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Urbanistic Plan in Valdevaqueros, Tarifa, Spain


Valdevaqueros is one of the last virgin beaches in Tarifa. Its 70 hectares are part of the Estrecho Natural Parc, which is protected by European law and has been declared a Biosphere Reserve.

In May 2012, Tarifas Town Council approved an urbanistic plan to build a macro-tourist complex and 350 houses in Valdevaqueros.

Opposition to the project emerged, uniting different people (from surfers to locals, to environmental NGOs). They organised a social network campaign and during 2012 Valdevaqueros became an iconic struggle against construction in protected spaces. One of the main arguments was to link the Spanish economic crisis to the housing bubble and what is known as the brick economy (economia de ladrillo) and demand a final halt to this model of development. The Plataforma Salvemos Valdevaqueros also brought the case before the Spanish and European Courts.

In July 2013, the Andalucian regional government made public a new urbanistic plan for the Andalucian coast in which Valdevaqueros was protected from further urbanistic initiatives by the Tarifa Town Council.

Basic Data

NameUrbanistic Plan in Valdevaqueros, Tarifa, Spain
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level

Source of Conflict

Type of Conflict (1st level)Tourism Recreation
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Tourism facilities (ski resorts, hotels, marinas)
Specific Commodities
Tourism services

Project Details and Actors

Project DetailsA macro-tourist complex and 350 houses were to be built.

Project Area (in hectares)8
Type of PopulationUrban
Potential Affected Population17
Company Names or State EnterprisesGrupo GMT from Spain
Relevant government actorsTarifa Town Council, Andalucia Regional Government, Spanish Ministry of Environment
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersPlataforma Salvemos Valdevaqueros, Cigüeña negra, SEO Birdlife, Greenpeace, Verdemar - ecologistas en acción, Indignados Tarifa, Asociación Territorios Vivos, Agaden, WWF

The Conflict and the Mobilization

Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
Recreational users
Forms of MobilizationLawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
using social networks


Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of livelihood, Loss of landscape/sense of place


Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseNew legislation
Project cancelled
Development of AlternativesNot to build anything.
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.The local EJOs and national environmental NGOs developed an impressive and successful campaign using social media. They also presented the conflict in the main Spanish conventional media and got thousand of supporters throughtout the country.

Sources and Materials


Ley 2/2013, de 29 de mayo, de protección y uso sostenible del litoral y de modificación de la Ley 22/1988, de 28 de julio, de Costas:

Ley de Ordenación urbanística en Andalucía:

Plan de Ordenación del territorio del área del campo de Gibraltar (2011)

Plan de Ordenación de los recursos naturales del Estrecho (2011)


Slideshow. Toristic model of development in Andalucia. Valdevaqueros case:


News article. Luz verde para urbanizar Valdevaqueros, una de las últimas playas vírgenes de España:

Newspaper article. Carta ecologista por Valdevaqueros.

Newspaper article. La batalla de Valdevaqueros centra el Día del Medio Ambiente:

Newspaper article. Ecologistas aplauden medidas contra urbanizar Valdevaqueros:

Media Links

Youtube with a public act and interviews to the speakpeople from the EJOs in the Valdevaqueros conflict:

Meta Information

ContributorAmaranta Herrero
Last update08/04/2014