Shaping regional futures: performance of regional design in European regions

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In metropolitan regions, municipal borders and other administrative boundaries have long since been transcended by spatial patterns of interaction and land use. In the emergence of spatial patterns, multiple spatial scales intertwine – from the neighbourhood up to the functional region and beyond. Governments and their administrations often experience statutory limitations when trying to address these developments. Their territories are fragments of regions; they have difficulties detecting problems that are caused by factors outside of their spheres of influence and feel that addressing them is beyond their competence and political mandate. Planning instruments available to them, along with specific rules and regulations, are often too generic, rigid and defensive to address the specific development potentialities that are the product of intertwined issues and scales. Simultaneously, analytical information about regional spatial development is increasing, thanks to new technologies that can handle (big) data. More information and knowledge on what is going on beyond the horizon of a single city is not unproblematic, though. There is little experience about how to transform the insights and activities of single individuals and organizations into collective knowledge and action on a regional scale. In response to these deficiencies of statutory planning, politicians, planning authorities and also civil and private organizations in numerous European regions are participating in informal, network typed governance arrangements, in order to coordinate sector issues and issues that play at different levels of scale (see for instance Allmendinger et alia, 2015). They seek, for instance, to integrate economic, transport and housing development, and water management stretching across multiple and multi scalar boundaries. Being voluntary associations with few formal planning instruments available to them, the resulting partnerships collaboratively engage in jointly creating inspiring and encouraging spatial agendas with the help of regional design.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Spaces of Dialog for Places of Dignity, Lisbon, 11-14th July, 2017
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