An urbanization is a planned community which has met the standards of the various governmental agencies with respect of the use of the land (residential, commercial, sports area, green zones), and to providing a specific set of services and a minimum level of quality in the construction of roads, sidewalks, drainage, sewage systems, electricity and water installations, and so on.

Obtaining permission to develop land into an urbanization can take a developer up to several years and several million euros of expense. The most obvious advantage to the owner of a property within an urbanization is the fact that the land usage is strictly controlled. If one decides to build a house on a plot in a section of an urbanization zoned exclusively for single family dwellings, you are assured by law that neither an apartment block nor a rabbit farm can be located on the adjacent single family plot!

There are several zoning classifications for rural land outside of urbanizations. Marbella is in the process of updating its master plan, and great care should be exercised in purchasing land outside of an urbanization: under most circumstances, one may not be able to build upon land which is not within an urbanization.

Property in Spain