The approach is based on comparative case studies that will allow to investigate spatial justice and fairness as they have been defined and pursued at the level of urban and rural communities. This involves reconstructing trajectories of local strategy development and their links with EU policies, Cohesion Policy in particular. The focus is therefore on the local definition of social needs and articulation of equality demands on the one hand, and the ways in which these needs and demands have been pursued in conjunction with EU opportunity structures on the other.
Importantly, it will be necessary to assess in comparative manner the experiences of localities in achieving their objectives; this involves identifying conditioning factors as the local, regional and national levels and their respective roles in goal achievement.
The locality approach also involves an additional central element, namely that of scenario elaboration for all case study areas. Scenarios will build on past experience as well as more general good examples of local development practice in order to target prospective actions based on assessments of spatial justice deficits, local development aspirations and realistic goals of stabilisation and/or growth.