A historical institutionalist account of European spatial planning

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    This paper explains the limited success of the European Spatial Development Perspective pointing to fault lines in the institutional architecture of European integration and the view that the EU has no business in national spatial planning. So, along with the experts at the Commission, the EU has been sidelined. Spending departments at both national as well as at EU level have more clout than planning anyhow. Later, the EU did obtain a competence, if not for spatial planning, then for territorial cohesion. In anticipation, member states adopted their own Territorial Agenda of the European Union. Neither it, nor EU territorial cohesion policy proper went far. Part of EU Cohesion policy, European Territorial Cooperation serves as a substitute. The continuing primacy which the EU institutional architecture gives to member states explains why. But this implies that European space is conceptualized as the sum of state jurisdiction, a view challenged by a fluid, dynamic spatial reality.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)507-522
    JournalPlanning Perspectives: an international journal of history, planning and the environment
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


    • European spatial planning
    • Historical institutionalism
    • territorial cohesion

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