Spatial Development in Europe 2020
With Each Other – For Each Other – Against Each Other

16th & 17th of June 2011

ARL Congress – Scientific Plenary Session

The topic of spatial development in Europe has many facets. Thanks to its spatial planning policies (including, among others, regional policy, agricultural policy, cohesion policy and competition policy), the European Union (EU) has significant influence on the development of towns and regions. The European Commission and the European Conference of Ministers responsible for Regional Planning are trying to give the development of towns and regions a common orientation by means of strategic documents. Examples of these are the European Spatial Development Perspective (1999), the Leipzig Charter on Sustainable European Cities (2007). The latter document is the follow-up of the Lisbon Strategy which through its implementation, most likely, will cause substantial spatial impacts.

The EU has set itself the goal of promoting „economic, social and territorial cohesion and solidarity among Member States“ by reducing the disparities in development status (EU Treaty, Article 3). With the introduction of the aim of territorial cohesion, the discussion regarding spatial development in Europe has gained new impetus. Although it is still not yet certain what kind of concrete effect the aim will have with regard to future EU spatial planning policies. In its Barca Report published in 2009, the Commission put forward noteworthy suggestions for a placed-based development policy to meet economic and social objectives. The suggestions aim at using local knowledge, the development of local potentials and the strengthening of local institutions.

Together with you, we would like to dare take a look at the future! Beyond daily political debates, we wish to discuss spatial development in Europe in the coming decade. What challenges do we have to reckon with; what topics are relevant; what policies, strategies and instruments do we need; and what solutions are required? What role can and should spatial planning play in all this? Venture to take this step with us and get involved in a debate on the topic of spatial development in Europe in 2020!