Open access

ESPON ACTAREA: Thinking and planning in areas of territorial cooperation Final Report

Number of pages106
PublisherLuxembourg : ESPON EGTC
Publication date2017

ESPON ACTAREA has analysed 24 examples of ‘soft territorial cooperation areas' across Europe, taking as a starting point Swiss efforts to promote thinking and planning in so-called ‘Action Areas' (AAs), i.e. new forms of soft governance spaces with fuzzy, flexible boundaries that span across national and regional administrative boundaries and link urban and rural development policies. It has identified good practices and developed tools to describe and develop cooperation across Europe, considering both individual cooperation instances and cooperation frameworks put in place primarily by national authorities. Soft territorial cooperation areas are instances of territorial governance. They bring together actors concerned by a set of territorial challenges and opportunities and who are prepared to elaborate and implement strategies to address them jointly. Their sectoral scope and geographical boundaries are generally defined in an ‘open' or ‘fuzzy' way. When choosing case studies, the project focused on initiatives with the following characteristics: • a medium to long term integrative perspective (i.e. are not limited to the implementation of a single project); • an ambition to enhance the capacities of involved players, making them actors of their own development; • a determination to renew relations between institutional levels, sectors of activity and types of actors (e.g. NGOs, private companies, local and regional authorities, agencies…). Soft territorial cooperation instances can also be approached as ‘communities of intent'. The existence of such a ‘community' is the output of a cooperation process. However, it only emerges if a convergence of interest between involved actors can be achieved. Proponents of soft territorial cooperation are therefore typically actors that manage to identify potential such ‘communities' and to facilitate the process leading to their emergence. This require concrete competencies in fields such as process design and workshop facilitation, combined with intimate knowledge of local and regional contexts (‘Fingerspitzengefühl').

  • EU
  • Switzerland
  • ARE
  • Swiss Spatial Strategy
  • Action Areas
  • Soft territorial cooperation
  • Territorial policies
  • Autre - ESPON 2020
Citation (ISO format)
CHILLA, Tobias et al. ESPON ACTAREA: Thinking and planning in areas of territorial cooperation Final Report. 2017
Main files (1)
  • PID : unige:103277

Technical informations

Creation03/21/2018 10:33:00 AM
First validation03/21/2018 10:33:00 AM
Update time03/15/2023 8:02:27 AM
Status update03/15/2023 8:02:26 AM
Last indexation10/19/2023 8:05:55 AM
All rights reserved by Archive ouverte UNIGE and the University of GenevaunigeBlack