Funded by a two-year European Union Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship (2010-2012) tenable at the University Institute of European Studies, Autonomous University of Barcelona.
This research investigates whether, and how, policy learning in cities and regions occurs as a result of participation in European transboundary (or territorial) cooperation projects; and whether this leads to a form of 'Europeanisation' of territorial, spatial and urban planning policies in the Southern European context. 'Transboundary cooperation' refers to various forms of cooperation across national borders between cities, regions and other organisations which cooperate at various geographical scales to pursue policy objectives.
The project will first develop a
theoretical and conceptual framework for the analysis of the social and policy
learning processes which take place between sub-central governmental actors in
the framework of European territorial cooperation networks and programmes, on
the basis of sociological approaches to 'cognitive' Europeanisation and to
The framework will then be applied to two case-studies to answer the following questions: What are the factors which facilitate or impede processes of social and policy learning in transboundary cooperation projects? Does such cooperation lead to identifiable policy changes in the organisations involved? Is there evidence of a 'Europeanisation of spatial planning and urban policies' in Southern Europe through European territorial cooperation?
Through a survey of, and interviews with, project partners, learning processes will be investigated 'horizontally' across a set of transnational cooperation projects funded in the framework of INTERREG IIIB programmes. In a second stage, learning processes and policy change will be investigated within targeted local and regional public institutions in a specific Mediterranean region, Catalonia, where public authorities have been proactively involved in European transboundary cooperation initiatives. The project seeks to contribute to current debates about the Europeanisation of planning practices and the international circulation of planning and urban policy ideas.
- Articles in English, Spanish and French peer-reviewed journals
- Conference papers
- Contributions to seminars and guest lectures at the host organization and elsewhere
- Research reports
The research project
has direct relevance to current EU policy and will contribute to the
development of European expertise in an area in which a significant amount of
EU funding is committed every year to support cooperation between cities and
regions of the EU, yet in which there is a lack of research evidence about
Around each period of re-negotiation of the overall architecture of EU
Cohesion Policy, debates between policy-makers intensify about the 'added
value' and nature of EU policy interventions.
The benefits and contribution of programmes of 'European territorial cooperation' (e.g. INTERREG programmes but also other forms of EU-supported networking between sub-central levels of government, non-governmental organisations and other actors) are part of that debate.
In the medium term, after the lifetime of the project the researcher plans to expand her research to international cooperation networks between EU and non-EU cities and regions around the Mediterranean (including the Arab World).