Sustainable development of urban slum areas in northwestern Spain

Carmen Gago-Cortés (Economic Analysis and Business Administration, University of A Coruna, A Coruña, Spain.)
Isabel Novo-Corti (Economic Development and Social Sustainability Research Group, University Institute of Maritime Studies, Spain AND Economic Analysis and Business Administration, University of A Coruna, A Coruña, Spain.)

Management of Environmental Quality

ISSN: 1477-7835

Publication date: 14 September 2015



The persistence of shanty towns in cities is a major public issue due to the situation of poverty and abandonment of its inhabitants. Despite public authorities are concerned about this serious issue, they often fail to address suitably the problem due to their short-term goals. The purpose of this paper is to assess the public policies and green economy projects to improve the quality of life of people living in shanty towns in northwest Spain from the point of view of sustainable development and the interaction between social, economic and environmental areas.


A systemic causal diagram is proposed for the empirical analysis. It has been contrasted through the study of the various actions undertaken in some shanty towns in Spain. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to complement this analysis.


As a result, the study shows that the actions should not only be limited to providing access to adequate housing, but should also require more extensive cross-cutting projects. In this, green economy policies are shown as a good choice for improving the quality of life and development of the population.


The study highlights the potential of green economic policies to mitigate environmental problems in slum areas and to support the social and economic development of its inhabitants. This paper provides some lines of action to improve the efficiency of public policies implemented in these cases. Thus, benefits in multiple areas such as social, environmental and urban could be generated.



To the Diputación of A Coruña Spain, for the financial support (15151, August, 14, 2014). The authors would like to express their thanks to the participants of the International Conference “Sustainable Energy Use and Management” (SEUM, 2014), Targu-Jiu, Romania, May 20, 2014 for their helpful comments and feedback on previous versions of this paper. The paper has also benefited from the comments of Rafael García and the three external reviewers. The authors would also like to sincerely thank all of the interviewees for their participation in the study.


Gago-Cortés, C. and Novo-Corti, I. (2015), "Sustainable development of urban slum areas in northwestern Spain", Management of Environmental Quality, Vol. 26 No. 6, pp. 891-908.

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