Equity in Territorial Planning

Considering that the land in Portugal is predominantly privately owned, the public administration has played a passive role in the urban planning process, limiting itself to the issue of permits of isolated private operations that have characterised urban development and construction in the territory. In the scope of land use planning, if the plan is the fundamental basis of all land use planning, urban development is, through the plans, discriminatory towards properties, in that it grants them different benefits and imposes different onuses, in particular in the form of issuing planning permission in an unequal way in the land plots, thus increasing the value of certain properties and decreasing the value of others.

On the basis of the constitutional principle of equality, Portuguese law (in the form of the Framework Law for Land Use Planning and Urban Development Policy and the Legal Regime of Territorial Management Instruments) establishes that urban development plans are obliged to provide LR mechanisms to annul or at least mitigate the inequalities they themselves bring about.

More than a decade after the anchoring of compensatory land readjustment in the Portuguese legislation and at a time in which revision of the Land Law is being debated, we consider it fundamentally important and opportune to introduce significant alterations to the regulations and practice in the urban development process. Particular thought should be given to some aspects that have been more neglected in the studies carried out in Portugal, namely the need for regulation of the land valuation procedures, the financial viability conditions and the process of transfer of risks of urban development operations, in light of international experiences.