CRONWE: first attempts to institutionalize European spatial planning

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This paper is about a relatively unknown north-west European organization of spatial planning: the (standing) Conference for Spatial Planning in North-Western Europe. The founders of CRONWE tried to create a European spatial planning approach that could influence spatial development in the early years of European integration as the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and later the European Economic Community (EEC) were created. Spatial development, as a topic to be addressed, never reached the negotiation tables though, and CRONWE was created as a permanent platform for discussion with the obvious hope that gradually ‘Europe’ would recognize the relevance and even necessity of European spatial planning. In this paper we use a number of basic concepts of the historical institutionalist approach towards planning research; in particular institutionalization, critical junctures, and path dependency. We apply these concepts to analyse and evaluate the four decades that CRONWE existed. We are particularly interested in assessing why the CRONWE planning agenda remained marginal in the European integration process.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalPlanning Perspectives: an international journal of history, planning and the environment
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Aug 2018


  • ECSC
  • EEC
  • European spatial planning
  • Historical institutionalism
  • North-West Europe

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