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Sabine Weck, Viktoria Kamuf & Felix Matzke (ILS Dortmund)

The aim of this report is to provide an overview of the characteristics of the total sample of 33 RELOCAL cases. The core component of the empirical research in this project are those 33 case studies conducted in 11 EU countries. These cases are place-based actions, ranging from bottom-up civil society initiatives to the implementation of national development programs, in localities presenting development challenges.

The case study selection was based on the identification of interesting actions in localities with obvious challenges of spatial justice. The cases present a versatile sample in terms of characteristics, themes, development trajectory, territorial context, main actors and funding of the actions.

A grouping and clustering process provided both insights into similarities across the cases and singularities within the sample.

Thus, most case study actions have a broad thematic approach, covering several different topics, and more than half of them integrate a mix of hard and soft measures. Taking the multifarious character of perceived injustices into account, local actors strive towards integrated, multidimensional approaches. It was observed that EU and national (funding) programs increasingly call for integrative approaches, which has noticeable impact on the design of respective actions.       

Map 1: Situating the NUTS 3 regions of the case study actions.

The clustering of cases also shows that there is not necessarily a link between the territorial type of a case study locality and the perceived forms of spatial (in)justices, or between the material constitution of localities and perceived challenges.

A more detailed analysis of the implementation of the actions shows, however, 16 out of the 33 cases are implemented by higher policy levels – which could be national as well as regional or local levels– with very little or no evidence of bottom-up elements (in terms of involving local knowledge and local resources into the design and implementation of the action).

Figure 1: Types of case study actions: bottom-up vs. top-down.

In terms of policy implications, there is thus a need to include and bring into the policy design and implementation of local policies the perceptions, the knowledge and the energies of local communities to address spatial injustice. In the design and implementation of the investigated actions, these are to a large extent still not considered and need to be included more systematically, also in the evaluation of respective policies or actions, in order to achieve more spatial justice.

This report “D6.4 Cross-Comparative Analysis of Country Perspectives on Spatial Justice” aims at providing an overview of 33 RELOCAL cases, by analyzing both statistical data and case study reports. It provides a wide analysis on the actions themselves, the territorial and socioeconomic context, the policy context, and the funding. The paper also suggests cluster of cases. This is one of several reports which analyze the findings from the investigated RELOCAL cases in a comparative perspective, building an introductory frame for other reports.

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