I am very happy to be working on the preparation of synthesis policy reports emerging from the Horizon 2020 IMAJINE (Integrative Mechanisms for Addressing Spatial Justice and Territorial Inequalities in Europe) project led by Prof. Michael Woods of Aberystwyth University. The policy reports will help to inform a scenario-building exercise, focussed on ‘Re-imaging Regional Futures’.
Linking conceptual ideas on relational space and values to the formulation of normative policy frameworks is challenging but rewarding work!
Reflecting on developments in European spatial policy over the past decades, the publication of the European Spatial Development Perspective (ESDP) in 1999 might be considered the highpoint of European spatial planning. A third iteration of the Territorial Agenda of the European Union (TAEU) is currently under preparation, to be finalised under the current German Presidency of the Council of the EU (second half of 2020). The TAEU has, however, developed little debate and has had limited policy influence since the publication of its first iteration in 2007. The TAEU 2020, adopted under the Hungarian presidency in 2011 comprised a relatively strong endorsement of place-based or spatially sensitive policies at all scales within the EU. Emphasis was placed in particular on ‘territorial diversity’ within the EU and the scope for places to capitalise on their ‘territorial potential’ through regionally-specific development strategies:
“[The place-based approach] aims to unleash territorial potential through development strategies based on local and regional knowledge of needs, and building on the specific assets and factors which contribute to the competitiveness of places”. (TAEU 2020, 2011, Article 11).