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Andreas Faludi

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Andreas Faludi

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Andreas Faludi

Like owners of landed property, states treat their territories as theirs. This means a view of the world as divided into territories: territorialism. Whether intergovernmental or supranational – ultimately a United States of Europe – thinking about the EU, and thus about European spatial planning, is predicated upon territorialism. But the Middle Ages knew a different order with overlapping jurisdictions. Neo-medievalism takes inspiration from this. The underlying notion of space is different in that it does not, as under territorialism, assume a mosaic of closed containers seamlessly filling space, much as plots of land fill a jurisdiction. Rather, it allows for spaces to overlap. Since the presumption of spaces being fixed is constitutive of our system of government, much as the EU construct, the implications are serious.

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Andreas Faludi

Readers may be surprised by the focus on territory as the planning object. My work of decades ago on planning theory has been criticised for the opposite: its focus on the planning process, apparently to the detriment of due consideration for its object. Influenced by the Institute for Operational Research, I specified the planning object in my own way as the sum of the operational decisions that planners can realistically seek to influence. My focus also shifted from local to national planning, in which the Netherlands excelled. Since Dutch planners developed an active interest, furthermore, in European spatial planning, my next step was to focus on this budding practice. My research was no longer theory-driven but explored the world of European integration, more in particular the respective roles of member states and the EU, naturally with an emphasis on space or territory.

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Andreas Faludi

This chapter presents key concepts, starting with territory as the space under the control of an authority – above all a state for which territoriality is a defining characteristic: without a territory under its control, no state can achieve recognition. The French Revolution replaced the monarch as the embodiment of the state with the people, which made the definition and active defence of borders that much more important for national consciousness. This involves classification and implies communicating where the border is. It also requires enforcement. Territorialism shapes world views and national identities. It implies a metageography casting states as the most important spaces and treating all other levels in terms of states and the state system.

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Andreas Faludi

A point in favour of territorialism is the feeling of ownership and security, and the sense of community it gives. Ownership also means willingness to assume responsibility, perhaps even making sacrifices. This is more so where ownership is truly shared. Shared ownership forms the legitimation for public action. It finds expression through democratic representation. The reverse is also true in that representative democracy is above all territorial. This is perhaps the strongest argument in favour of territorialism. Like private owners wanting to know their landed assets, public ownership and representation presuppose the public learning about its territory and people. This knowledge is a precondition of public interventions, including spatial planning.

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Andreas Faludi

Ownership, representation and framing public action, including planning, imply exclusion. But neither territories nor cultures and identities are givens. Rather, they are historic constructs. It is the same with representative democracy: the people becoming the rulers of their territories creates and enforces the idea of them being as one with their territory. So, territory is being perceived and studied – and planned for – as something unique. However, on methodological grounds it is impossible to understand something in its uniqueness. Nor is space absolute, a blank canvas to be filled in. It is rather relative, constituted by the relations between actors. The task of planning is to pursue these relations, both within and beyond the borders of the plan. This means planning beyond territorialism.

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Andreas Faludi

The story of the European Spatial Development Perspective (ESDP) and the subsequent Territorial Agenda casts light on member states’ reluctance to consider EU space as EU territory. Initially, Dutch and French planners thought they could tag onto the new, much-enhanced version of 1970s’ Mark I European regional policy complementing the Single Market policy under Jacques Delors. But member states resisted spatial planning becoming a Community competence. In the expectation of, if not spatial planning, then at least territorial cohesion becoming an EU competence, planners produced successive versions of the Territorial Agenda of the European Union. But when this came to fruition, the idea of European spatial planning under whichever denomination had evaporated. The most lasting effect so far is the promotion of European Territorial Cooperation, which deals with spaces that stretch across national borders.

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Andreas Faludi

People think about the EU either as intergovernmental or as a federation. But a federal EU evokes negative reactions, ostensibly because of the EU’s lack of democratic legitimacy. Both ways of thinking are marked by territorialism, with only the size of the territory concerned being the issue. But there is also a way of thinking about integration beyond the state or state-like organisation and about the governance, rather than government, of space or territory. What is relevant is how the treaties define EU territory: initially as the sum of the territories of its members; but the coming of territorial cohesion implies that there is a common territory. However, in either case, territorialism remains the matrix. Cross-border effects are secondary and tend to be ignored, creating incentives for opportunism. But under cooperative sovereignty, one should take account of them.

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Andreas Faludi

Is the EU an empire rather than a, perhaps never to be completed, federation? Empires are better than their generally negative image. They allow for differentiation and are attractive, precisely because of their openness. The EU is more like an empire than a construct such as a federal state, which is also what research on multi-level governance suggests. Indeed, there is a school of thought that views the EU as a neo-medieval empire. Its governance could also be compared to the Holy Roman Empire that existed for over 1000 years, well into early modernity. Rather than more integration making the EU stronger, let alone returning to the exclusive rule of nation states, one might accept dispersed, apparently disorderly EU governance as is. This also casts a different light on what the EU territory is or should be like, and on how to go about EU spatial planning.