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The europeanization of spatial planning : the case of Sweden

Alys Solly

The europeanization of spatial planning : the case of Sweden.

Rel. Umberto Janin Rivolin, Giancarlo Cotella. Politecnico di Torino, Corso di laurea magistrale in Pianificazione Territoriale, Urbanistica E Paesaggistico-Ambientale, 2013


Urban and territorial policies and, more generally, territorial governance depend largely on the function of spatial planning systems defined within specific institutional contexts. Every country has its own planning system which is inspired by different social, administrative and technical traditions. The European Union, even without having its own real planning system, defines and contributes to the formation of urban and territorial policies in Europe through guidelines and policy instruments. Overall, this process leads to the progressive transformation of the specific planning systems of European countries. Indeed, an increasing number of shared transnational projects are being implemented as a result of EU territorial initiatives and programmes.

The process of Europeanization is becoming an increasingly important focus of research and discussion in many academic disciplines, as well as in the field of planning studies as regards the shaping of institutional processes. At a time like the present where the European Union is facing constant criticism from within the Member States in terms of whether it is providing useful services and bringing tangible benefits at national level, it is particularly interesting to be able to examine and analyse these aspects as regards the key area of spatial planning in one of the comparatively recent Member States, such as Sweden. Moreover, understanding the processes of EU integration could help to overcome a simplified view of the European Union and to understand the mechanisms that are progressively shaping European society.

This study analyzes the specific national case of Sweden, in order to understand and verify the complex process of the Europeanization of territorial governance. The choice of this particular case study is due to the Erasmus semester I spent at Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) during the 2012/2013 academic year. During the writing of this thesis I have been able to look at how the Europeanization of spatial planning has influenced policy making in Sweden. On balance it seems that the Europeanization of spatial planning, together with the way it has been implemented in line with the local traditions and aspirations, has been beneficial to the sustainable growth of the country. However, we must also remember, as Duhr et al. (2010) point out, that many of the benefits are not immediately apparent but take place all the same.

Relators: Umberto Janin Rivolin, Giancarlo Cotella
Publication type: Printed
Subjects: U Urbanistica > UK Pianificazione urbana
Corso di laurea: Corso di laurea magistrale in Pianificazione Territoriale, Urbanistica E Paesaggistico-Ambientale
Classe di laurea: UNSPECIFIED
Aziende collaboratrici: UNSPECIFIED
URI: http://webthesis.biblio.polito.it/id/eprint/3267





2.1 Spatial planning systems in Europe

2.1.1 Families and ideal types

2.1.2 Planning systems: functions and functioning

2.1.3 Three models

2.2 European Union spatial planning

2.2.1 Structure and dynamic nature

2.2.2 Operational tools and resources

2.2.3 Concepts, debate and discourse

2.3 Europeanization

2.3.1 The concept of Europeanization

2.3.2 Europeanization of spatial planning


3.1 Adopted model

3.2 Methodological approach

3.3 Challenges and possible limitations

3.3.1 Language and conceptual issues

3.3.2 Logistical constraints

3.3.3 Abstractions and simplifications of the applied diagrams

3.3.4 Facing challenges


4.1 Structure: Swedish territorial governance and the planning system

4.1.1 Which planning tradition?

4.1.2 The Swedish structure and division of powers The national level The regional level The local level

4.2 Tools: Swedish planning between tradition and innovation

4.2.1 National planning tools

4.2.2 Regional planning tools

4.2.3 Local planning tools -

4.3 Discourse: Swedish urban and regional policy

4.3.1 Policy trends in the Swedish planning system

4.3.2 The national level

4.3.3 The regional level

4.3.4 The local level

4.4. Practices: Swedish planning in practice

4.4.1 Planning in the Stockholm region today Planning in the Stockholm municipality today Stockholm’s current and future development projects

4.4.2 Difficulties of planning in practice The Oresund Bridge project Shortcomings of planning in practice

4.4.3 The national level..

4.4.4 The regional level

4.4.5 The local level

4.4.6 Considerations


5.1 Influence of European territorial governance on planning systems

5.1.1 Structural influence

5.1.2 Instrumental influence

5.1.3 Top-down dialogic influence

5.2 Influence of planning systems on European territorial governance

5.2.1 Bottom-up dialogic influence

5.2.2 Practical and horizontal influence Practical influence

52.2.2 Horizontal influence


6.1 Findings

6.2 Conclusions




English - Swedish

Swedish - English




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