Lithuania should have more compact cities with housing of better quality2017-01-03
Statistics show that the population number in Lithuania is only increasing in the municipalities of Vilnius, Kaunas and Klaipėda districts. Due to the shrinking demographic resources in other cities of the country and the expected rapid development of urbanised territories, Lithuania is facing the increased risk of unsustainable territorial development. The Lithuanian bigger cities lack compactness which makes the effective use of resources very difficult. Lithuania takes the first place in the EU according to the artificially made surface area per capita in the major cities.
In the opinion of the Ministry of Environment, during the review of the municipalities’ general plans and other development documents it is very important to take real account of the needs for new development and infrastructure costs, and choose renovation of built-up territories instead of new urbanised areas. Otherwise the Lithuanian population will become even ‘wealthier’ in terms of the built-up area per capita and will have to bear the burden of irrational infrastructure maintenance. Built-up territories and townships which, however, experience the crisis of depopulation may emerge.
Most of the municipal general plans were drawn up before the economic crisis, i.e. at the time when the view that demand for real estate, in particular for housing, would never end prevailed. Thus the development provided for in the municipal general plans to date was unreasonably large, without the appropriate control of suburban processes involving the development of suburbs. This year quite many Lithuanian municipalities plan to amend or correct the general plans of their territories as the solutions were prepared for a decade.
Taking the long-term housing objectives of the National Strategy for Sustainable Development (until 2020) into consideration, one of the most important tasks is to improve the quality of housing. Therefore the Ministry of Environment is urging the Lithuanian municipalities to strive for urban compactness.