European history and traditions: Revisiting the European spatial development perspective

Andreas Faludi*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientific


    This chapter is about spatial planning at scales up to that of the Europe Union (EU), more in particular the European Spatial Development Perspective (ESDP) of the 1990s, the closest to a regional design for the EU territory. Contrary to what one might expect, it was, however, not of the EU but of its member states. The latter wanted to get a handle on EU policies relevant to the development of their territories. Their concern was to prevent such policies where they hit the ground to be at cross-purposes with each other and, more generally speaking, to bend EU policies to suit their preferences. In this way, although not of the EU, the ESDP was about EU matters. However, rather than formulating a truly joint vision, member states each looked primarily after their own interests. So, with polycentric development the only recommendation with potential resonance in terms of regional design at the EU scale, when adopted in 1999 as a spatial strategy, the ESDP fell short of expectations. To rebalance the situation more in favor of an EU-led, truly joint approach, an EU shared competence for “territorial cohesion” was introduced. However, by the time this came to pass-2009-the emphasis had shifted away from one overall strategy to initiatives of various types and at various scales. These multiple initiatives, when taken together, form a “cloud” of often overlapping schemes, which seems symptomatic for the very nature of the EU as a diffuse construct.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Regional Design
    EditorsMichael Neuman, Wil Zonneveld
    PublisherTaylor & Francis
    ISBN (Electronic)9781000366549
    ISBN (Print)9780367258665
    Publication statusPublished - 2021


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