Skip to main content

Über dieses Buch

This book presents an important discussion on urbanization and sustainable soil management from a range of perspectives, addressing key topics such as sustainable cities, soil sealing, rehabilitation of contaminated soils, property rights and liability issues, as well as trading systems with regard to land take.
This third volume of the International Yearbook of Soil Law and Policy is divided into four parts, the first of which explores several aspects of the topic “urbanization and sustainable management of soils.” The second part then covers recent international developments, while the third part presents regional and national reports, and the fourth discusses cross-cutting issues. Given the range of key topics covered, the book offers an indispensible tool for all academics, legislators and policymakers working in this field. The “International Yearbook of Soil Law and Policy” series discusses central questions in law and politics with regard to the protection and sustainable management of soil and land – at the international, national and regional level.



The Theme: ‘Urbanisation and Sustainable Management of Soils’


Urbanisation and Urban Land Use: A Normative Compass for Sustainable Urban Governance

Urbanisation is a pressing trend in the twenty-first century. People’s lives more and more concentrate in cities: in 2030, approximately 6 out of 10 people will reside in urban areas. Therefore, cities are crucial for the success of the Great Transformation towards sustainability, including the transformation to sustainable land use. Not only does the growth of cities cause soil sealing in urban areas, but also production patterns for urban supply with food and goods influence land use in rural areas. Thus, it is indispensable to direct cities to a pathway of sustainable land use. This chapter contextualises cities and their sustainable development within the frameworks of international and national law and, beyond that, presents instruments of transformative planning. Does international law already reflect the importance of urbanisation for sustainable development? Does it provide orientation for cities towards more sustainability? The German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) presented a normative compass as guideline for sustainable city development. The WBGU declares urban land use to be one underestimated transformative action field for cities. Within the SDGs, especially target 15.3 (land degradation neutrality) may become an important guideline for sustainable urban land use. Some cities already develop an adequate pathway towards sustainability. Thereby, many of them not only act on a local but also on an international level. Also, states set institutional and legal frameworks for transformative actions that have an effect on the cities themselves, as well as their transboundary activities. What are their potentials and limitations due to national legislation? How should the transformative power of cities be unleashed? This chapter points out the need for a polycentric responsibility architecture for sustainable urbanisation and will provide a concrete perspective for sustainable urban land use by particularly elaborating on the instrument of transformative planning.
Sabine Schlacke, Ulrike Jürschik

Sustainable Cities in India: A Governance Challenge

The unsustainable pattern of development around the world comprises growing urbanization that has posed a serious governance challenge. In the process of satisfying the greed of human “progress,” the resources of the earth are fast deteriorating. The city-centric model of development in the global south, particularly in rapidly growing economies like India and China, have caused unmanageable migration of people from rural to urban areas. At the same time, it cannot also be denied that cities have become a confined means to provide a better standard of life and means of livelihood. The responsibility rests on the approach of the governments, which instead of merging the distinction between rural and urban areas in terms of standard of life has tended to focus more on the growth of cities. The rapid process of urbanization and growth of cities in a country such as India has resulted in problems of sustainability as most of the expanding city spaces have sought to gobble up huge chunks of land, as well as try to grapple with varied problems of environment, health, inequality, urban chaos, and persistent poverty, notwithstanding recent efforts to imbibe ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targeted focus to turn select metropolitan areas to “smart cities.” The chapter seeks to throw light on some of the issues, with a focus on India, arising from the drive of urbanization leading to governance challenge, the working of international instruments, as well as domestic policies and institutional mechanisms in India designed to make cities more livable even as they explode with population migration driven by concentration of modern amenities, glitter, and better living standards.
Bharat H. Desai, Balraj K. Sidhu, Nitu Kumari

Sustainable Management of Urban Soils: The New Zealand Approach

This chapter considers the management of New Zealand’s soils and in particular the impact of urbanisation on high-value soils. The chapter first provides an overview of New Zealand’s geographic, climatic and demographic background and the historical impact of agricultural development, industry and human settlement. Early regulation to protect natural water and soil is then examined, along with more recent planning and environmental management measures. Significant environmental law and policy reforms since the mid-1980s are then described in detail and evaluated in terms of their contribution to sustainable soil management and the protection of high-quality soils in or adjacent to urban areas. The various roles and responsibilities of the three levels of government—central, regional and municipal—are examined, and the use of policy and planning instruments to achieve sustainable management of soils are discussed. In some cases, litigation has arisen between landowners and planning authorities about the appropriate location (or re-location) of the urban–rural boundary. Property owners often seek the right to develop their land by having it included within the urban zone or through the grant of an exemption from rural development restrictions. A representative group of recent cases that illustrate the factors and criteria that are applied by the courts in resolving such conflicts are discussed. The chapter concludes with an assessment of the effectiveness of New Zealand’s soil management regime and its possible application to other jurisdictions.
David Grinlinton

Land Take and Soil Sealing—Drivers, Trends and Policy (Legal) Instruments: Insights from European Cities

Urbanisation is an ongoing global trend that is associated with soil sealing and land take at the cost of agricultural land and other open landscape. While soil sealing and land take result in the loss of all soil functions and the loss of high-quality agricultural soils, the awareness of the magnitude and negative implications of these processes remains relatively low. In this article, we examine how seven EU cities have addressed the issues of land take and soil sealing through approaches to increase efficient land use. The cities include Cambridge, Milan, Nantes, Regensburg, Stockholm, Vienna and Wroclaw. Drawing on statistical analysis and qualitative interviews with city-level practitioners, we look at trends in soil sealing and land take and outline relevant policies and legislation that can prevent or reduce land take and soil sealing, as well as success factors and barriers to the implementation of these policy instruments. Results show that the reduction of land take and soil sealing cannot be implemented as an isolated programme but needs to be pursued as an integrated approach, together with other sustainability objectives, such as energy efficiency, conservation of agricultural land, reduction of traffic, and increase of biodiversity. Conclusions highlight the importance of a robust framework of national law and regulation and of setting quantitative land take targets taking a long-term vision of city development and assigning a value to soil. Moreover, focus should be on inner development before outer development, including the reuse of brownfields and investing in building renovation.
Sandra Naumann, Ana Frelih-Larsen, Gundula Prokop, Sophie Ittner, Matt Reed, Jane Mills, Francesco Morari, Simone Verzandvoort, Stefanie Albrecht, Anna Bjuréus, Grzegorz Siebielec, Tomasz Miturski

Environmental Law Tools for the Idea of a Compact City. Learning from the Dutch Case

The concept of a compact city is an important tool to support sustainable urban development. However, the intensified use of urban areas can also cause tension between environmental law and spatial planning policy. This chapter addresses the question as to what extent environmental law tools can support the idea of a compact city. It first discusses EU policy on this matter and then examines the Dutch approach on the idea of a compact city.
Marlon Boeve

Tradable Land Planning Certificates to Reduce Land Take: Results of a Simulation Game with Communities in Germany

In the period 2013–2017, the German Environment Agency conducted a nationwide model project testing the feasibility of tradable land planning certificates to reduce land take. The project has been set in place as a simulation game with municipal case studies and a controlled field experiment. The objective was to examine realistically whether tradable land planning certificates can support cities and communities to reduce land take and to strengthen inner urban development. Eighty-seven municipalities from all over Germany participated and simulated certificate trading over 15 years (2014–2028) on the basis of their real plans for settlement development. The simulation was done on two trading days in June and September 2015 (The purchase and sale of certificates was simulated based on an online trading platform.). The results are promising: the land saving targets were achieved, land take could be halved and more inner urban development took place. Under the conditions of the project, the local representatives had no problems with the management of certificates and were able to flexibly implement local land take targets by buying and selling certificates and to focus on their planning objectives. This chapter summarises the main results and the design of the project in more detail.
Detlef Grimski

Artificialised Land and Land Take: What Policies Will Limit Its Expansion and/or Reduce Its Impacts?

Jointly commissioned by the ministries responsible for the environment (MTES) and agriculture (MAA) and the public agency for the environment and energy (ADEME), the IFSTTAR (French Institute of Science and Technology for Transport, Planning and Networks) and the INRA (National Institute of Agronomic Research) have carried out a collective scientific report (ESCo) on land take that addresses its measurement, causes and consequences, as well as policies to limit its expansion or negative effects. This article presents some of the conclusions from this exercise, which involved 55 scientific experts and is based on knowledge from more than 2500 international academic and technical references. The aim here is to investigate this complex process, as well as the uses that come under the definition of ‘artificialised land’, by attempting to distinguish the processes by which land use and soil functions change as a result of urbanisation, an unavoidable social phenomenon. Only after clarifying these basic processes can we examine the public policy instruments and regulations that, in France, aim to limit land take and its negative effects whilst allowing for further development of human activities. We show that some of these tools could be effective but are often ill-adapted, in particular with regard to the variety of issues resulting from land take, which depend on the type of land cover (urban, peri-urban, rural) and on the specific uses of these areas.
Maylis Desrousseaux, Bertrand Schmitt, Philippe Billet, Béatrice Béchet, Yves Le Bissonnais, Anne Ruas

Cleaning Up Contaminated Sites in Urban China: Who Should Be Liable?

The management of contaminated sites in urban China, especially concerning the question ‘who is obliged to clean up the contamination’, has become the difficult focus of the legal system governing soil contamination. Based on the analysis of the main conflicting interests in the origins and management of contaminated sites in cities, this article identifies basic principles and main issues in finding responsible parties within the context of the Chinese legal system, land ownership regime, etc. Then the article attempts to identify which parties may be held liable for remediating contaminated land in urban areas and provides suggestions for national legislation regarding ongoing land contamination.
Huanhuan Wang

The Rehabilitation of Contaminated Land to Enhance Future Options for Cities

The rehabilitation of contaminated land is a potentially attractive solution for cities that are under growing pressure to find new sources of land for housing and new sources of socio-economic revitalisation. Although it is sometimes a complex, expensive and lengthy process, remediating contaminated sites can make a positive contribution to the sustainability of a city. It does so by ensuring that land is not left unproductive and potentially harmful to people or the environment and instead is given a new purpose that is tailored to the needs of surrounding communities. Two cities discussed in this chapter—Hong Kong and Glasgow—demonstrate some of the potential benefits of rehabilitating urban contaminated land, as well as the problems commonly encountered. Case studies for these two cities highlight the need for rehabilitation to be carefully planned and managed so that the needs of residents and other site users are met in a timely manner. There is a growing recognition by city planners in both Scotland and Hong Kong that the reuse of contaminated land has a role to play in their future urban vision.
Elizabeth J. Brandon

An Environmental Perspective on Urbanization: Research Needs for Strengthening Environmental Aspects in Urban Development

‘Urban environmental protection’ is an important cross-sectional task of the German Environment Agency (UBA). Through an extensive participation and coordination process, UBA has developed a strategic research agenda on this issue within the last 2 years. The research agenda defines most important research topics for better integrating urban development and environmental protection in future. Existing research gaps were identified, and important research needs to fill these gaps were derived. The research agenda is primarily focussed on topics that have high relevance to urban development from an environmental point of view, taking into consideration the current framework conditions, challenges and trends. All identified research topics need an interdisciplinary work, which is why cooperation with several stakeholders in urban development and environmental protection research, policy and practice is essential to develop suitable results. The UBA research agenda defines three thematic clusters and three cross-sectional topics that are underpinned with numerous specific research questions. The thematic clusters focus on issues connected to environmentally friendly, socially acceptable and healthy urban development; environmentally friendly natural resource use; regional circular economy development; and environmental protection through coordinated urban and infrastructural development. Complementarily, the cross-sectional topics highlight research questions on digitalization in urban areas, governance, financing and participation issues, as well as urban–rural connections. The agenda will be updated regularly, considering new developments and needs. The results will particularly be used for relevant federal programmes, strategies, regulations and information tools.
Daniel Reißmann, Ulrike von Schlippenbach

Recent Developments of Soil Regulation at International Level


UNCCD COP 13: From Awareness to Action in a Complex World

UNCCD COP 13 marked a scope evolution in UNCCD approaches and operational choices: from desertification as a stand-alone dynamics to countering the overall trend of land degradation, the latter understood and treated as an element of a broader global balance objective. This paradigm shift took the shape of a 360° integration of the land dimension into the 2030 Development Agenda, especially via the interconnections of target 15.3—entrusted to UNCCD—to the whole SDG architecture. Thus, the Ordos COP—following the similar integrated approach that emerged within UNFCCC at its Marrakech COP 22 in 2016—built a new basis for action: if lands are framed as an element of environmental decay as whole and the latter, in turn, as a pillar of sustained and fair development, venues of action multiply and become more concrete to society. Thus, a COP that engaged in action in a number of issues would have seemed out of place in a siloed perspective: gender equality, migrations, drought, investment mechanisms and green jobs, synergies with climate, biodiversity, and agro-biodiversity were all dimensions reached by a community that engaged in making a difference in the real world.
Grammenos Mastrojeni

Implementing the Paris Climate Agreement: Risks and Opportunities for Sustainable Land Use

The global objective of limiting global warming to well below 2 °C and to pursue a 1.5 °C limit was set in the Paris Climate Agreement. To accomplish this, the Paris Agreement sets a further global goal of reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in the second half of the century. This chapter describes the key elements of the Paris Agreement relevant for achieving this overarching goal. It then describes the challenges current science reveals for climate policy, particularly how past and potential continuation of weak emission reductions lead to increasing reliance on removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in order to still achieve the Paris Agreement objective. Much research has been conducted through economic models to develop scenarios for limiting warming to 2 °C or less. Most of these rely on removing large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by absorbing it in plant biomass and burning the biomass for energy. The carbon dioxide is captured before returning to the atmosphere and buried in geological formations. This technology is, however, not operational and at scale would have grave implications for food security, ecosystems and their services, as well as for groundwater, soils and human safety. Therefore, it is essential for countries to enhance or accompany their mitigation contributions under the Paris Agreement with further action by 2030 to ensure that decarbonisation can occur quickly enough to limit warming well below 2 °C. Sustainable land use can contribute to more rapid emission reductions by 2030 while planting the seed for a limited amount of carbon dioxide removal after 2050 and therefore providing a more sustainable alternative approach to achieving the Paris Agreement objectives. Finally, global governance of carbon dioxide removal may be required, which could benefit from existing experience under the UNFCCC.
Eric Fee

Implementing the New Urban Agenda: Urban and Territorial Integration Approaches in Support of Urban Food Systems

This paper provides an insight on the opportunities provided by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the New Urban Agenda (NUA) in advancing food systems within the context of urbanisation. To get a clear perspective on the opportunities posed by the NUA, the approach used involves an in-depth analysis of existing literature prior to and leading to the adoption of the NUA, including the Habitat Agenda, Issue Paper number 10 on Urban–Rural Linkages, the Monteria and Bellagio Communiqués, the UN-Habitat position paper on Urban–Rural Linkages, the International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning (IG-UTP) and other related documents and processes that closely relate to the subject. The paper additionally gives an overview of existing policies and activities by a number of actors towards implementation of the NUA.
The paper focuses on the role that sustainable urbanisation can play in supporting food systems, especially as it relates to and the application of an integrated territorial approach and urban–rural linkages. The paper also undertakes an extensive review of the NUA as it relates to urban food systems and finally a review of selected documents, processes and actions that may complement the NUA in developing sustainable food systems. Section 1 starts with a background of food systems in the context of urbanisation and a background of the processes leading to the development of the NUA. Section 2 gives some reflections of the 1996 Habitat Agenda as it relates to food systems, whilst Sect. 3 discusses the opportunities for implementation of food systems outlined in the NUA. Section 4 highlights the key global processes and frameworks supporting sustainable urban food systems, and finally, Sect. 5 makes conclusive statements.
Jackson Kago, Stephanie Loose, Remy Sietchiping

National and Regional Soil Legislation


Canadian Soil Law

Unlike many countries, Canada does not have a national soil policy. Rather, a patchwork of incentives, nonbinding guidelines, and mandatory regulations contribute to soil law in Canada. Constitutional mandates related to jurisdiction have resulted in all levels of government having some authority over soils. After providing the historical context for the emergence of soil law in Canada, this chapter provides an overview of soil policies in the areas of sustainable development, agriculture, forestry, and contaminated sites. As will be made clear, nonbinding guidelines and incentives have been the preferred tool of governments in the agricultural sector, while binding regulations are commonly employed in the forestry sector and to address contaminated sites.
Patricia L. Farnese

Soil Protection Law in Uganda

Uganda is blessed with fertile soils that are suitable for several land use types, including agriculture, forestry and livestock management. However, the tenure, management regimes, population growth and the dominant substance agriculture have made it vulnerable to severe soil degradation. Uganda’s soil protection law is contained in various pieces of legislation, directives, rules and regulations governing the operation of institutions established for purposes of land administration, the management of land rights and land-use planning. Even though elements relating to soil protection are also evident in many pieces of environmental legislation, the consequential and effective implementation and enforcement of all the above laws is yet to be achieved. This is in addition to the lack of comprehensive policy to promote sustainable farming practices that ensure soil conservation and productivity.
Emmanuel Kasimbazi

The Design of the Political and Legal Framework on Soil Conservation in Mozambique: Deeply Unfinished

Soils are deteriorating worldwide, and it is, thus, becoming less fertile, providing less nutrients to plants, animals and people who rely upon them, and Mozambique is no exception. Recent inventories such as the Status of the World’s Soil Resources report (FAO and ITPS 2015) have indicated the extent to which soils have suffered from unsustainable management: 25% of land is highly degraded, and a further 44% is moderately degraded because of erosion, salinisation, compaction and chemical pollution of soils. Twenty-five percent of the African territory has serious soil fertility problem. We have almost no parliamentary debate on the sustainable conservation soils in the country. But, in general terms Mozambique has a commitment to the principle of soil conservation through the constitution, land Policy and agrarian policy. However, the work remains unfinished.
Eduardo Alexandre Chiziane

Cross-Cutting Topics


Human Rights Based Approach to Sustainable Agricultural Policies and Food Security

In 2017, food insecurity and malnutrition increased worldwide. This increase in global hunger poses a significant threat to the realization of the universal right to food, and is at odds with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal to eradicate hunger and malnutrition by 2030. While the major reason for such an increase is protracted conflicts in various countries, climate change and extreme weather events, intensive industrial agriculture, failure of poverty eradication, and rural-urban development are contributing factors. Most of the time, these situations trigger each other and create severe food crises that could even reach alarming levels of starvation and famine. The importance of responding to root causes of food insecurity and providing long-term policies that focus on protecting vital productive resources while respecting and protecting human rights, especially the right to food and right to access to land and natural resources in the face of climate change, is more urgent than ever to avoid disasters.
Hilal Elver

Unlocking the Potential of Soil Organic Carbon: A Feasible Way Forward

After the publication of the Status of the World’s Soil Resources (SWSR) in 2015, the Intergovernmental Technical Panel of Soils (ITPS) and the Global Soil Partnership (GSP) concluded that the increasing soil organic carbon (SOC) represents an important step and solution to cope with environmental problems such as food security, soil degradation, as well as climate change mitigation and adaptation. In the last 3 years, the GSP has been actively working to incorporate SOC into the global agenda. To this end, a series of activities have been developed to contribute to the know-how required to measure, monitor, manage, maintain, and/or increase SOC stocks in a changing world. This chapter underlines the importance of SOC in relation to climate change, human health, food security, and biodiversity.
Ronald Vargas-Rojas, Rosa Cuevas-Corona, Yusuf Yigini, Yuxin Tong, Zineb Bazza, Liesl Wiese
Weitere Informationen

Premium Partner