This Guest Blog by Emeritus Professor Klaus Kunzmann proposes a radical approach to Greece's economic difficulties
My previous visits to Riga were in the winter. Fading light on gloomy afternoons, sleet and snow chilling the soul, forcing me to seek the refuge of a warm bar or café. Now I am here in vibrant springtime, with a crescent moon in a crimson night sky after a day of warm sun. Suddenly, light green leaves have burst the grip of the long, bare winter. There is a promise of better days ahead: this great European city looks to the future with new confidence.
Successful regional development can no longer be achieved through top-down public sector action. The skills and resources of the private and voluntary sectors are needed. This also means that planning for regional development must be done in a more inclusive way, less hierarchical and with co-operative networks and partnerships. However, action at regional scale needs also to be aligned to policy at national and transnational scales but also at local scale. These are messages from a new study that looks at regional development practice in four areas – the Randstad in The Netherlands, England’s West Midlands, Zealand in Denmark and Västerbotten in Sweden.
As European leaders vent their anger at the Greeks and threaten (once again) to perform the next act in a protracted tragedy, what became of territorial cohesion? This may sound an esoteric question, but it goes to the heart of the future of the EU.
The new ESPON programme will be launched at an event on 3 and 4 June 2015 in the Latvian sea-side town of Jurmala, under the Latvian presidency of the EU. ESPON 2020 will continue the consolidation of a European Territorial Observatory Network and grow the provision and policy use of pan-European, comparable, systematic and reliable territorial evidence. The five specific objectives decided for the period 2015-2020 are:
1. enhanced the production of territorial evidence through applied research and analyses,
2. upgraded knowledge transfer and use of analytical user support,
3. improved territorial observation and tools for territorial analyses,
4. wider outreach and uptake of territorial evidence, and
5. leaner, and more effective and efficient implementation provisions and more proficient programme assistance.
Participation in the event is free and open to all. check www.espon.eu for more information. Tendering of a first round of research projects is likely to begin in the late summer.
This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 18 June 2012.
What kind of strategies can help regions to strengthen their performance in knowledge and innovation? This was the theme of the ESPON Open Seminar that I took part in last week in Aalborg. What emerged was a strong consensus on the importance of getting stakeholders to feel a sense of ownership of a flexible regional strategy, which in turn was part and parcel of building trust. This region of North Denmark shows how strategic spatial planning has been used to create jobs and growth.
This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 19 March 2012.
“One of Norwegian society’s strengths lies in the fact that we have economic development spread all over the country. This enables us to get the most out of our natural, cultural and human resources, and is how we have laid the foundation of our prosperity and welfare.” This statement opens an official commentary on Rural and Regional Policy published by the Norwegian Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development. In contrast, as I write this blog, the UK government is announcing a kind of regional policy in reverse: it will take money out of weaker regional economies by holding down the pay of public sector employees working in such regions. So is the left of centre Norwegian government’s regional policy a dinosaur?
This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 24 October 2011.
The idea of polycentric development has been a cornerstone of European spatial planning for over a decade. But what does it mean? What does it imply for practice? How can we measure it? Is it now past its “sell-by date”?
This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 22 June 2011.
What can local and regional authorities do to speed economic recovery? What kind of actions are needed to make the pattern of development more sustainable? How can we make places more inclusive? The Territorial Agenda of the European Union 2020 (TA), agreed by the Ministers responsible for spatial planning last month, aspires to point the path “Towards an Inclusive, Smart and Sustainable Europe of Diverse Regions”. Now I am at the ESPON meeting in the Royal Palace at Godollo, Hungary that seeks to explore what knowledge is needed to take the TA forward and to inform the EU’s Cohesion Policy after 2013.
This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 11 April 2011.
Across the world, administrative boundaries, and particularly international borders, are blocks to economic development, management of energy and conservation of natural resources. Rivers flow across frontiers, where flood prevention measures differ. National energy policies and grids constrain efficiency. Small towns split by a border struggle against larger economic hubs. The culture of officialdom looks inwards. However, across Europe border barriers are being tackled through spatial planning and economic development. Local blinkers are being replaced by new forms of co-operation and policy-making.