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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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