> AÑO 4 - Febrero 2012
Urban planning and a Europe transformed: The landscape politics of scale in Valencia
Por David L. Prytherch (*)

(*) Department of Geography, Miami University.
Publicado en: Cities, Vol. 20, No. 6, p. 421-428, 2003


At the edge of the city of Valencia, capital of the Spanish autonomous region the Comunitat Valenciana, a fundamental transformation is taking place. Built environments of regional tradition and heritage- like the irrigated croplands of the Valencian Horta, continuously cultivated for more than a thousand years-are being replaced by state-sponsored monuments to European modernity. Emblematic of such changes is the recent construction of the massive Ciutat de les Arts i de les Ciències (City of the Arts and Sciences), a cultural-entertainment complex designed by architect Santiago Calatrava and paid for by regional government, the Generalitat Valenciana.

From farmlands that have long nurtured both market crops and the cultural practices of Valencian difference are emerging a science center and an IMAX theater, an opera hall and an oceanographic park: a hyper-modern landscape planned specifically to reposition the region vis à vis Europe and the globe. A major challenge is to comprehend such local changes in relation to their wider context: a restructuring of the European political economy that planners and urbanists ignore at their own peril.

One promising route lies in the geographic concept of, and theories about, scale. In this new theoretical vocabulary, we might see the Comunitat Valenciana and its government enmeshed in globalization as a process of re-territorialization, as the spatial structures of global capitalism and territorial governance are remade simultaneously, shifting state power not only upwards to the European Union but downwards to cities and regions. Globalization, in this sense, implies a simultaneous re-scaling of both the economy and the states that pretend to regulate it. Globalization in the European economy, and its attendant fragmentation of the old state-capitalism of the Fordist age, thus helps explain much about the regionalization of European governance. The new "Europe of the Regions," of which the Comunitat Valenciana is a part, reflects not only the reemergence of sub-national ethnicities but also the increasing prominente of entrepreneurial city-regions. The planning of urban spectacle, not merely about ethnic pride or boosterism, is driven by inter-urban and interregional competition.

In this light, I ask: How does urban planning in the European regional capital reflect, and perhaps contribute to, the rescaling of the European political economy? In this case study of Valencia, capital of one of Spain's most populous and economically important city-regions, I interpret recent planning as a matter of scale. Seeing major planning initiatives like the City of the Arts and Sciences as a reflection of the wider rescaling of European politics and economics, I argue, is a valuable conceptual tool for planners and urban scholars alike. If theories of scale illuminate the wider structural context for local governance and planning, however, they unfortunately do so at a broad level of abstraction (verbal, methodological, empirical), drawing a theoretical map of Europe in which individual places are lost or seem insignificant. The transformation of Europe is not solely a top-down process; a rescaled Europe is in fact constructed through the careful planning of local places. Only by descending from the clouds of abstraction to consider urban space can this be fully appreciated.

My paper seeks to gain this more subtle and full understanding of planning's place in European restructuring by showing how global changes reverberate in local places, and projects like Valencia's City of Arts and Sciences. With this in mind, I have structured this paper like a series of remotely-sensed images, captured at ever greater resolution: from abstract theories of European rescaling to the regionalization of Spanish governance, from territorial planning by Valencia's regional government to urban design in a small district at city's edge. By shifting from abstract to particular, we not only appreciate how globalization and political restructuring impact local planning, but also how planning expresses these changes in particular and durable ways. More importantly perhaps, even brief study of the Generalitat's ambitious project, through análisis of planning documents and semi-structured interviews with politicians and planners, shows that planners and politicians do not merely react to the shifting European context, but attempt to shape regional destinies by planning urban space. Finally, by focusing as much on the concrete dynamics of planning in a European city as the abstract contextual factors shaping it, it becomes clear just how politically contested and ideologically charged rescaling is. Applying the concept of scale to the dramatic transformations seen at Valencia's edge, where traditional croplands are replaced by monuments to a European future, shows that that scale is about more than abstract territory or space, but is a matter of the finer-grained detail of urban space and cultural landscape, the complex and politically-charged 'scale' that planners inhabit.


From European territory to urban space: Globalization's impacts at four scales

Europe: Re-scaled and re-territorialized

The basic premise behind this emerging literature is that particular scales of governance or capital accumulation-the local, regional, national, the supranational- are neither pre-given nor inevitable, but emerge from particular social processes. Drawing from the work of Lefebvre (1986), many researchers now argue that scale too is "socially produced," shaped by concerted and contested efforts by social actors. The associated "politics of scale" has thus become an increasing focus of study for Smith (1984, 1992, 1993) and others (Delaney and Leitner, 1997; Swyngedouw, 1997, 2000), exploring how social interactions produce particular geographical structures, which ultimately have scaled, material consequences.

The resonance of this idea for the contemporary scene has been argued by Brenner (1997a, 1997b, 2000), who has reinterpreted Lefebvre to argue that globalization itself is a process of political rescaling or reterritorialization (Brenner, 1999a, 1999b). The social production of scale and space, according to Marston (2000), are inextricably linked. We cannot understand the shaping of scalar structures by changing forms of social interaction, these scholars argue further, without understanding the changing face of capitalism. In particular, scholars like Brenner approach the political transformation of Europe as a direct reflection of the rescaling of capital accumulation. This approach suggests that the new empowerment of cities or regions in Europe is not merely derived from the collapse of antiquated nation states or the rise of regional nationalities. Instead, this political rescaling is more than just political, but is political-economic, driven by the continued need to find effective modes of governance in the face of changing modes of accumulation. This link between capital accumulation, social regulation, and urban and regional governance is the central axis in the work on political rescaling done by MacLeod and Goodwin (1999). They argue convincingly that capitalism, once regulated so effectively at the national scale through policies of Fordism, is at once more globalized and fragmented, placing the burden of national economic development increasingly on the shoulders of local officials. Even if globalization has not diminished the power of territorial states, as some have claimed (Ohmae, 1995), it has forced the shift in governing power away from national governments up and down in scale where economic development and crisis Management is more readily effected (Brenner, 1998, 1999b).

In this light, the economic-development decisions made by local politicians and planners come to seem less parochial. As planners contend with challenges emanating from the wider economic structure, far beyond municipal and regional boundaries (including diminished central government funding and increased inter-urban competition), the politics of urban entrepreneurialism become all important. Urban and regional governments, once concerned largely with social welfare, have become preoccupied with attracting flows of people and capital (Harvey, 1989). Not merely the boosterism that has long characterized urban governance, this new competitive spirit is the response to the particular condition of a rescaled Europe, in which cities and regions are left to their own devices in a world of increased mobility in capital and people, a Europe where central planning has fallen into disfavor.

These global economic imperatives have been grafted to traditional boosterism in local politics, driving politicians and planners to become obsessed with marketing the city (Harvey, 1990), particularly as a kind of "cultural capital" (Kearns and Philo, 1993), in order to foster tourism, corporate relocation, investment, and residential growth.

Spain's 'State of the Autonomies': Cutting-edge Regionalization

The rescaling of European governance into new supra-national and sub-national forms, if pushed by deep structural forces, nonetheless unfolds against the deep backdrop of European history, in which the nation-state only relatively recently supplanted the principality and kingdom, scales of language and cultural practice that remain relevant to many Europeans.
European integration in many ways acknowledges this territorial fabric underlying the nation state, reflected in a new institutional structures at the regional level (like the European Union's Council of the Regions) and an increasing recognition, and sometimos fostering, of sub-national cultural differences like minority languages (Hooghe, 1992; Keating, 1998; Murphy, 1988). The late twentieth century has seen the resurgence of prominent regionalist and regional "nationalist" movements in Spain (the Basques, Catalans, Galicians), Great Britain (Welsh and Scots), France (Bretons, Catalans, and Basques), and elsewhere. The dramatic redistribution of governing power to newly created (or revived) states at the subnacional or regional scale-the regionalization of Europe- only gives scholars like Smouts (1998) more cause to wonder if the region, and not the nation-state, is now Europe's "new imagined community."

Few countries exemplify the political dynamism, and especially the so-called regionalization, of Europe better than Spain. Indeed, I suggest that Spain, for historical reasons apart from the process of European integration, is a few decades ahead of the curve for processes that are now transforming the rest of Europe.

The Spanish nation-state, itself only fully consolidated in the early 18th century, has always been a highly differentiated place, politically, culturally, linguistically (Payne, 1973a, 1973b). At least four major language groups coexist and overlap: Castillian Spanish, Catalan, Euskera (Basque), and Gallego (Galician). Each language group is matched by Sorong forms of regional identity politics, ranging from weak extra-parliamentary nationalist parties in Valencia to hegemonic and openly separatist parties in the Basque country (Ben-Ami, 1999; Payne, 1991). Franco, try as he might, could suppress neither these minority languages nor the regional nationalisms. Upon his death, and the beginning of Spanish democracy, centralizad Spain was dismantled and in 1982 a new State of the Autonomies was instated. The move to regional autonomy, prompted by the so-called 'historic nationalisms' (Basque, Catalan, Galician), swept nearly all of Spain in the 1980s, as inhabitants found political expression for their strong sense of regional difference (Carr and Fusi, 1979; Carr, 1980; Balfour, 2000). Though Spain is not federal, the 17 autonomous communities now have extensive self-governing rights over such matters as education, cultural and language policy, tourism promotion, environmental regulation, and land use planning. Each region now has its own official language, its own parliament, president, and government ministries. The territorial scale of the region, inherited from the middle ages and never erased, has again come to define Spanish politics.

The Comunitat Valenciana: Regional ambitions and territorial planning

The approval of Spain's 1978 democratic constitution began a dizzying process of political decentralization, fundamentally altering both the legal bases and political motivations behind land-use planning. Jurisdiction over the urban and regional planning was transferred from Madrid to the regions. Madrid withdrew from economic development on a national basis, handing to regional governments like the Generalitat Valenciana the responsibility for promoting regional growth. Decentralization, however, transformed not only governing policy but also the social context for planning and economic development. Suddenly, regional administrations were created and cities like Valencia became regional capitals, filled with new institutional and symbolic apparatuses. Cultural regionalism and inter-regional competition became two defining, and often entwined, features of nascent autonomous governance and its planning efforts.

The Constitution of 1978 delegated "exclusive" jurisdiccional authority over urban planning to new regional administrations like the Generalitat Valenciana. And though municipalities retained significant planning autonomy,(1) regional government have a clear-cut planning role at the supra-municipal level: embodied in concept of ordenacio´n del territorio or territorial planning. Although the scale of territorial planning is distinct and superior to that of tradicional urban planning (Parejo and Blanc, 1999)-indeed, the the Comunitat Valenciana's Law of Territorial Planning describes defines it in lofty terms as "the spatial expression of the economic, social, cultural, and ecological policies of the entire society"-territorial planning is necessarily related to urban planning by a common focus on land use. Such planning, according to the Generalitat's first democratically elected President, Joan Lerma, is necessitated by an increasingly globalized and hyper-mobile world, motivating "ever greater consideration of territorial competitiveness and the growing role of the cities and regions as spaces that offer different advantages" (Generalitat Valenciana, 1993, p 9 original emphasis).

The Generalitat Valenciana, itself the child of reterritorialization and the rescaling of Spanish governance, quickly focused on planning as a means to consolidate the new political scale of the Comunitat Valenciana. It developed territorial plans and applied its regional visions through specific planning initiatives in local places. These efforts have been guided by a set of rather abstract yet powerful concepts, very much about scale and embodied in the following words in Valenciano/Catalan.

Vertebracio´ territorial means, quite literally, to "give a spine to territory." Following this concept of comprehensive regional planning, which transcends the traditional urban plan, the Generalitat seeks to structure social interaction across the entire regional space. First studying and identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the Comunitat Valenciana as a territory and urban system, regional planners articulated a broad vision for the region and sought to implement it both through regional infrastructure and by coordinating municipal efforts (Generalitat Valenciana, 1995). Not only a noble attempt at supra-municipal planning, the idea of vertebracio´ territorial also resonates with the regionalist desire to foster both social cohesion and economic competitiveness.

Capitalitat or 'capital-ness' is the goal of territorial leadership that many political leaders and planners seek for the city of Valencia (Generalitat Valenciana, 1995; Sorribes, 1998). With autonomy in 1982, the city of Valencia was officially made a regional capital.

Already the economic engine of the region, the city became seat of a new regional presidency, ministries, and parliament. Although long a de facto regional economic and political center, the city of Valencia has also been regarded with suspicion by rural Valencians (for reasons of language, politics, and class, among others). Not just rehabilitating much of the old city center for government administration, the Generalitat demonstrated an early desire to showcase its political legitimacy and cultural Leadership through ambitious public projects, quickly building a new orchestra hall and modern art museum. For regional and municipal planners alike, capitalitat provides an underlying political ambition: to enhance the city's leadership as the indispensable Valencian city, economically and culturally.

The Arc Mediterrani or "Mediterranean Arch" is a territorial project that looks beyond the borders of the Comunitat Valenciana, and even Spain, to the region's place in the larger community of Mediterranean Europe. In light of Valencia's historic role in western Mediterranean economy and culture, and the emerging importance of the Spanish, French, and Italian coastline as one of Europe's fastest growing "Euro-regions," many Valencians consider the Comunitat Valenciana to be as much Mediterranean as Spanish. Of enormous economic and symbolic value, the Mediterranean has become the sphere to which the city of Valencia must be linked, or wither. Thus the Generalitat has used planning not only to promote
regional cohesion and competitiveness, but also to link it the Mediterranean both as trading sphere and symbol of a wider Europe. In planning documents of the 1990s, the Generalitat's planners saw Valencia as the potential cornerstone of this dense network of cities and regions, what they called "the principal asset on which to base the forging of the greatest and most efficient axis of development on the Peninsula in connection with the greatest European axes" (Generalitat Valenciana, 1993, p 16).

In short, regional government in Valencia has employed urban and regional planning to both consolidate a new political territory and link it to the wider European economy and society. Framed by the conceptual goals of vertebracio´ territorial, capitalitat, and fostering the Arc Mediterrani, planning efforts have endeavored to promote both social cohesion and entrepreneurial savvy. In the Comunitat Valencia, where regional autonomy has not only economic but cultural significance, planning must make the region more socially cohesive and competitive at the same time.

The city of Valencia: Planning and the re-scaling of urban space

Moving from such regional visions to urban space, we begin to see how European restructuring or Spanish decentralization have repercussions locally, inscribed in the city through urban planning. This in particularly evident in the city of Valencia, the Comunitat Valenciana's regional capital, where the regional Challenger of integration with Europe has become entwined with attempts to unify the city's disparate districts. To the chagrin of many of its boosters, the city of Valencia may be Mediterranean but is not exactly coastal. The city was settled five kilometers inland along the Banks of the River Turia as the core of a rich agricultural district, safely distant from the coast and its roving medieval pirates (Houston, 1957). By the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, however, overcoming this distance became an overarching goal for urban planners (Sanchis Guarner, 1999). Today, planning in Valencia remains focused upon connecting the city's center and coastline through urbanization (Gaja Díaz and Boira, 1994; Gaja Díaz, 1996a, 1996b), a Project that acquires special significance in light of the region's aspirations to take a prominent role in the emerging Arc Mediterrani. Integrating the city with the Mediterranean has become important regionally and locally, physically and symbolically.

By the late 1980s, autonomous regional government was well enough established to make its first foray into the long-standing effort of linking Valencia to the sea. In 1989, the Generalitat's President Joan Lerma offered his own ambitious contribution in the form of a "City of the Arts and Sciences", a culturalentertainment facility inspired by Paris's La Villette and Washington's Smithsonian. Planners chose to site the sprawling complex (designed to include a science museum, planetarium, and 380-meter high "Tower of Communications"), along the former bed of the River Turia, which had been re-routed to the south of the city after the disastrous 1957 floods, opening the old river channel for development as a public space. The Generalitat chose locally born, yet internationally famous architect Santiago Calatrava, to design a Project for which regional government assumed all planning and construction costs. Regional government, not content to plan at the scale of regional territory, intervened in the urban landscape with the largest architectural project this regional capital had ever seen.

Joan Romero, who was regional minister for Culture and Education during the late 1980s and early 1990s, participated in the early discussions from which the project emerged. At the time, Romero recalls, there were three major factors driving the Generalitat's planning.

We recognized that we were at the end of the twentieth century, and immersed in the discussions that were going on all over Spain in (anticipation of the Barcelona Olympic Games and Seville World Expo of) 1992-1993. When we looked at the map, we recognized that Valencia was part of the "anillo de Espan˜a" or "Spanish ring" comprised by Madrid, Bilbao, Barcelona, and Valencia. Each city had its major projects and it was obvious that Valencia was the weak point, a city with a much lesser level of international projection…At the same time, there were documents published by the European Union, which examined the Arc Mediterrani, and proponed that Valencia was also the weak spot at that scale…(Romero 2001, personal communication).

According to Romero, it was openly spoken of the "Valencian fracture" in the Arc Mediterrani. Those within the inner circle of Valencian president Joan Lerma concluded that Valencia needed to find a greater level of specialization in order to close the anillo and mend the fracture (Romero 2001, personal communication) At another level, Romero recalls, the complex and its location between the city and sea corrected problems at the urban scale. The district where it was built was "very degraded" and the project was seen as the most important of many planning efforts, most related to new axial boulevards, to correct deficiencies in the urban fabric and create new poles of growth. The Generalitat, along with municipal government, took the lead in planning and promoting new axes of development for the city. Not only did these governments carefully select the direction for expansion (eastward towards the sea, for example), but also built the architectural symbols and infrastructure needed to give these new districts focus and cohesion. The Generalitat's 1992 "partial" plans for the City of the Arts and Sciences reflected this logic. It argued for the creation of a "correct connection" between Valencia and its coastal neighborhoods, "by understanding that the proximity of the maritime port and the city must be enhanced by way of this area, an area that might be converted into the fundamental link between the southern end of the port and the city" (Generalitat Valenciana, 1992; p 15). As an added benefit, regional planners argued that the new science center might "permit the Comunitat Valenciana to be in the vanguard of European processes of science and technology" (p 27). The planning of urban space, it seems, had become invested with wider territorial ambitions in an increasingly integrated and competitive Europe.

Beyond space and Territory: Re-scaling and the European landscape

Globalization continues to reverberate throughout Europe at supra-national, national, regional, and urban scales. By exploring how re-scaling unfolds in specific political and cultural contexts, we see how planning assumes an important role in the mediation between broad, economic imperatives (like interregional competition) and local concerns (the consolidation of regional or urban space). By shifting our focus from the broad political dynamics of European restructuring to planning in a European regional capital, however, we gain more than just a compelling case study of re-territorialization, of the local impacts of global phenomena.

Two conclusions begin to emerge from close study of re-scaling and planning in places like Valencia.

First, the re-scaling of urban space is more fiercely contested-not merely "resisted" but negotiated-at the local level than the literature on scale would often suggest, putting planners squarely in the political fray.

Second, the re-scaling of urban space and debates surrounding it are more embedded in cultural politics- what cultural geographer Don Mitchell (2000) might call "culture wars"-than previously recognized. European restructuring, I argue, implies not only the rescaling of urban space, but the cultural landscape.

Only by adopting a landscape "way of seeing" scale, which I only have the space to introduce briefly here, might we move beyond abstract, political-economic approaches to European re-scaling to fully comprehend the cultural complexity of planning in the places like Valencia.

No city demonstrates the culturally complex and politically contested dimensions of urban change more clearly than Valencia. For the kind of state-led urbanization typified by the City of the Arts and Sciences must come at the expense of some of the richest farmlands in Europe, which surround the city of Valencia on nearly every side. The Valencian Horta is a coastal plain of deep alluvial soils watered by a complex system of irrigation canals built by the Muslims a millennium ago (Houston, 1957; Teixidor De Otto, 1982; Sanchis Guarner, 1999). Crops are grown year round, in a landscape of enduring fertility.

For centuries these croplands have been a central pillar of Valencian economy and society, in which the lives of urban dwellers and farmers have been deeply entwined. More than just a productive space, or even the setting for everyday rural life, the Valencian Horta has long been a deeply symbolic space characteristic of Valencian cultural and economic difference (Fuster, 1998). The Valencian Horta is the place most closely associated with the major symbols of Valencian identity: the paella cooked outdoors over an open flame, the steeply-pitched roofs of farm dwellings or barracas, the overflowing abundance of the city's Central Market, the interweaving of rural and urban in Valencia's enormous festival of les Falles. The Horta, considered by a majority of the city's inhabitants an emblematic feature that defines the region (Piqueras, 1996), is not just urban space but a unique form of heritage or regional patrimony.

In short, the Horta might reasonably be considered not just space but a cultural landscape. There are, admittedly, different ways of approaching the question of what sets the concept of landscape apart from mere space. Traditionally, geographers in the footsteps of Carl Sauer have looked at the cultural landscape as the material reflection how human culture impacts the natural world (Sauer, 1925). Others, like Denis Cosgrove (1983), have focused on how landscape is both a pictorial representation and "way of seeing" the land and social relations upon it. James Duncan (1990) has approached landscape like a text, though which powerful discourses are inscribed by competing social forces. In this sense, Richard Schein (1997) has called the landscape "discourse materialized." Don Mitchell (1996, 2000) has explored how the landscape is both a sphere of capitalista production and a representation of it, a representation that can obscure social struggles occurring within the landscape.

The Valencian Horta is a cultural landscape in many of these senses. Most important is to see how such urban spaces have meaning, how they are embedded in more than just the politics of scale, are embroiled in the complex discursive politics (which are themselves quite scalar) of what it means to be Valencian. The Horta is more than just an urban space or production system constituted at a specific and very localized scale. It is a set of social practices, oriented not merely about economic production, but also cultural tradition and regional identity. The materiality of this landscape, not only in its croplands but also the vegetables that emerge from them, becomes woven with political debates about the nature of Valencian difference, the future scale of urban life.

By extension, urbanization of the Horta, and the planning process that sanctions or promotes it, often become embroiled in larger political and cultural debates. Cries of protest like "Salvem l'Horta" or "Save the Horta" have come to accompany nearly every planning decision by municipal or regional government that impacts the farmlands at Valencia's fringe. These protests against land-use change are not only led by environmentalists or affected neighborhood groups, but also by regional nationalists who see the loss of the Horta as just one more threat to local identity and heritage. Valencian days of 'national' celebration, like October 9th when all Valencians celebrate the city's reconquest from the Moors, or April 25th when Valencian nationalists lament the loss of regional autonomy to Madrid in 1707, always prompt protest marches, in which calls to protect the Horta mingle with calls to promote regional autonomy and cultural difference.

Most recently, a group of leading Valencian intellectuals and farmers led a citizen's initiative to enact a moratorium on new construction at the city's Edge and to promote the protection of remaining farmlands from urbanization. The movement gathered nearly 100,000 signatures, more than twice that necessary to transmit the initiative to the regional parliament, propelled by a wide coalition of environmentalists, neighborhood groups, and Valencian nationalist organizations. Although the center-right party, the Partido Popular, used its absolute parliamentary majority to shelve the measure, the failed effort nonetheless galvanized a diversity of social forces in Valencia around the Horta as symbol of Valencian history, way of life, and cultural identity. Planning, in these debates, was the focus of both blame for the Horta's loss and hopes for its protection.

Planners, charged with making regional visions (vertebracio´ territorial, capitalitat, or the Arc Mediterrani) into concrete urban realities (the City of the Arts and Sciencies), must navigate a complex political climate in which the land to be urbanized for Valencia's future is also a symbol of its past. Unless we assume, probably wrongly, that planning by municipal and regional government in Spain is autonomous from the give-and-take of local politics, then we must take greater account of the way urban change is negotiated through the planning process. Globalization and the re-scaling of Valencia, in which an ancient system of croplands and irrigation ditches is replaced by the gleaming new symbols of European development, is as much a matter of culture as it is of space. In short, planners have been implicated in the re-scaling of the Valencian cultural landscape, whose political crosscurrents they must negotiate or fail trying.


In this paper I have sought to understand the role of European urban planning as mediating force between global, structural forces and local, urban change. The emerging literature on scale, I suggest, offers a teoretical vocabulary and conceptual framework that may prove useful for understanding how European restructuring translates to planning initiatives like Valencia's City of the Arts and Sciences and urbanization accompanying them. By shifting from abstract political- economic theory to national-level decentralization in Spain, from the emergence of regional autonomy in the Comunitat Valenciana to urban planning at the city of Valencia's edge, I offer one case study of how globalization as re-scaling or re-territoritalization reverberates in local spaces. By increasing the 'resolution' of analysis, however, the case study of Valencian urban planning amidst European regionalization reveals something more than just detail.

I argue that the planned re-scaling of urban space, not merely the local expression of wider processes of European restructuring, must necessarily be negotiated not merely in abstract space but also amidst the complicated cultural politics of landscape. How politicians and planners respond to this challenge is an open question (and the subject of future research), but that they must respond is a fact of contemporary European urbanism. Planners are not only charged with adapting local spaces to the shifting challenges of globalization, but they must do so while navigating a tricky balance between the politics of local place and the imperatives of re-scaling. Only by seeing rescaling as a matter not just of space, but landscape too, can we fully appreciate the complexities of contemporary European urbanism in places like Valencia.
In short, this case study not only shows the analytical value in applying recent theories of scale, but it also suggests we need to do more to theorize how that rescaling is contested locally and culturally. Only by adopting a landscape "way of seeing" scale, might we fully comprehend the kind of planned transformations that remake the European city in the image of global capitalism, recognizing more fully that the local expressions of global change are negotiated in particular ways, ways that will help determine the course of economic globalization and the European city in the process.



(1) Decentralization left untouched the long-standing dominion of municipalities in the urban arena. The Generalitat merely retains the right of final approval of municipal plans, intended to ensure some degree of coordination among diverse and sometimes competing efforts (Parejo and Blanc, 1999). Regional government can, however, devise and submit its own special plans.


  • Balfour, S (2000) Spain from 1931 to the present. In Spain: A History, (ed.) R Carr. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  • Ben-Ami, S (1999) Basque nationalism between archaism and modernity. Journal of Contemporary History 26, 493-521.
  • Brenner, N (1997) Global, fragmented, hierarchical: Henri Lefebvre's geographies of globalization. Public Culture 10(1),
  • Brenner, N (1997) State territorial restructuring and the production of spatial scale: Urban and regional planning in the Federal Republic of Germany, 1960-1990. Political Geography 16(4), 273-306.
  • Brenner, N (1998) Between fixity and motion: Accumulation, territorial organization and the historical geography of spatial scales.Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 18, 459-481.
  • Brenner, N (1999) Beyond state-centrism? Space, territoriality, and geographical scale in globalization studies. Theory and Society 28, 39-78.
  • Brenner, N (1999) Globalisation as reterritorialisation: the re-scaling of urban governance in the European Union. Urban Studies 36(3), 431-451.
  • Brenner, N (2000) The urban question as a scale question: Reflections on Henri Lefebvre, urban theory, and the politics of scale. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 24(2), 360-377.
  • Carr, R (1980) Modern Spain: 1875-1980. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  • Carr, R and Fusi, J P (1979) Espan˜a, de la Dictadura a la Democracia.Editorial Planeta, Barcelona.
  • Cosgrove, D (1983) Social Formation and Symbolic Landscape.Croom Helm, London.
  • Delaney, D and Leitner, H (1997) The political construction of scale. Political Geography 16(2), 93-97.
  • Duncan, J (1990) The City as Text: The Politics of Landscape Interpretation in the Kandyan Kingdom. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  • Fuster, J (1998) Nosotros los Valencianos. Editorial Mil 999, Barcelona.
  • Gaja Díaz, F (1996) La transformacio´n de Valencia (I): Grandes proyectos urbanísticos. Urbanismo 28.
  • Gaja Díaz, F (1996) La transformacio´n de Valencia (II): Plan general de 1988: l última gran propuesta urbanística que ha dibujado el paisaje de la capital levantina. Urbanismo 29.
  • Gaja Díaz, F and Boira Maiques, J V (1994) Planeamiento y realidad urbana en la ciudad de Valencia (1939-1989). Cuadernos de Geografía 55, 63-89.
  • Generalitat Valenciana (1992) Plan Parcial Area N.P.T.-6 S.U.N.P.: Ciudad de la Cie´ncia. Valencia: Conselleria d'Obres Pu´bliques, Urbanisme i Transports, Valencia.
  • Generalitat Valenciana (1993) Arco Mediterraneo Espan˜ol. Europeo de Desarrollo: Documento I del Avance del Plan de Desarrollo Urban?´stico de la Comunidad Valenciana. Valencia: Conselleria d'Obres Pu´bliques i Transports, Valencia.
  • Generalitat Valenciana (1995) Estrategias de Vertebracio´n Territorial: Documento II del Avance del plan de Desarrollo
    Urban?´stico de la Comunidad Valenciana. Conselleria d'Obres Pu´bliques I Transports, Valencia.
  • Harvey, D (1989) From managerialism to entrepreneurialism: The transformation in urban governance in late capitalism. Geografiska Annaler 71b, 3-17.
  • Harvey, D (1990) The Condition of Postmodernity: An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change. Blackwell, Cambridge, MA.
  • Hooghe, L (1992) Nationalist movements and social factors: a theoretical perspective. The Social Origins of Nationalist
    Movments: The Contemporary West European Experience, (ed.) J Coakley. Sage Publications, London.
  • Houston, J M (1957) Geografia urbana de Valencia: El desarrollo regional de una ciudad de huerta. Estudios Geograficos 66, 151-166.
  • Kearns, G and Philo, C (eds) (1993) Selling Places: The City as Cultural Capital. Past and Present,. Pergamon Press, Oxford.
  • Keating, M (1998) Is there a regional level of government in Europe? In Regions in Europe, (eds) P Le Gale´s and C Lequesne. Routledge, London.
  • Lefebvre, H (1986) The Production of Space. Blackwell, Oxford. MacLeod, G and Goodwin, M (1999) Space, Scale and State Strategy: Rethinking Urban and Regional Governance. Progress in Human Geography 23, 503-527.
  • Marston, S A (2000) The Social Construction of Scale. Progress in Human Geography 24(2), 219-242.
  • Mitchell, D (1996) The Lie of the Land: Migrant Workers and the California Landscape. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.
  • Mitchell, D (2000) Cultural Geography: A Critical Introduction. Blackwell, Oxford.
  • Murphy, A (1988) Evolving regionalism in linguistically divided Belgium. Nationalism, Self-Determination and Political
    Geography, (eds) D B Knight, E Kofman and R J Johnston. Croom Helm, London.
  • Ohmae, K (1995) The End of the Nation State. The Free Press, New York.
  • Parejo Alfonso, L and Blanc Clavero, F (1999) Derecho urban?´stico Valenciano: Ana´lisis de la Ley Reguladora de la
    Actividad Urban?´stica. Tirant lo Blanch, Valencia.
  • Payne, S (1973a) A History of Spain and Portugal Vol. I. The University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, WI.
  • Payne, S (1973b) A History of Spain and Portugal Vol. I. The University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, WI.
  • Payne, S (1991) Nationalism, regionalism and micro-nationalism in Spain. Journal of Contemporary History 26, 479-491.
  • Piqueras Infante, A (1996) La Identidad Valenciana: La Dificil Construccio´n de una Identidad Collectiva. Edicions Alfons el Magna´nim, Valencia.
  • Sanchis Guarner, M (1999) La Ciudad de Valencia: S?´ntesis de Historia y de Geograf?´a Urbanistico. L'Ajuntament de Vale`ncia, Valencia.
  • Sauer, C (1925) The morphology of landscape. University of California Publications in Geography 2, 19-54.
  • Schein, R (1997) The place of landscape: a conceptual Framework for interpreting an American scene. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 87(4), 660-680.
  • Smith, N (1984) Uneven Development: Nature, Capital and the Production of Space. Blackwell, Oxford and Cambridge, MA.
  • Smith, N (1992) Geography, difference and the politics of scale. Postmodernism and the Social Sciences, (eds) J Doherty, E Graham and M Malek., pp 57-79. Macmillan, London.
  • Smith, N (1993) Homeless/global: Scaling places. Mapping the Futures: Local Cultures, Global Change, (eds) J Bird, B Curtis, T Putnam, G Robertson and L Tickner., pp 87-119. Routledge, London.
  • Smouts, M C (1998) The region as the new imagined community? In Regions in Europe, (eds) P Le Gale´s and C Lequesne. Routledge, London.
  • Sorribes, J (1998) La Ciutat Desitjada: Vale`ncia entre el Passat i el Futur. Ta`ndem Edicions, Vale`ncia.
    Swyngedouw, E (1997) Excluding the other: The production of scale and scaled politics. Geographies of Economies, (eds) R Lee and J Wills., pp 167-176. Arnold, London.
  • Swyngedouw, E (2000) Authoritarian governance, power, and the politics of rescaling. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 18, 77-89.
  • Teixidor De Otto, M J (1982) Vale`nica, la Construccio´ d'una Ciutat. Institucio´ Alfons el Magna`nim, València.
> Editorial
> Las Valencias
> València, de la Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències al Gran Premio de Europa de Formula I
> Urbanismo neoliberal: el ejemplo valenciano
> Claves de la rehabilitación urbana
> Urban planning and a Europe transformed: The landscape politics of scale in Valencia
> Documentos
> Noticias
> Presentación