Posts Tagged: ESPON

Might territorial cohesion be the answer to the UK’s constitutional crisis following the Scottish referendum?

IMAG0112The last week here in UK has been dominated by the referendum on Scottish independence. Although the “No” side won by a clear margin (55/45%) the issues behind the referendum have not disappeared, and now there is a political discussion at Westminster about devolution across the UK. Meanwhile, last Wednesday I was speaking in Colwyn Bay at an ESPON on the Road  event that focused on small towns in Wales. In my presentation I drew on EU data that shows why the UK now faces a crisis of territorial cohesion. Read more on Might territorial cohesion be the answer to the UK’s constitutional crisis following the Scottish referendum?…

ESPON in Ireland – the economic crisis and territorial development

Michael Parkinson and Loris Servillo during the ESPON seminar

Michael Parkinson and Loris Servillo during the ESPON seminar

Walking the streets of Dublin, you are never far from the brash excesses of the Celtic Tiger era – or from the havoc that the banking crisis has brought. Just as remarkable is the spirit that seems to have sustained the city, and not least the planners in their attempts to build a recovery. Where better to be for the ESPON seminar on jobs and growth? Read more on ESPON in Ireland – the economic crisis and territorial development…

New opportunities for maritime spatial planning and Blue Growth

Stornoway, Western Isles: new EU concern for Blue Growth could open opportuntiies for coastal communities.

The concept of maritime spatial planning has been given a significant boost by a couple of recent actions in the European Union. As Maria Damanaki, EU Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, has commented, “Governments are waking up to the fact that we have just about reached the limit of what can be squeezed from the 29% of the planet that is land. Therefore, it becomes clear that we need to look even more to the sea.” Now the EU is proposing a Directive that would require Member States to develop coastal management strategies that coordinate planning for activities in coastal zones across the different policy areas. This comes just as a pioneering report on Europe’s seas has been published. Read more on New opportunities for maritime spatial planning and Blue Growth…

European practices in making regional strategies

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. Read more on European practices in making regional strategies…

Development and planning in Cyprus

Outstanding mosaics in Paphos

Last week in Cyprus, I was able to get some insights into the development challenges facing this part of Europe. In a snapshot, Mediterranean islands like Cyprus were early cradles of urbanisation and often have a rich archaeological legacy. They were poor agricultural areas until mass tourism began in the 1970s. The boom saw the spread of urban uses along the coasts and around the villages, often undermining of the quality of the places that people were attracted to. Now these places face austerity and threats from climate change. Read more on Development and planning in Cyprus…

What development strategy for the European Union’s Neighbourhood?

Tea break during the ESPON Seminar on the EU Neighbourhood, Paphos, Cyprus

What kind of regional development actions might boost competitiveness and growth through forging new links with states around the borders of the European Union (EU)? This is the question that will be the focus of a meeting in Cyprus that I am participating in this week. The EU’s European Neighbourhood Policy dates from 2004. Its objective is to avoid “the emergence of new dividing lines between the enlarged EU and our neighbours and instead strengthen the prosperity, stability and security of all.” What are the pressures and opportunities and how might a place-based approach help? Read more on What development strategy for the European Union’s Neighbourhood?…

Making Europe’s small towns more attractive

The figure of Hans Clauert is used in public art in the centre of Trebbin to brand the town.

How do you make small towns in rural areas more attractive? This is the central concern of a Baltic Sea INTERREG IVB project that I have been working on. Trans-in-Form brought together partners from Norway, Sweden, Germany, Poland, Latvia and Lithuania. Some of them have had to contend with serious loss of population, and especially young people, who move to the capitals or go abroad to work or study and never return. The project has experimented with a range of techniques to engage local politicians, officers and the public in thinking about what scope there is for action – locally, in co-operation together and across similar regions. Read more on Making Europe’s small towns more attractive…

Building resilient cities

Natural disasters like this earthquake in China are one reason for the growing interest in building resilient cities. (Photo by Dr.Zhang Bing).

I should have been in Abuja this week to speak at the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners conference on “Building Resilient Cities”. Due to lack of time to get a visa, I could not make it. However, I did write a paper and this blog is a summary of it. It reviews current thinking about the idea of resilient cities. This is a theme I have explored in previous blogs on this site.
Read more on Building resilient cities…

Smart specialisation as a development strategy in Denmark

Old Town of Aalborg

Aalborg has a small but charming Old Town, and being Danish there are plenty of bicycles.

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. Read more on Smart specialisation as a development strategy in Denmark…

Local indicators to measure the business environment and accessibility

Surveys of local businesses in Sweden provide a source of informatin for policy makers

If planning is to become a means of supporting growth and economic recovery, then planners, economic development specialists and others working with Cohesion Funds will need a better understanding of the local business environment and accessibility. A new ESPON report includes a description of indicators that are used in Sweden to monitor these concerns, and inform local policy and practice. Read more on Local indicators to measure the business environment and accessibility…