having a local plan is 32 %).

More detailed plans are possible,

Proceeding for special layout are possible, by contract with a devloper (concerted layout zone)

Schéma directeur d'aménagement et d'urbanisme, schéma de secteur,

Town planning Law :

Structure plan

Not compulsory,

Adopted by big towns during the 70s but rarely carried out by now,

Schéma de service,

Regional planning

Issuing from the law on cooperation (1999), regional services schemes have to be studied ( contracts are to be prepared at different levels, for projects developing sustainability which are funded)

Loi sur la protection de la nature,

Loi sur l'eau,

Loi sur l'air,

Réserves naturelles

Law of protection of Nature,

Water resources (and wetland areas),

Nature Reserves

10/07/1976, making compulsory study of effects on Environment for big project, and mitigation and compensation,

Law on water (3/01/1992), on clean air,

Law issued in 1957, more than 150 but small in size, respecting prescriptions of the network Unesco is coordonating for Nature Reserves,

Natura 2000

Law in project (sites have to be designated for 2004)

5 % of national soil is listed in Natural 2000 sites (15 % were proposed by associations for Nature conservation)

Loi Paysage

Law of protection of landscapes

8/01/1993 revised in 1995, permitting protection of usual (frequent and historic) landscapes. Respect to landscape is to promote in planning activities. Several disposal issued : Areas for protection of architectural, urban and landscape patrimony,

landscape plans and contracts for landscape actions.

Loi Montagne

Mountain Law

(9/01/1985) is to save the space of agricultural and pastoral activity, to control urbanisation and to protect environmental balance while developping touristics units, Quite significative results.

Loi littoral et des rivages lacustres

Coastal areas Law

And Lakes

(3/01/1986) is to protect ecological richness and to bridle urbanisation (main restriction in a strip of 100 m width), to allow public access to sea-shore and lake-shore. In accordance with this law, particular documents with special rules are to be prepared in some areas such as Marseille : a local guidance is to be written by the municipalities and the State's representative, and will be applied in the future.

The Coastal law is applied locally with difficulties, as pressure for urbanisation related with touristic activity is important.

Conservatoire du littoral

Board for Coastal Areas

Created in 1975 to protect coastal areas, is buying natural land close to the coasts and keep it un-built, open to public visiting as much as possible (no car trafic, no camping) . Own 45 000 ha in 1999.

Loi sur l'intercommunalité

Municipal cooperation

The Law issued on12/07/1999, is to share more power and responsability for land managing, between several close municipalities,

Loi Solidarité et renouvellement urbain

Urban renewal

Law on Solidarity and Urban Renewal (13/12/2000 + guidance 18/01/2001) is to update most of the urban planning existing tools. It will permit to have local plans more accurate. Is too new by now to know result.

Special tool for Management of patrimonial provision

Using Urban planning STANDARDS


Using guidances and contracts



Special programmes to defend greenstructures in compact city ?




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