Repository logo

European spatial governance - towards a sectoralisation of spatial planning?

Accepted version

No Thumbnail Available



Change log



European spatial governance underwent substantial changes over the last two decades with the expansion of European territorial cooperation programmes, the introduction of new instruments for cooperation and an increasing role financial and regulatory framework in sector policies. Against this background the argues that today’s European spatial governance has become more diversified and fragmented with an increasing role for sector policies, and that the cumulative effect of these diverse activities on domestic planning processes is under researched. The paper summarises the legal recognition of spatial planning and categorises European spatial governance as being composed of spatial policies, financial instruments and governance frameworks. The paper then presents three explorative case studies: the Common Transport policy as one EU sector policy, a cross border cooperation supported by the European Regional Development and macro-regional cooperation. The paper concludes that European spatial governance increasing regulatory impact on domestic spatial planning goes far beyond the pure Europeanisation of narratives and agendas or “ways of doing things”. Further the paper illustrates that European spatial governance is characterised by a process of sectoralisation, supported by the EUs regional policy and the provision of governance tools. The paper calls for further investigation of the interrelatedness of these processes and their reciprocal influences on planning practices. The value lies in recognising the incremental changes that have come alongside European integration, and highlighting the importance of these processes for domestic planning processes. The paper highlights the hidden process of sectoralisation that leads to increasing planning competences at the European level.



48 Law and Legal Studies, 33 Built Environment and Design, 3304 Urban and Regional Planning

Journal Title

Journal of Property, Planning and Built Environmental Law

Conference Name

Journal ISSN


Volume Title



The author thanks the British Academy and the Royal Society for the British Academy Newton International Fellowship, which made parts of this research possible.