National reports are based on case study findings. The findings from case study work are reported in 11 national reports, including a cross comparative analysis of case study results out of a national perspective. They draw out the factors that influence the impact of place-based approaches or actions from a national comparative perspective. The results are intended to facilitate a greater orientation of cohesion, territorial development and other EU policies towards the local level.
Reflecting the achievements of German actions and their impact on the localities, it is quite evident that the kind of localised actions which has been studied in the German context cannot counteract wider structural trends and processes (such as rural-urban divide, outmigration, etc.).
However, it is also obvious that through their place-based and community-oriented development approach, both actions produced outcomes which could not have been achieved by conventional political-administrative (top-down) procedures.
The cases answer to two models to tackle spatial injustice in Spain. One of these models responds to participatory social and urban redevelopment of neighbourhood. It has the objective to improve and increase the social cohesion through urban transformation ac-tions.
The other model is based on local economic development initiatives with strong bottom-up components. This model follows the improvement of the position of the localities in their area of influence through the implementation of actions of economic development and smarter governance.
All of the investigated actions encompass elements with the potential of increasing spatial justice. Three of them are programme-based delivering participatory planning and implementing methods thus promoting a “place-based” approach, two are focusing on developing fair procedures at local level, or two of them work along distinct “brand” of development.
At the same time, all the four case studies revealed failures and controversies as well. For example, related to the decline of enthusiasm both at the central (national) level of administration and at local level, partly influenced by the massive lack of human capacities, due to the reorganisation of territorial governance and the parallel process of re-centralisation.
The analysis of the Dutch cases shows that, even in a ‘policy-dense’ and affluent country such as the Netherlands, achieving greater spatial justice in localities of various scales is notoriously difficult.
Although there is a clear role of government partners on national level, both the Dutch case studies are a reflection of the principle of subsidiarity, i.e. the need and rationale to solve the observed problems on the lowest appropriate level, which is often the regional or local/city level.
The Romanian Actions were unable to address the systemic causes of spatial injustice, at most they were able to ensure temporary improvements to some aspects of life for some people out of the thousands who are dispossessed of socio-economic rights and access to the socially-valued resources of life.
There would be a lot of policy improvements at local and national level for making the territorial distribution of goods and services more just, which would be needed in order to assure the sustainability of the local project-based interventions and of their results.
The regional inequalities in Greece persist despite the implementation of development or Cohesion policies for more than 30 years. The most important of inequalities are related to the administrative system, which is (a) highly bureaucratic, (b) highly centralized and (c) never had an active plan to reduce regional inequalities.
There are presented four Greek Case studies which represent a sample of initiatives that try to mitigate the spatial injustices. They are different in terms of bottom-up or top down approach, different in maturity, initial conditions, scale, geography, and different in the subject matter they are focusing on.
All four investigated Polish cases represent differentiated spatial contexts: of rural areas, small city, and localities in big city. Hence, differentiated issues and problems of social and spatial (in)justice were identified. This resulted in various responding actions. Mentioned actions aim at reducing both social deprivation and exclusion as well as spatial disproportions.
Moreover, investigated actions develop services stimulating entrepreneurship among local communities, and breaking social barriers, stereotypes in society. All Polish cases need to be framed in the context of political, economic, social, and cultural shift from totalitarian system to democratic one.
Euralens and the EPA Alzette-Belval make a direct contribution to greater spatial justice. The EPA Alzette-Belval specifically targets distributive justice, while Euralens targets procedural justice more. These two actions demonstrate that despite decentralisation, the state remains crucial in France.
Like the place-based approach promoted at the EU level, France encourages localities to build up their own initiatives to foster local development, while the state provides timely support through dedicated schemes. In this context, regions facing steep challenges are overwhelmed by the task of effectively mobilising the national tools at their disposal and initiating local development on their own.
Looking across the case studies, all three adopted place-based responses were to some degree tailored to local needs and facilitated highly innovative projects within their areas, but faced challenges of varying scales in providing equitable support within communities and in minimising the creation of new injustices between communities. In terms of future policy changes, Brexit presents considerable uncertainty, particularly regarding sources of funding.
The Swedish actions were successful within the scope of the respective project, but that more needs to be done to make an actual impact. Both actions rely on placed-based strategies for implementation and the results are achieved, to a large extent, as a function of them being related to localized decision-making and local administrations.
This ‘place-baseness’ in largely related to the national political and administrative context. When comparing the two cases, the Swedish multilevel administrative system stands out as important to understand the opportunities and limitations for the respective actions, and the role of municipalities is crucial.