Finding solutions to complex challenges through ESPON targeted analyses

Johannes Hofinger

By Johannes Hofinger, on December 20th, 2016

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Cities face numerous and complex challenges linked to climate change, poverty and demographic shifts to name but a few. They need to define measures to tackle these problems and design policies to achieve smart, inclusive and sustainable urban development, which are difficult tasks to deal with. Development strategies should be evidence-based, consider local circumstances and provide concrete policy recommendations to specific target groups. ESPON targeted analyses provide such tailor-made solutions for cities and stakeholders with similar development challenges.

The specific issues addressed by targeted analyses are based on policy questions defined by stakeholders involved in the project. Stakeholders actively engage in the design, implementation and follow-up of targeted analyses, closely cooperating with researchers and the ESPON EGTC. This process ensures timely delivery of innovative evidence with high relevance for policy.

Analysing territorial development issues on a European scale

Metropolitan development is gaining more and more attention by stakeholders on all levels of governance throughout Europe. The ongoing targeted analysis “Spatial dynamics and strategic planning in metropolitan areas” (SPIMA) set out to develop solutions to the development challenges raised by metropolitan areas from eight different countries under the lead of the City of Oslo.

The aim of the SPIMA project is to find effective ways and policies to manage spatial development issues on a metropolitan scale such as urban sprawl, shopping centre locations or public transport networks. The research team will analyse these challenges on a European scale and provide the participating metropolitan areas with specifically targeted recommendations on how to improve their situation and steering capacity. The SPIMA project connects several metropolitan areas with a dedicated research team under the lead of the Dutch Wageningen Environmental Research (Alterra).

The usefulness of targeted analyses in practice

ESPON BLOG 2Many cross-border metropolitan areas are less prominent compared to other metropolitan areas that are not located in a border region. The so-called Greater Region that encompasses Luxembourg and parts of France, Germany and Belgium is such an example. The region consists of a polycentric network of several cities including Luxembourg, Trier, Saarbrucken, Metz, Nancy and Namur. The development potential of such cross-border metropolitan areas is very often underestimated due to the national borders separating them.

Stakeholders from five countries initiated the METROBORDER targeted analysis to study ways of reaching the full development potential of cross-border metropolitan areas. Strategies to handle the asymmetric organisation of competences on either side of the border are very important in this regard. METROBORDER particularly focused on the in-depth analysis of the Greater Region and the Upper Rhine Region. At the same time, the project provided a comparative analysis of cross-border metropolitan areas throughout Europe.
In the case of the Greater Region the main political decision making body, the Summit of the Executives, approved the findings of METROBORDER. The targeted analysis is also explicitly mentioned in the Déclaration de Berlin, which aims at further developing the metropolitan area in the Greater Region. In the case of Switzerland, findings from the Upper Rhine case were used at federal level in elaborating the national spatial development concept.

The METROBORDER project is one out of 23 completed targeted analyses. More information on each of the projects is available on the ESPON website.

Reap the benefits of targeted analyses for your city or region: Apply now!

ESPON Blog 3Three new targeted analyses have been announced this month and more will follow. Cities participating in URBACT can send a stakeholder proposal to the ESPON EGTC and use targeted analyses to tackle their specific challenges.
Stakeholders from national, regional and local bodies, as well as EGTCs, Managing Authorities and joint secretariats responsible for implementing EU funded programmes, can apply for an ESPON targeted analysis any time throughout the year. All they need to do is to fill in an application form and send it to the ESPON EGTC. Twice per year the ESPON EGTC evaluates all stakeholder applications received by certain cut-off dates. The next cut-off date for the submission of stakeholder proposals is on 27 June 2017. You can find more detailed information regarding targeted analyses and the submission process on the ESPON website.

The costs for having the research conducted within the framework of a targeted analysis project will be covered by ESPON. Stakeholders need to cover their own expenses e.g. participation in three to four meetings throughout the implementation of the project.



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