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An Agenda for a Reformed Cohesion Policy: a place-based approach to meeting European Union challenges and expectations

By: Barca, F (2011)

Cohesion policy is by far the largest development policy of the EU. The present paper examines the debates regarding place-neutral versus place-based policies for economic development. Many of the previously accepted arguments have been called into question by the impacts of globalization and a new response to these issues has emerged, a response both to these global changes and also to non-spatial development approaches. The study unveils that the serious limitations in the availability of evidence on cohesion policy results have certainly played a relevant role in discouraging public debate, as have the limitations of the reporting system.

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Regional Competitiveness and Territorial Capital: A Conceptual Approach and Empirical Evidence from the European Union

By: Camagni, R. & Capello, R. (2013)

Regional competitiveness and territorial capital: a conceptual approach and empirical evidence from the European Union, Regional Studies. Today, a selective pattern of regional growth is emerging to differentiate single regions’ growth and determine a varied mosaic of development stories. This fact calls for more stringent and selective interpretations of the different regional assets defining growth strategies for each region, city or territory: in short, what is increasingly called ‘territorial capital’, and its efficient exploitation. The paper inspects in depth the concept of territorial capital and it conceptually highlights all elements that are embedded in this concept. The novelty of the empirical exercise lies in the treatment of the entire European territory at the same time.

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A New partnership for Cohesion. Convergence, competitiveness, cooperation. Third Report on Economic and Social Cohesion

Commission of the European Communities (2004)

The purpose of this report is to set out the European Commission’s vision for the future of Europe’s policy to reduce disparities and to promote greater economic, social and territorial cohesion.

It provides a detailed response to such important questions. It confirms that Europe’s added value has been significant at many levels, in terms of the rapid reduction of the gaps in incomes between rich and poor, the creation of many new opportunities often in innovative activities and the creation of the networks linking regions, businesses and people across the continent.

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Investment for jobs and growth. Promoting development and good governance in EU regions and cities

Sixth Report on Economic, Social and Territorial Cohesion by Commission of the European Communities (2014)

The European Commission’s 6th Report on Economic, Social and Territorial Cohesion shows that EU Cohesion Policy is delivering on the growth goals of the Europe 2020 Strategy by creating jobs and reducing disparities across Europe. Looking ahead to 2014-2020, the report outlines how investments will be focused on key areas like energy efficiency, employment, social inclusion and SMEs to get the most of the investments to the benefit of citizens. It analyses the state of cohesion of the Union and highlights the challenges faced by national, regional and local authorities in overcoming the impact of the financial and economic crisis. In particular it finds that Cohesion Policy has cushioned the dramatic decline of public investment, injecting much needed investment resources in many Member States and creating vital financial stability which serves to attract private investment.

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Green Paper on Territorial Cohesion. Turning territorial diversity into strength

Commission of the European Communities (2008)

This Green Paper opens the debate on territorial cohesion policy with a view to improving competitiveness and sustainable development throughout the European Union (EU).

Effectively, the widening of strategies implemented at Community, national, regional and local levels should enable:

  • an increase in returns of agglomeration and a reduction in disadvantages for all types of territories, in order to support their harmonious development;
  • improved links between territories, to ensure access to services of general economic interest, principally in the fields of health, education, transport, energy, information and communication technologies;
  • the promotion of cooperation between territories, in order to manage environmental and structural problems on the most appropriate territorial scale, as well as to create synergies of growth and innovation. Cooperation should be strengthened between cross-border regions in the new Member States and with the EU’s external borders.

Furthermore, cohesion policy should enable certain regions to make the most of their potential, in particular mountain or island regions or sparsely populated regions. In its efforts to deepen and clarify the concept of territorial cohesion, the Commission intends to consult interested parties on the scope of actions taken, the appropriate means of implementation to strengthen cross-border and transnational cooperation, the coordination of territorial and sectoral policies (essentially in the fields of transport, communication, employment, the environment, agriculture, competition and research), as well as on the opportunity to widen existing territorial partnerships to include new types of local players.

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Reconsidering Localism

By: Davoudi, S. & Madanipour, A. (2015)

‘Localism’ has been deployed in recent debates over planning law as an anodyne, grassroots way to shape communities into sustainable, human-scale neighborhoods. But ‘local’ is a moving category, with contradictory, nuanced dimensions. Reconsidering “Localism” brings together new scholarship from leading academics in Europe and North America to develop a theoretically grounded critique and definition of the new localism, and how it has come to shape urban governance and urban planning.

Moving beyond the UK, this book examines localism and similar shifts in planning policy throughout Europe, and features essays on localism and place making, sustainability, social cohesion, and citizen participation in community institutions. It explores how debates over localism and citizen control play out at the neighborhood, institutional and city level, and has come to affect the urban landscape throughout Europe. Reconsidering Localism is a current, vital addition to planning scholarship.

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Cohesion Policy Support for Local Development: Best Practice and Future Policy Options

ADETEF, Notre Europe, AEIDL, City Consult, commissioned by Directorate General for Regional Policy, European Commission (2010)

During the 1980-90s, local development provided both responses to growing unemployment in distressed regions suffering from the collapse of manufacturing or traditional industries, and promises of a new future for areas that were lagging behind, both rural and urban. With the 2008-2009 crisis, several experts and policy makers contemplated the idea of reinvesting the local development approach that had been neglected in recent years. As the debate on the next programming period is about to be opened, it is time to bring fresh thinking on what should be done by the EU cohesion policy to support local development and how this can be achieved.

The report draws upon a six-month team work and an incremental process which allows to formulating comprehensive recommendations for local development best practice and policy options for support to local development initiatives within the cohesion policy.

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European Union: monitoring and evaluating local development in the 2014-2020

By: Kolosy, K (2013)

This paper focuses on the evaluation of local development in an institutional context, with an attempt to grasp and reconcile the baseline features of 21st century local development with the aim to establish a common baseline approach for assessing Community Led Local Development (CLLD) during the 2014-2020 programming period of the structural funds.It is the first time that regulatory provisions are considering the local level of public intervention as a mandatory approach to be adopted by all Member States.Within the broad spectrum of EU funding instruments, CLLD offers relatively low operational costs and strong social resilience. Simplified EU support can be entrusted to CLLD in order to unleash local social capital, a rich ferment to innovative solutions for sustainable development and better social justice. Added value could be ascertained through adjusted Quality of Life indicators built and monitored with participatory development techniques.

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The city and spatial justice

By: Soja, E (2009)

The specific term “spatial justice” has not been commonly used until very recently, and even today there are tendencies among geographers and planners to avoid the explicit use of the adjective “spatial” in describing the search for justice and democracy in contemporary societies. Either the spatiality of justice is ignored or it is absorbed into such related concepts as territorial justice, environmental justice, the urbanization of injustice, the reduction of regional inequalities, or even more broadly in the generic search for a just city and a just society.

The aim of this brief report is to explain why it is crucial in theory and in practice to emphasize explicitly the spatiality of justice and injustice, not just in the city but at all geographical scales, from the local to the global.

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Rationale and design of EU cohesion policies in a period of crisis

By: Camagni, R. & Capello, R. (2015)

The aim of the paper is a reflection on justifications and proper design of cohesion policies in a period of deep economic recession. In particular, the paper tackles two important topics. The first deals with the justification for EU regional policies in a period of economic downturn, since they may look less urgent and appropriate than short term demand policies. Instead, as the paper argues, the crisis exerts considerable pressure on several EU countries, and may even, in the worst case, jeopardize two decades of efforts towards EU enlargement and cohesion. In this condition, regional policies are called to rebalance the spatial effects that the ongoing crisis is determining on interregional convergence trends. The second topic relates to the most appropriate design that cohesion policies should follow. The message that the paper conveys from a conceptual point of view, corroborated by empirical results, is that the winning strategy is neither to focus on champion places and regions, in search of the highest efficiency, nor on lagging areas, in search equity; policies designed on each regions’ specificities, competitive advantage and needs are the right policies, able to engage all possible assets and enlarge excellences.

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European Funding: Integrated Territorial Investment

By: Murphy, E. (2013)

In October 2011, the European Commission adopted draft legislative proposals for EU cohesion policy for 2014-2020. The new proposals are designed to ensure that EU investment is targeted on the Commission’s long term goals for growth and jobs and aim to harmonise the rules related to different European Funds. EU Cohesion Policy invests in areas such as energy efficiency; training; research and innovation; transport; support for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs); renewable energy; and co-operation between European regions.

In an effort to reinforce territorial cohesion the Commission believes that European cities have the potential to make a much larger contribution to policies for growth, social cohesion and environmental sustainability. To this end it is proposing that a minimum of 5% of the European Regional Development Fund resources for each Member State for 2014-2020 should be invested in integrated actions for sustainable urban development with the management and implementation delegated to cities. The Commission are proposing to introduce a new tool, known as Integrated Territorial Investments (ITIs), to focus on integrated actions in urban development through the means of simplified financing.

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Scenario Planning – Managing for the Future

By: Ringland, G. (1998)

Throughout the ages people have tried to make decisions today by studying the possibilities of tomorrow. When that tomorrow was more predictable and less fraught with uncertainty, those possibilities had a good chance of being the right ones. Now, however, the only given constant in a world of complexity is change itself. In an environment where information technology is driving an information revolution, and where the rules can be rewritten with breathtaking speed, planning can seem more based on luck than foresight. But, as this book shows, there are methods for coping with unpredictability. The scenario planning techniques described in this book will help to think about uncertainty in a structured way. Case studies including ICL, British Airways and United Distillers highlight the fact that those who feel scenario planning too ‘futurist’ to take seriously should take another look at its usefulness in wrestling with the pace of change.

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Spatial justice, European spatial policy and the case of polycentric development

By: Connelly, S. & Bradley, K (2004)

Polycentric development is being promoted as one of the core concept of European spatial policy and planning. It can appear attractive in its efforts to balance the quests for competitiveness, territorial cohesion and sustainable development. In this paper, however, polycentricity is analysed from a spatial justice perspective, meaning exploring the spatial distribution of qualities resulting from policies promoting a polycentric development, as well as analysing whether there are elements of (in)justice inherent in the concept. Based on a theoretical discussion on spatial justice, arguments are made both in favour of and against the justice of polycentricity. Whatever the concrete territorial effects of polycentric development might be they are likely to have different impacts on the diverse socio-economic and cultural groups within as well as outside the EU.

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Spatial Justice and Planning

By: Fainstein,  S (2009)

The traditional argument for spatial planning is that it incorporates the public interest into the development of land by suppressing selfish actions and coordinating multiple activities (Klosterman 2003, p. 93). This justification has long elicited criticism for its vagueness (Lucy 2003), a problem that perhaps afflicts any higher-order norm and which will not be elaborated. Instead the document examines its interpretation in contemporary planning practice. The author proceed by first discussing the currently dominant direction in planning theory that stresses public participation and deliberation. Next she compares it to the just city approach and elaborate on the latter, evaluating planning in New York City, London, and Amsterdam. In conclusion, Fainstein lists criteria of justice by which to formulate and judge planning initiatives at the urban level. It is assumed that social justice is a desired goal, and no argument is presented to justify its precedence.

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Territorial Cohesion: An EU concept

By: Medeiros, E (2016)

This article addresses the concept of Territorial Cohesion, which has been gaining increasing interest within academia and the EU policy circles. In particular, it examines its relevance and main dimensions, and also suggests a comprehensive definition based on those dimensions. Additionally, this paper proposes a methodology which can be used to measure Territorial Cohesion in a given territory. Furthermore, the article also highlights the importance of the territorial dimension as a key topic in the EU political agenda and, at the same time, gives a contribution to answer several questions for debate expressed in the Green Paper on Territorial Cohesion.

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Territorial Cohesion: From theory to practice

By: Jouen, M (2008)

This study presents the historic evolution, content and ramifications of this concept. It analyzes the forces at work in, and the three main components of a territorial cohesion approach—reducing geography-related disparities, ensuring coherence between sectorial policies and strengtheningties between territories. Acknowledging the difficulty of introducing new game rules on the European, as well as national, regional and local levels, it proposes to follow a two-stage roadmap: to adopt various specific measures of limited impact early in 2009 and then to speed up the process as from 2014.

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Territorial Cohesion – Current views of the Commission and the Member States of the European Union

By: Schön, K. P (2009)

Although the Constitutional Treaty of the European Union and the EU Treaty of Lisbon have not yet come into effect, these new treaties established “territorial cohesion” as a new basic goal of the European Union in addition to “economic and social cohesion”. In this context, EU ministers responsible for spatial development and territorial cohesion as well as the European Commission have started a debate on the meaning and interpretation of territorial cohesion and the elements, challenges, and strategies of a territorial cohesion policy. Territorial cohesion combines cohesion policies and territorial policies complementarily. It adds the element of territory to cohesion policy and to economic and social cohesion, and it emphasises the aspect of cohesion within European spatial and territorial policies.

In this article the author will explore what contributions EU ministers responsible for territorial cohesion and the European Commission have recently made to shaping and clarifying the policy object of territorial cohesion in Europe.

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The future of EU cohesion policy as seen by regions and cities

Committee of the Regions, EU (2012)

The Committee of the Regions is fully aware of the variety and scale of the challenges which cohesion policy – an irreplaceable investment policy for the Union – will have to meet from 2014. This awareness strengthens the determination of all its members to make sure the voice of local and regional authorities is heeded. This brochure bears witness to that, at a time when the Committee’s opinions are being prepared and discussions are taking place between the various institutions, before alliances are forged. It will help readers to understand more clearly:

  • what cohesion policy is: the frontline instrument for European solidarity between regions;
  • its main purpose: to secure the development of our regions and produce medium and long-term effects, on the basis of strategic programming, integrated use of the funds, and enough flexibility to adapt to special situations;
  • what we see as its strength: the partnership method of co-financing combined with strict quality requirements for public spending, whilst ensuring that the new implementation conditions do not prove counter productive by creating an excess of red tape or unwarranted delays.
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From Cohesion to Territorial Policy Integration (TPI): Exploring the Governance Challenges in the European Union

By: Schout, J. A & Jordan, A. J (2007)

The European Union (EU) is searching for new approaches to manage problems that span different policy sectors. In the regional policy field, incompatibilities between the EU’s territorial development objectives and its transport, agricultural, competition and environmental policies, are well known. The need to integrate territorial policy concerns into these sectoral policies (territorial policy integration or “TPI”) has recently emerged as a key policy priority. This article examines the EU’s capacity to implement TPI. It does so in relation to two member states (Germany and the Netherlands) and the European Commission. It finds that the administrative implications of implementing TPI are far more demanding than any of these actors are currently able to handle. Moreover, some EU-level networks are potentially relevant to TPI, but these are mostly focused on regional policy matters (i.e. they are relatively inward looking). If these administrative issues are not taken more seriously, “integration” will struggle to make headway in an EU which is notoriously sectorized.

The Just City Essays – Visions for Urban Equity, Inclusivity and Opportunity

“Over the past decade, there have been numerous conversations about the “livable city,” the “green city,” the “sustainable city” and, most recently, the “resilient city.” At the same time, today’s headlines—from Ferguson to Baltimore, Paris to Johannesburg—resound with the need for frank dialogue about the structures and processes that affect the quality of life and livelihoods of urban residents. Issues of equity, inclusion, race, participation, access and ownership remain unresolved in many communities around the world, even as we begin to address the challenges of affordability, climate change adaptation and resilience. The persistence of injustice in the world’s cities—dramatic inequality, unequal environmental burdens and risks, and uneven access to opportunity—demands a continued and reinvigorated search for ideas and solutions”.

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Cohesion Policy Contributing to Territorial Cohesion – Future Scenarios

By: Faludi, A & Peyrony, J (2011)

The Barca Report advocates for developmental policies to be ‘place-based’: integrated as far as they affect ‘places’. The debate on territorial cohesion is equally concerned with integrating relevant policies and actions. This requires well-established democratic institutions and adequate responses to the demands of technical systems and of markets. All levels of government, including that of the EU, partake in both types, but relations between them are problematic, particularly in the context of Europe 2020: Will this EU strategy be mainly a matter for Directorate-Generals and their various clients pursuing their policies, or will Cohesion policy, with its more integrated and decentralised approach, involving many levels of government and stakeholders form platforms for integrating them?

This paper presents four scenarios; each based on a combination of strong/weak Governance Type I and Type II, which are labelled as the ‘Anglo-Saxon’, ‘Saint-Simonian’, ‘Rhineland’ and the ‘European’ Scenarios. The authors prefer the latter, but the best one can hope for in the short term is for this option not to fall by the wayside.

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EU Cohesion Policy and Europe 2020: Between place-based and people-based prosperity

By: Mendez, C (2011)

This article examines the rise and effects of a new discourse – the place-based narrative – on the EU Cohesion policy reform agenda. Employing a modified Discursive Institutionalist framework, three key arguments are made. First, the place-based narrative has played an influential role in challenging redistributive conceptions of the policy and in structuring the post-2013 reform agenda. Second, despite these effects, the narrative’s prescriptions remain contested, evidenced by discursive struggles with competing and institutionally rooted frames under the Europe 2020 ‘meta-narrative’. Lastly, the theoretical implication is that Discursive Institutionalist conceptions of discourse should be expanded to include institutional properties, and pay more attention to the external coherence of discourse in conditioning ideational effects, particularly in boundary-spanning policy domains and fragmented policy-making systems.

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Cohesion, coherence, cooperation: EU policy beyond hard territoriality

By: Faludi, A (2011)

EU regional policy bears witness to the ambivalence of the European constructs caused amongst others by the confusion between ‘hard’ and
‘aspirational’ territoriality. EU aspirational territoriality aims to promote cohesion, being a state of harmonious development in which the
backwardness of the least favoured regions or islands, including rural areas has been reduced. To this end, the EU operates the Structural
Funds.

The paper traces the interplay between the aim of cohesion, so defined, and the modes of operation of cohesion policy. These modes
are characterised by efforts to achieve coherence of relevant policies of the EU and the member states through mutual cooperation. The current situation is marked by uncertainty about the Lisbon Treaty – still under ratification – and the role which a new competence shared between the EU and the Member States for ‘territorial cohesion’ will play in future. Territorial cohesion policy will still have to move beyond basing itself on notions of ‘hard’ towards notions of ‘aspirational’ territoriality.

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Social Cohesion and Well-Being in the EU

Eurofund (2014)

At European level, social and economic policies are currently ordered and organised around achieving the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy – high levels of employment, productivity and social cohesion. It is widely recognised, however, that social cohesion is declining or at least under new pressures as a consequence of the economic and employment crisis, but also due to longer-term trends including growing inequality, immigration and increasing cultural diversity. Social disparities in the EU are increasing in relation to poverty, labour
market access, health, equitable education as well as intergenerational justice. A t the same time, social cohesion is generally valued in and of itself, as it reflects solidarity and social harmony, while also being regarded as an important resource for economic success and quality of life.

This policy brief examines how significant social cohesion is for the well-being of people in Europe. It considers, in particular, how income inequalities are related to social cohesion and well-being.

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Regional Integration and Social Cohesion: the European Experience

By: Rubio, E (2015)

The EU has traditionally been considered a model of regional integration for other regions of the world but can we draw lessons from the way it has dealt with social cohesion issues? This is the question explored in this Policy paper and four major conclusions stand out from it:

  • The history of the European project reveals that regional integration can hardly be confined to the economic domain.
  • What explains the important EU involvement in the social field over the years is the strong attachment of European citizens to their social protection systems and to a regulated model of market capitalism.
  • Supra-national interventions in the social field are to be respectful and/or compatible with the existence of different social policy preferences and national social protection systems.
  • Convincing public opinions about the benefits of EU membership and giving them a say in the process of European integration has become crucial to secure its future.
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Social cohesion in Europe after the crisis

By: Dethlefsen K. et al (ed) (2014)

In the last few years, Europe has been forced to re-think its socio-economic model. Real household income declined significantly between 2008 and 2012, employment rates are lower and the number of people in poverty saw a steady rise with a growing divergence between EU countries. With all the difficulties of defining and measuring ‘fairness’, it is clear that the adjustment has not been equitable. Apart from issues of market failure, there have been direct increases of inequality within each of the member states. Higher poverty rates have been observed, rises in inequalities between higher and lower income earners as well as intergenerational inequalities between age groups.

In this report, the authors first of all look at the results of the survey they have carried out in seven European countries and review perceptions of the socio-economic model. Subsequently, we assess the importance of the social dimension in the broader context of the European growth model. It has been discussed the impact of the structural challenges of globalisation, demography and technological change, and then review the EU’s performance in the crisis.

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The European Union as a Model for Regional Integration

By: Cameron, F (2010)

While the European Union (EU) has long been the most developed model of regional integration, it was severely shaken by the recent economic crisis, causing increasing doubts about the integration process. The lack of a timely and coherent response to the euro crisis called into question the integrity of the eurozone, whose structural and institutional fault lines have been revealed by the financial crisis. These doubts coincide with dramatic changes in the global economic order. The likely economic adjustments are already threatening social cohesion and political stability in Europe. The crisis has temporarily weakened the EU’s status as a model for regional integration, but as the EU recovers its confidence, as it always has after previous crises, it will continue to be the leading example for other efforts at regional integration.

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