Legal

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Legal

The legal framework provides compulsory acts (both primary and secondary legislation) for safety in urban planning, but it lacks (compulsory) guidelines for security. Those guidelines would, among other things, have to identify limitations for taking security measures, for example due to preceding norms of individual liberty. While in the security debate the establishment and development of legal frameworks around data protection has been a hot topic of discussion and efforts, the legal framing of surveillance aspects might be of greater concern in urban planning and planning of built structures. The legal distinction of facilitating surveillance structures to enhance and ensure public security without violation of individual liberty and the human rights will evoke further controversies and is expected to gain more attention also in planning issues.

Description

Urban planners are confronted with the need to know and heed the quite broad variety of legal frameworks and planning codes that immediately control their day-to-day activities.

Generic legal aspects are well known to urban planners since they form part of their daily work. This includes the legal framework for urban planning as well as for example building regulations and codes that relate to safety, such as fire safety (egress routes and standards), materials, sounds, ventilation, drainage, conservation, access, etc. However, there is little consideration of security aspects currently, apart from natural disasters and regional emergency management plans, which relate more to the hierarchy of authority in such instances, etc.

The challenge in addressing security aspects is that the relevant legal framework is marked by the often difficult to assess, and address, need to integrate urbanist law with other codes and approaches, such as the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Another challenge is that the input of legal aspects into the urban development and planning process is not uniform: Principles of law establish the context for urban planning as well as regulation of land development. These principles could and should be expanded by the social right to security and the functioning and maintenance of the vital societal functions as fundamental principles.

In urban studies, legal aspects have often been linked to legal requirements related to protecting our cultural and natural heritage. However, different legal contexts have to be born in mind. In Ireland, for example, where a building is designated a "protected structure", this is done by the Local Authority/Municipality, upon which a greater protection against material alterations and demolition is placed on that building. Thus, more detailed information tends to be very country-specific.

Entry points for legal aspects in security-related urban planning

Footnotes and references

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