Can Naturbanization Promote Environmentally Friendly Built-Up Areas? A Comparison Between Cadí-Moixeró (Catalonia, Spain) and Comana (Romania) Natural Parks

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Abstract

The study compares the on-going naturbanization processes in and around two Natural Parks under the impact of newcomers, but also tourists from Barcelona and Bucharest and their metropolitan areas. The landscape value of these areas attracts the urban population, which contributes to local sustainable development process but also promotes construction. New businesses associated with rural multifunctionality and value-added activities related to environmental quality were identified. New residents have contributed introducing responsible patterns of consumer, ecoentrepreneurship by women, recovery of abandoned buildings and intensification of rural-urban relationships. Negative impacts such as intensive construction of second homes, with a lower use, in some areas around Cadí-Moixeró threaten biodiversity and habitat connectivity. Insufficient integration of environmental policies, particularly in the Comana wetlands, reduces the potential for rural renewal. Research methods included a review of the counterurbanization literature and the statistical data related to processes of naturbanization in both areas, along with the conduct of 30 structured interviews with key local actors in each area. Naturbanization still offers the potential to enhance local development; however, it is urgent to assess social perspectives in natural parks management in order to achieve environmentally friendly built-up areas.

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