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Shaping the territory in Catalonia, Scotland, and Flanders. Devolution, spatial planning and territorial politics in contested European states
The project aims to compare the trajectories of spatial planning in Scotland, Catalonia and Flanders over the past two decades, and the potential mobilization of the ‘territory’ (and of ways of organising it through various forms of planning) in contemporary territorial politics and separatist discourses. Over the past three decades several European states with a history of centralised governance, such as France, the UK, Spain and Belgium, have implemented various waves of constitutional and administrative reforms aiming at decentralising / devolving powers and competences to their constituent regions or historic nationalities. Scotland in the United Kingdom, Catalonia in Spain, and Flanders in Belgium have a long history of claims for more regional autonomy and have been characterized by significant degrees of decentralization over the past two decades. This includes spatial planning (urban and regional planning), a form of public policy focused on the organization of the territory at different scales. The project addresses the following questions: (How) has spatial planning changed in these 3 regions/nations since they have gained a higher degree of devolution? Have we witnessed the emergence of a distinctive ‘planning culture’ different from that of the other constituting units of the central state of which these regions/nations are a part? If so, what could be the main factors explaining that difference? To what extent do spatial planning and territorial development issues figure (explicitly or implicitly) in the current debates on devolution/independence in the 3 regions/nations? (How) is spatial planning mobilized in the agendas of the political parties advocating more devolution or independence in those regions/nations?
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