With the State of the Territory (SOET) report, ESPON provides evidence for regional development strategies post-2020. The SOET report presents territorial findings and highlights policy tools and case studies in line with the EU’s five Policy Objectives addressed in the Common Provisions Regulation. By displaying main territorial development trends, challenges and potentials in Europe, the report aims at supporting integrated territorial development strategies at local, regional, and national level. In doing so, the study serves as a starting point to policy discussions on Cohesion Policy funding 2021-2027. Furthermore, the report includes policy recommendations that take into account the European Commission’s multiannual financial framework.
Evidence for place-based approaches
Based on ESPON’s territorial research, the SOET report addresses the diverse development challenges in Europe. Regions are facing social changes, economic transformation as well as technological and environmental changes that are interlinked. At the same time, the findings indicate an increasing fragmentation of socio-economic development, culture and politics in the regions. Hence, disparities seem to be more pronounced between regions, municipalities or even neighbourhoods than between countries. This points even more to the need of place-based approaches that focus on functional areas.
Against this background, integrated strategies, integrated territorial investment (ITI), and community-led local development (CLLD) as well as territorial cooperation (e.g. Interreg) are important tools to develop tailor-made policies and initiatives. Moreover, these instruments help regions to develop in line with their functional dynamics and bridge barriers due to administrative borders.
The SOET report provides a compact synthesis of existing ESPON research and helps building capacities for local and regional stakeholders to engage in the discussion about regional development post-2020.
In view of the ongoing programming procedure for the up-coming funding period and the recent publication of the revised EUSDR Action Plan, the SOET report offers a valuable supplement for an informed discussion at all levels. Additionally, cities, municipalities and regions get research data and policy recommendations that could feed in their own local or regional development strategy.
Eventually, building capacities for regions and municipalities to strengthen local development is one of the key topics of the Danube Strategy. Priority Area 10 “Institutional Capacity and Cooperation” strongly supports capacity building for cities and municipalities in EU programming post-2020. In this regard, the SOET report and its underlying research may serve as an valuable evidence base for local development.
- ESPON State of the Territory (SOET) report
- ESPON Website
- Integrating the Danube Strategy in EU funding, Priority Area 10 “Institutional Caapcity and Cooperation” | Article 05/05/2020
- Managing functional urban areas in a multi-level governance system, Priority Area 10 “Institutional Capacity and Cooperation” | Article 31/12/2019