Research for ESPON | CIVITTA

Leading the consortium that compiled the state of the European territory (SOET) report

During the plenary session held on the 23-24th of June 2021 in the European Parliament in Brussels, MEPs discussed general provisions and a policy of cohesion. In this context, the European Spatial Planning Observation Network (ESPON)’s mission was to support policy-makers at all territorial levels with data, tools, and publications, to facilitate evidence-based policy-making. The State of the European Territory (SOET) report was a key publication in this respect, as it provides a synthesis of knowledge and evidence-based on the ESPON studies and analysis developed during the 2014-2020 programming period. Moreover, the online interactive version of the report enables users to navigate the ESPON knowledge base and to create customized reports.

CIVITTA led the 5-partners consortium that compiled the SOET report through a participatory process that lasted almost a year, working closely with the ESPON team, and involving European experts, researchers, and other stakeholders. The development of SOET included desk research and synthesis, stakeholder workshops and focus groups, GIS mapping, the development of the online interactive report and culminated with the final seminar, where the content of the report was analyzed within working groups.

The final version of the report was launched in early 2020, so it does not include observations on recent events such as the Covid-19 pandemic or Brexit. However, the evidence, case studies, data and policy recommendations presented provide valid and up-to-date information and inspiration for anyone interested in EU development policies and particularly those preparing the new programmes in the EU member states and regions, as well as those advocating for functional and place-based approaches. SOET was also quoted by the Territorial Agenda 2030, the strategic policy document on territorial cohesion and spatial planning adopted in December 2020 by the EU ministers responsible for spatial planning, territorial development and/or territorial cohesion.

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