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).
In the course of 2020, I made the decision to shift my focus to independent research and consultancy work. I look back on a productive and very enjoyable career as a university-based researcher and lecturer with more than twenty publications in international peer-reviewed journals, too many conference papers and presentations to count as well as seminars and lecture courses in Dublin, Hamburg, Kilkenny and Maynooth. I have researched, taught and published on a wide range of topics from Brexit and cross-border cooperation landscape imaginaries and nature conservation at the Wadden Sea coast. Please find further details of my experience and qualifications here and previous and current projects here.
I look forward to new challenges and opportunities to work more intensively with practitioners and policy-makers on joint collaborative projects and as an external advisor, whether in northern Germany, Ireland, at the European level or further afield.
I am available for consultancy work across the following thematic areas:
Following on from my applied research work with the International Centre for Local and Regional Development (ICLRD) and conceptual work on soft spaces at HafenCity University in Hamburg, I became interested in the idea of the island of Ireland as a ‘soft space’. In a book chapter, I explored the ways in which the peace process enabled the articulation of new geographies for spatial planning and regional development on the island of Ireland. With the Brexit referendum these issues of course came to the fore as it became clear that the relational network of cross-border connectivities which had emerged over the previous two decades was at risk.
Spatial Strategies at the Land-Sea Interface: Rethinking Maritime Spatial Planning – Hamburg September 2019: A Workshop Report
A three-day workshop on spatial planning at the land-sea interface took place at Hamburg University, Institute for Geography from 11-13th September. The workshop took place under the umbrella of the Marine Spatial Planning Research Network and the Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP) Thematic Group on Transboundary Spaces, Planning Cultures and Policy Diffusion. It explicitly sought to the bring together these two academic communities engaged with spatial planning at sea and on land respectively. In this spirit, Prof. Simin Davoudi (Newcastle University, UK) provided the opening keynote, introducing the concept of spatial imaginaries as way of coming to grips with taken-for-granted geographies of the coast. This conceptual introduction was followed by three papers providing reflections on current practices in MSP research and policy in Poland, Denmark and the UK.