Increasingly, public decisions are answered by wider layers of society that do not use the traditional means of political representation such as political parties to express their opinions, but are organized in groups and associations or urban social movements. This shows that society is no longer willing to remain a passive spectator in the process of urban and land commodification, segregation and degration according to market-oriented logics. Nevertheless the proliferation of conflicts still has not received strong interest from the academic world. So far there has been little bibliographical data that focus primarily on the description of the phenomenon rather than understanding or the proposed new mechanisms of participation, consultation and ultimately, ideas for institutional innovation in systems representation and local management is the root cause of many of the protests.
Traditionally the study of urban and regional conflicts has been included in research on social movements, the third sector, the role of civil society, collective action and urban movements from sociology, anthropology and political science. Classic contributions in these disciplines as Castells' The Urban Question, The Right to the City of Henri Lefebvre, the sociology of Giddens and the Critique of Modernity in Touraine, just to name a few, have been studied indirectly urban conflicts land as an expression of growing public discontent with their representatives who ruled the cities and approved projects with a technocratic and bureaucratic approach. For these authors, conflicts in the 60 urban and 70 would be a sign of the crisis of Keynesian welfare state and even a good a example of the contradictions of the capitalist system. According to Touraine, the new social movements of the new postindustrial stage since the protests of the 60 juveniles are called to occupy the place that had the labor movement in industrial societies. This research has stressed on the study of the evolution of collective action, structure and discourse of these movements rather than the consequences of his action which are the spatial conflicts, and how as a result of these conflicts the city and its management have evolved.
In Spain, the interest in studying the basic territorial disputes settled permanently in the 90's when we saw the proliferation of conflicts of this type, although previously there had been particularly interesting contributions on conflicts linked to water use and of course there was a long tradition of studying all kinds of urban and territorial disputes in Latin American literature. In our country Oriol Nel·lo it is one of the first authors to conduct a conflict analysis of territorial base for Catalonia and finds an increase of conflicts from this decade due to four contributing factors: the growing public concern for the quality, resources, security and identity of the area where they live, the rebirth of the territory as a fundamental component of individual and collective identity, the crisis of confidence in the institutional forms of expression and citizenship and government failures or shortcomings of sectoral and territorial policies deployed to date, many of which do not meet their goals of social cohesion, economic development, respect for the environment or sustainability expressed in their preambles.
To these factors must be added two more very important in the context. First from the 80's Spain, like many other countries began a process of territorial integration at European and world today because of globalization, which increased the level of competition of cities and their needs in all kinds of facilities and equipment as well as major events to promote itself and attract investment and tourism. These processes inevitably generate conflicts of all kinds, against the expansion of an airport or a landfill, holding a big event, the urban regeneration of historic centers, construction of new highways and rounds or the gentrification of an old working-class neighborhoods.
The other factor that explains the proliferation of conflicts in Spain is the period of "boom" housing that starts in the mid-90 and ends in 2008.