Land protection versus planned land consumption: an example of the Hradec Králové Region
One of the most significant environmental problems in Europe is the land use change as a result of urbanization. The estimate of future agricultural land takes in the Czech Republic previously published in this journal is alarming; however, this is based on arbitrarily determined assumptions. Our contribution brings a more realistic assessment of the extent of expected land takes (example of the Hradec Králové Region). For this purpose, the data from the municipalities’ Planning Analytical Materials (PAM) on buildable areas (and redevelopment areas) and data on the existing expansion of built-up areas are used. Particular attention is paid to the best quality soils included in the 1st and 2nd protection class of agricultural land resources (ALR), because some municipalities located in fertile agricultural areas argue about the necessity to build up good-quality land. The Pearson correlation coefficient has been used for the evaluation to what extent the share of the soils included in the 1st and 2nd protection classes of ALR out of the total area of the municipality is really related to the share of best quality soils in planned buildable areas. The spatial statistics method ‒ geographically weighted regression (GWR) has been used to find spatial deviations from the global relationship model. There is a clear differentiation between the municipalities as to whether they are able to rather protect the best soil or whether they are planning future construction predominantly on it. E.g. in municipalities with about 30–50% of the land included in the 1st and 2nd ALR protection classes, buildable and redevelopment areas are designed from 0 to 100% for these highest classes of ALR protection. However, the total strength of the association (Pearson’s r) between these indicators is large, r = 0.80 (or r = 0.95 when “the point-index value of agricultural land” was used instead of ALR protection classes). The results of GWR show that higher deviations from the model value, both positive and negative ones, are not spatially clustered but located next to each other. Greater deviations occur more frequently in the more fertile western part of the region, where there is a higher pressure on good-quality land, which is either intended for development or protected on the basis of local factors (including spatial planning of individual municipalities). Estimation of future developments has revealed a substantial over-dimensionality of planned buildable areas – they will potentially be built up in more than 100 years.
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