Metropolitan fringes as strategic areas for urban resilience and sustainable transitions: Insights from Barcelona Metropolitan Area

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Marques A.L.
Alvim A.T.B.
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© 2024 Elsevier LtdIn an urbanized world, the challenges posed by climate change need to be met through innovative planning for cities and regions. Urban resilience demands that cities adopt new models centered on carbon neutrality, ecosystem services and biodiversity enhancement, circularity, and social inclusion. In light of the multiple interdependencies of metropolitan systems and the natural and territorial potentialities present on their fringes, this paper discusses the metropolitan fringes as strategic for urban resilience and sustainable transitions. By combining a mixed-method analysis of adaptation and urban plans with semi-structured interviews performed with key technicians, the analysis is focused on an inter-municipal fringe zone within the Barcelona Metropolitan Area - the Besòs territory. Aiming to contribute to the discussions related to Territorial innovation for cities and regions, the paper offers a multi-scale perspective and illustrates innovative urban transformation strategies across scales. The results highlight that governance and multiple planning and participation instances together with technical and financial support are essential for consensus building in an incremental process. Furthermore, the planning strategies of the case study sought to integrate and enhance the green and blue infrastructures and transform consolidated urban areas with a focus on energy transition, sustainable mobility, circularity, and social inclusion. In conclusion, it is argued that resilience has a multi-scalar perspective within the metropolitan context and should be integrated with planning policies at different scales from a coordinated vision. Although adaptation and urban projects have a critical local element, a broader and more strategic vision is necessary, especially in metropolitan fringe areas.
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