Reuse of spaces and buildings

Many cities in Europe experience population growth, generating increased pressure on urban land uses in and around their cities, often leading to uncontrolled urban sprawl. Evidence showed that during the 2000–2018 period, land take in Europe exceeded the assumed need (population growth). Urban sprawl, generally considered unsustainable, has existed for a long time. However, nowadays policy discourse centres on the concept of sustainability and politicians are looking to spatial planning to manage urban growth.

Reusing spaces and buildings can be seen as an effective way to reduce urban sprawl and its environmental impacts and to keep neighbourhoods occupied and vital. It is considered an attractive alternative to the construction of new buildings or using non-sealed soil. In the spirit of a circular economy, industrial areas in transition and deindustrialisation deserve particular attention.

This ESPON policy brief aims to inform European, national, regional and urban authorities about how to reuse spaces and buildings to help achieve sustainable urbanisation. And support discussions surrounding the reuse of spaces and buildings as a means to facilitate the transition towards a circular economy at the intergovernmental level during the Croatian Presidency of the Council of the EU’s first semester of 2020.


Policy Brief Reuse of spaces and buildings.pdf

  • Acrobat Document | 2.21MB